By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Big plays haunted the Tennessee Tech football team on Saturday as UT Martin clinched the Ohio Valley Conference football championship, spoiling the Golden Eagles' Homecoming in a 42-3 defeat at Tucker Stadium.
The Golden Eagles (3-7, 1-4 OVC) honored its 13 seniors before the start of the contest as the home portion of the schedule comes to a close. Tech will close out the regular season next Saturday as it travels to Austin Peay.
Of UT Martin's six scoring plays on Saturday, three came on scoring plays of 30 yards or more. Following a missed field goal on Tech's first drive, the Skyhawks responded as Zak Wallace opened the day's scoring with a 50-yard rushing touchdown. Tyler Larco's PAT was good.
After the kickoff, Willie Miller pitched the ball back to Tanner Shiver, who then launched the ball downfield. Deven Sims intercepted the ball at the Tech 48 and returned it to the 34. Peyton Logan took the snap on the first play from scrimmage and took it to the house. Larco's PAT closed out the first quarter with a 14-0 advantage for the Skyhawks.
Wallace opened the second quarter with his second touchdown of the day, scoring on a 13-yard rush.
Midway through the second stanza, Tech picked up its lone points on the day as Hayden Olsen was true on his second field goal try of the day, connecting from 35 yards out.
Tech's defense was able to stall UT Martin on the next drive, but as the Skyhawks punted the ball away, a roughing the kicker call extended the Skyhawks' drive. All UTM needed was one more play as Keon Howard completed a 62-yard strike to DeRay Lawrence for a touchdown.
After punting the ball away, the Golden Eagles saw the Skyhawks move down the field again, UTM scoring on a four-yard pass to Rodney Williams.
UTM scored once more in the fourth quarter as Sam Franklin found paydirt on a four-yard rush.
The Skyhawks entered the contest with the conference's top rushing attack and it showed as UTM ran for 313 yards, averaging 10.8 yards per carry with 29 total rushes. Logan ended the day with 116 yards on seven carries, Wallace 90 yards on eight totes.
Howard, the UTM quarterback, threw for 141 yards on 14-for-19 passing. UT Martin had 462 total offensive yards.
Tech ended the day with 247 offensive yards – 173 rushing and 74 passing. Willie Miller ran for 72 yards on nine carries, while David Gist had 70 yards on 23 carries. Miller also threw for 57 yards on 7-of-15 passing.
Photo | Rick Wells, TTU Communications and Marketing