Tech holds on for first win
Herald-Citizen - 10/29/2017
Its celebration time in Cookeville as the Tennessee Tech football team picked up its first win of the season Saturday. The Golden Eagles used two key interceptions from First National Bank of Tennessee-Special Olympics Player of the Game Clay Davis in the final two minutes to hold off the Tennessee State University Tigers 30-26.
"It feels great," Davis said. "The whole season so far, coach (Marcus Satterfield) has not changed a thing. We were so close so many times, and we finally got over the hump. We're going to keep on rolling after this.
"On the second interception, I was just playing over the top. I was trying to make sure nothing went over the top of me, and the ball just fell in my hands. Yeah, I ended the game, but it was an overall team effort."
The win moves Tech into a tie with TSU for the eighth spot in the Ohio Valley Conference as they both hold conference records of 1-4. It also helped the Golden Eagles avoid matching their worst record since 1986 (0-10).
"I'm extremely proud of our football team," Tech head coach Marcus Satterfield said.
"They're so resilient, and there's things going on within our program that I wish we could put out in the public. We know that this is the first piece in a sequence of events that over the next couple months that will come to fruition. I'm just really happy that they got to reap the rewards of their labor."
The Golden Eagles went into the fourth quarter with a small 27-24 lead, and a 36-yard run from leading rusher Andrew Goldsmith helped set up a 39-yard field goal from Nick Madonia to make it 30-24 with 6:31 left in the game.
The Tigers drove to Tech's 19-yard-line, but quarterback Michael Hughes threw his first interception to Davis in the end zone.
Davis only made it out to the 3-yard-line on his return, and the Tigers tackled Yeedee Thaenrat in the end zone for a safety (30-26). TSU then drove to its own 37 before throwing the second interception to Davis at the TTU 40.
The Golden Eagles forced a run-happy TSU team to throw the ball most of the time as it only allowed 83 yards on the ground.
However, the Tigers were able to complete 11 of 24 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns.
"Our guys did a really nice job of putting pressure on the line of scrimmage and pushing it back," Satterfield said.
"(TSU) got a couple of runs, but I can't really remember any true handoffs that they made good plays on."
Adversely, Tech had its best rushing game of the season as it was able to put up 160 yards on the ground. Goldsmith led the rushing attack with 101 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.
Thaenrat backed him up with 41 yards on 17 carries.
"We challenged those young offensive linemen," Satterfield explained. "We gave them a couple run schemes this week, and they had two weeks to really hone in on these set runs. They were able to block fronts all week, and that allowed them to have a lot of confidence and freed them up to just go be physical.
"I thought they did a really nice job, especially when momentum was slipping away from us. We had some great runs by Andrew (Goldsmith), and I'm sure he's thankful for his offensive line."
Goldsmith's breakout game also included a passing touchdown as he threw it to Dontez Byrd for a 27-yard score on a trick play to put the Golden Eagles up 10-0 in the first quarter.
"I was just trying to make plays for the offense. I got into a little rhythm, and I got my confidence up," Goldsmith said.
"We work on that (trick play) a little bit here and there, and it seemed to work today. I was ready to celebrate like we just won the game, but the game had just started so I had to get locked back in."
Tech redshirt freshman quarterback Andre Sale also had a great performance in his return to action. Sale had not played since Oct. 7 against Eastern Illinois, and he was able to complete 10 of 23 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown.
His favorite receiver was Byrd as he caught five passes for 111 yards and an average of 22 yards per catch.
"Two weeks off is way too long for me," Sale said.
"This was the most nervous I've been for a game yet this year. I was so anxious to play, and it felt so good to be back out there. I felt very comfortable as the game went on."
Tech will now look to keep its momentum rolling as it hosts the new and improved Austin Peay Governors on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m.