NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A dominant performance from the Tennessee State defense helped the Tigers to a, 10-7, win over Tennessee Tech on Saturday in front of 9,217 fans at Hale Stadium.
TSU (3-1, 1-0 OVC) held the Golden Eagles (1-2, 0-1 OVC) to just 150 yards of total offense and five of TTU’s 16 series were three-and-outs.
Quarterback Ronald Butler started in place of Mike German and finished the day 15-of-24 for 113 yards and an interception.
Most of Butler’s passes went Weldon Garlington’s way, and the senior had six receptions for 54 yards.
Vantavious Williams led the TSU defense with seven stops and Gabe Terry recorded two sacks.
TSU spotted TTU seven points early in the first quarter when Austin Tallant picked off Ronald Butler and raced 29 yards for an easy score.
The Tigers inched a little closer when Lane Clark booted a 26-yard field goal to make the score 7-3 in favor of the visitors with 2:23 to play in the opening period.
Two plays later, Ronnie Vinson picked off a Jared Davis’s throw at the 50-yard line and ran all the way in for the Tigers’ first touchdown.
Both sides were unable to put points on the board in the second quarter, and TSU went into the break up, 10-7.
Tennessee State held the ball for 21 minutes in the first half and the Tiger defense only allowed 42 yards of total offense.
TTU passers were 3-of-11 during the opening 30 minutes and the Golden Eagles averaged just 1.9 yards per play.
After another scoreless quarter, Bernell Brooks intercepted a deep pass to begin the fourth, but the Tigers were forced to punt once again.
Tennessee Tech completed a 50-yard bomb with just six minutes left in the game, putting the Golden Eagles at the TSU 26-yard line. TTU only gained two yards from there, and John Arnold’s 42-yard game-tying field goal went wide left.
The Golden Eagles got one more chance with 1:57 left and the ball on their own 20-yard line, but they lost one yard in four plays and the Tigers took over.
Tennessee State will stay at home, but host Florida A&M next week at LP Field for homecoming. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
NOTES: Butler’s first-quarter toss that went for a TTU touchdown was the first interception returned for a score against TSU since last year’s Southern Heritage Classic on Sept. 14… Clark’s field goal in the opening quarter was the first made FG of his career… Vinson’s pick was the third of his career, and the seventh for TSU this season… Running back Telvin Hooks carried the ball for the final play of the first quarter, it was his first game action since tearing his ACL against Butler in the FCS Playoffs on Nov. 30… Brooks’s pick in the fourth was his second of the season and fourth of his career…The Tennessee State defense has forced at least one turnover in seven straight contests dating back to last year… The last time TSU won a game with 10 points or fewer was 1986, a 7-6 victory over Middle Tennessee State… The Tigers have not score an offensive touchdown in 66:46 of game time… The sides combined for 23 tackles for loss, 15 by Tennessee Tech…