Nashville, Tenn. - After dropping three conference games, Tennessee State University had hopes of staying in contention for the Sgt. York Trophy but slipped out of the race with a 21-10 OVC loss to Tennessee Tech at LP Field.
The game was critical for TSU in the Sgt. York Trophy series, which is contested between the four OVC schools from the state of Tennessee. The Tigers suffered a loss to Austin Peay early in the season and will face the final school in the running, UT Martin, on Nov. 13.
The Tigers (3-5, 0-4 OVC) outgained the Golden Eagles (4-4, 3-2 OVC) posting 361 offensive yards to TTU's 200, but scored once in the red zone on three visits.
Calvin McNairl led all receivers with a career high, nine receptions for 131 yards and one touchdown. It was the first time the Tigers had a receiver break the 100-yard mark this season.
McNairl scored on an 84-yard catch and run from Jeremy Perry late in the second quarter to give TSU a 10-7 lead. Perry finished with 203 yards from 20-of-32 passing throwing one interception.
Joseph Hills picked up five receptions for 27 yards and Dante' Thomas rushed for 75 yards on 18 touches for a 4.2 average. Terrence Wright added 59 yards on the ground on seven carries (8.4 yards/carry) and two catches for 16 yards.
The Tigers only other score came courtesy of a 21-yard field goal by Jamin Godfrey to put them on the board first midway through the opening quarter. Godfrey would miss two other attempts in the second half from 24 and 31 yards out.
On defense, Brandon Bather's game-high 11 tackles (6 solo) led the Tigers with Sidney Tarver and Lamar Wallace picking up seven stops apiece. Marquez Hall hauled in the Tigers' only interception and Lawrence Peterson added a solo sack.
The Golden Eagles win their third straight with Tre Lamb completing 10-of-18 for 99 yards while throwing three touchdowns and one interception.
After the Golden Eagles recovered a blocked punt on the Tigers' 25-yardline, Lamb found Tim Benford from 22 yards out in the second quarter to give TTU a 7-3 lead.
TTU then answered the Tigers' score in 51 seconds with under a minute to play in the first half when Lamb connected with Zack Ziegler on a 6-yard pass. The score capped a seven-play, 51-yard drive, to take the lead at the break, 14-10.
Lamb and Benford linked up again in the third quarter with a three-yard score closing an 80-yard drive on 15 plays for the final score. Benford finished with three receptions for 38 yards Kelechi Ordu had a team high, eight tackles, and Will Johnson added seven.
Next, the Tigers will have the week off before hosting Eastern Illinois for Homecoming 2010 at LP Field on November 6. Game time is slated for 5:00 p.m.