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Golden Eagles strike quick to build commanding win over Dragons

Golden Eagles strike quick to build commanding win over Dragons

By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It was a big day for the Tennessee Tech football team as the Golden Eagles won their third game in the last four outings, putting a 56-13 effort onto the scoreboard against visiting Virginia-Lynchburg on Saturday.
The Golden Eagles (3-5) put together 404 yards of total offense, 299 of those coming on the ground. David Gist recorded 127 yards rushing for his fourth straight game over the century mark, becoming the first Tech rusher since Derek White in 2007 to do that. Jordan Brown also rushed for a career-high 110 yards – his first century game – to give the Golden Eagles two 100-yard rushers in a single game for the first time since 2015 against Austin Peay as Ladarius Vanlier and Brock McCoin accomplished that.
The Golden Eagles ran for five touchdowns in the game, Gist and Brown both picking up a pair of rushing scores. Quarterback Willie Miller had the other rushing score.
Through the air, Tech's offense compiled 105 yards on a 5-for-9 passing day. Miller was 4-for-6 for 90 yards and a touchdown, while also throwing an interception. Freshman Lem Wash saw his first action under center, completing one of his four passes. He did have an interception – Kentavious Williams returned it 40 yards for a touchdown – but Wash made up for that with his first completion, a 15-yard connection to Cookeville native Ben Baugh for his first career catch in the end zone for their first touchdown.
The Golden Eagle defense also had its share of production. The Golden Eagles sacked Dragons starting quarterback Darrius Sample as Devin Squires and Chris Tucker combined for the wrap-up. In the process of trying to get rid of the ball, Sample fumbled it with Jack Warwick scooping it up. It was knocked away from him, but Squires was there. The freshman returned the loose ball 19 yards for the touchdown.
After holding off VUL's first drive, the Golden Eagles struck first as Gist rushed for a four-yard score to cap off a six-play, 55-yard drive. Brown followed up with his five-yard touchdown run to end an eight-play, 43-yard drive. Squires' fumble recovery closed out the scoring in the first quarter with Tech leading 21-0.
Sample was injured on the play and did not return. In his place, backup quarterback Chacai Campbell had a solid outing, completing 13 of his 24 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown – the final score of the afternoon on a 13-yard pass to Cinsere Clark with 2:05 remaining in the contest.
Tech put another 21-spot on the scoreboard in the second quarter as Gist ran for a two-yard touchdown run, Hunter Barnhart caught a 46-yard TD pass from Miller, then the QB got his own rushing score on a four-yard run. Those scores gave Tech a 42-0 lead at the half.
VUL broke up the shutout on the interception return, but Tech got the points back as Brown ended a 52-yard drive with a one-yard rush. The fourth quarter saw Baugh's touchdown catch as well as Clark's catch for the visitors.
Hayden Olsen was 8-for-8 on PATs to increase his career tally to a perfect 37-for-37.
Defensively, Tech held the visitors to 156 yards of offense, holding the Dragons to 23 rushing yards – the fewest allowed since holding Murray State to 43 in 2016. VUL ended the day with 133 passing yards. 
Myles Ratliff led VUL (0-8) with 31 yards on 12 carries. Joshua Gray had the best receiving day for the Dragons, hauling in five catches for 56 yards.
The Golden Eagles are idle next week, but return to action on November 6 as they travel to Murray State to begin the final stretch of the regular season, followed by the home finale against UT Martin the following week and the season finale at Austin Peay.

Photo | Jim Dillon

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