The Eastern Kentucky University football team had a seemingly comfortable 31-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but host Tennessee Tech rallied for a 39-31 victory Saturday night at Tucker Stadium.
The loss was the first of the season for the No. 12 Colonels (6-1, 3-1 OVC).
Eastern Kentucky took a 31-10 lead with 2:11 left in the third quarter when junior defensive back Stanley Absanon blocked a Tennessee Tech (3-4, 2-2) 32-yard field goal attempt and returned the loose ball 75 yards for a score.
From there, things quickly changed as the Colonels turned the ball over four times on six possessions in the fourth quarter. In all, Eastern turned the ball over seven times on the evening – four interceptions and three fumbles.
Tennessee Tech quarterback Darian Stone tossed three touchdown passes in the rally to help bring the Golden Eagles to within one point, 31-30, with 3:41 left. Following Stone’s third touchdown pass, holder Marty Jones took the PAT snap and beat the Colonels to the corner of the end zone to give TTU a 32-31 lead.
Golden Eagle running back Ladarius Vanlier burst free for a 63-yard touchdown run with 2:01 remaining to seal the comeback.
EKU junior running back Dy’Shawn Mobley finished with 163 rushing yards on 21 carries and a touchdown.
Stone completed 26-of-45 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns. Vanlier returned a second quarter punt 79 yards for a touchdown and also piled up 140 yards rushing. Safety Marty Jones led TTU’s defensive effort with 12 tackles and four interceptions, two of which came inside the Tennessee Tech 20-yard line.
The Colonels had won six of the last seven meetings against Tennessee Tech. Eastern Kentucky will look to get back into the win column against Southeast Missouri next Saturday, Oct. 25. EKU’s 2014 Homecoming contest is slated to begin at 3 p.m.