After a big upset win over Eastern Kentucky on Saturday Tennessee Tech has swept the OVC Weekly Awards. QB Darian Stone was named offensive player of the week, Safety Marty Jones was defensive player of the week, and Ladarius Vanlier won the honor for special teams.
Darian Stone, QB • Sr., 6-0, 200 • Clinton, Tenn. • Tennessee Tech
Stone threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter as Tennessee Tech scored 29 unanswered points in the quarter to come-from-behind and upset No. 12 Eastern Kentucky 39-31. He started the quarter with a 14-yard touchdown to freshman Brock McCoin to cap a 13-play, 85-yard drive and five minutes later connected with Cody Matthews to pull Tech to within 31-24. With 3:41 to play in the game he connected with McCoin again to bring the team within a point and following a two-point conversion Tech led by one point. Overall Stone accounted for 291 yards of total offense in completing 26-of-45 passes for 225 yards and rushing 17 times for 66 yards.
Marty Jones, FS • Sr., 5-11, 195 • Cincinnati, Ohio • Tennessee Tech
Jones tied the OVC single-game record with four interceptions (two of which came in the final 1:07 of the game) as Tennessee Tech upset No. 12 Eastern Kentucky 39-31 on Saturday night. The four interceptions are the most by a Division I (FBS or FCS) player this season. Jones had two interceptions in the second quarter, ending EKU drives at the TTU 39 and 32-yard lines. After the Golden Eagles had pulled ahead 39-31 late in the fourth quarter, he picked off Bennie Coney with 1:07 to play. But after a three-and-out possession Tech punted the ball back and this time Jones intercepted the other EKU quarterback, Jared McClain, at the Tech 35-yard line with 16 seconds left to seal the victory. It was the team’s first win over a nationally-ranked opponent since November 2012 (No. 23 UT Martin). Jones also added a game-high 12 tackles and ran in a two-point conversion when he picked up a low snap and rushed to the end zone with 3:41 to play in the fourth quarter to give Tech a 32-31 lead and proved to be the game-winner. He now shares the OVC interceptions record with Jim Pickens (WKU, 1948), Buddy Pfaadt (EKU, 1966), Bud Qualk (Murray State, 1969), Jim Hardie (APSU, 1970) and Pat Smith (EKU, 1986). Jones currently ranks ninth nationally in interceptions (0.6/game) and 32nd in tackles (9.4/game).
Ladarius Vanlier, RS/WR • Jr., 5-8, 175 • Nashville, Tenn. • Tennessee Tech
Vanlier accounted for an OVC season-best 264 all-purpose yards including rushing for a 63-yard touchdown and returning a punt 79 yards for a touchdown as Tennessee Tech came from behind to upset No. 12 Eastern Kentucky 39-31, handing EKU its first loss of the season. The junior got the Golden Eagles on the board at the start of the second quarter when he returned a punt 79 yards for a score, marking his second punt return for a touchdown this season; he is one of just two FCS players (and five total Division I players) to return multiple punts for scores this season. With 2:01 to play in the game and his team leading by a point, Vanlier took a handoff and raced 63 yards untouched for a score to seal the victory for TTU. The junior finished the game with a career-high 140 rushing yards on 19 carries (7.4 ypc), six receptions for 45 yards and 79 punt return yards. Vanlier ranks fourth nationally in punt returns (17.1 yards/return) and sixth in kickoff returns (29.7 yards/return).