COOKEVILLE, Tenn. –
An eight-yard touchdown with two seconds left completed a 14-point comeback fourth quarter for Tennessee Tech and gave the Texas A&M University-Commerce football team a 26-25 loss on Saturday night at Tucker Stadium.
The loss was the first of the season for the Lions, who are 1-1 on the season, while the Golden Eagles are also 1-1 on the season. The all-time head-to-head between the two teams is also now 1-1, as the Lions won the 1953 Tangerine Bowl by a score of 33-0.
The Lion defense forced four turnovers in the first half giving the Lions 13 points off turnovers. Daryion Taylor (Humble – Atascocita) picked off the Eagles in the first drive of the game and gave the Lion offense the ball in plus territory.
Both teams exchanged a few punts until the Golden Eagles received the ball in Lion territory and had an attempt for a touchdown that was picked off by Darius Williams (Arlington Heights) and returned for 51 yards to the Tennessee Tech 43-yard line.
In the final play of the first quarter, the Lions punted from just outside their end zone that was fielded by Tennessee Tech but fumbled, it was forced and recovered by Cameron Nellor (Mt. Vernon) to give the Lions the ball at the Tennessee Tech 40-yard line.
After a three-yard rush to begin the second quarter, Eric Rodriguez (Fort Bend Travis) connected with Andrew Armstrong (Dallas – Bishop Dunne) for a 37-yard touchdown. It was Armstrong’s fourth reception of the season and all four were for touchdowns.
On the ensuing drive, Celestin Haba (Columbia, S.C.) recovered a fumble on first down to give the Lions first and 10 at the Golden Eagle 16-yard line. Following a penalty, Rodriguez threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to BJ Busbee (Long Beach, Calif.).
Tennessee Tech scored its first points of the game on the following drive, a 27-yard field goal from Hayden Olsen. The Lions returned the favor with a 20-yard field goal from Emmanuel Adagbon (Mesquite Horn) with seven seconds left in the first half.
While forcing four turnovers, the Lion defense held Tennessee Tech to 44 passing yards and 141 yards of total offense.
The Golden Eagles scored the first points of the second half, a 33-yard field goal from Olsen. The Lions responded on the following drive to push the lead back up to 19-6.
Looking for a chunk play in the air, Tennessee Tech completed a 53-yard catch but the Lions’ Max Epps (Spring – Dekaney) forced a fumble and Kendall Paul (Dallas – Bishop Dunne) returned it for 70 yards to the Golden Eagle 23-yard line.
After forcing a turnover on downs, the Golden Eagles put together a drive of 4:25 to score their first touchdown of the night and trim the Lion lead to 19-13. A&M-Commerce went back up by two possessions on the next drive via a 69-yard touchdown rush from Spencer Long (Mont Belvieu – Barbers Hill). The two-point conversion by the Lions to go up by 14 was unsuccessful.
Another long drive for the Golden Eagles followed and they pulled to 25-20 on a touchdown catch by Jayvian Allen.
The Lions had the ball with a five-point lead and 3:15 on the clock, but did not manage to get a first down and gave Tennessee Tech the ball at its own 49-yard line with 2:11 left in the game.
Penalties forced the Golden Eagles to have first down and 30, but a 32-yard catch by Metriu Fleming brought the Golden Eagles inside the 30-yard line. Willie Miller caught an eight-yard touchdown catch with two seconds left to take a 26-25 lead. The Golden Eagles chose to kneel the point-after attempt.
The lateral game for the Lions on the ensuing return was unsuccessful as the Golden Eagles recovered the fumble.
Tennessee Tech outscored A&M-Commerce 20-6 in the fourth quarter and had the ball for over 10 minutes in the quarter.
Rodriguez missed most of the second half, but had two touchdown passes, 169 passing yards, and 80 rushing yards. Jeremy Oatsvall tossed the two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and had 226 yards in the air as well as 65 yards on the ground. Tennessee Tech rushed for 228 yards.
Long had 90 yards in 10 attempts, while Armstrong had 95 receiving yards on six catches. Defensively, Taylor recorded 15 tackles as well as an interception and a tackle for loss. Williams had 13 tackles, one for loss, one forced fumble, and an interception return of 51 yards. Adagbon converted both his field goal tries and missed one of his two extra point tries.
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The Lions renew an old rivalry in Huntsville against Sam Houston on Saturday, September 17, at 6 p.m.