COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — David Gist ran for a pair of touchdowns and Tennessee Tech defeated defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Austin Peay 27-21 in a league opener on Sunday.
The Golden Eagles, playing for the first time in 455 days, were outgained 373-156 but scored 20 points off four Austin Peay turnovers.
Trailing 14-3 midway through the third quarter, Bailey Fisher threw a 13-yard screen pass to Metrius Fleming for a score. Early in the fourth quarter, Josh Reliford intercepted a pass he returned to the Governors 22-yard line. A roughing-the-passer negated a Governors interception and Gist eventually scored from 2 yards out.
On the ensuing kickoff, Seth Carlisle recovered a fumble at the Governors 21 and three Gist rushes later, the Golden Eagles had a 3-yard score.
Another Austin Peay fumble led to Hayden Olsen’s second field goal with 3:46 remaining before backup Governors quarterback Bryce Robinson threw a 14-yard score to DeAngel Wilson with 12 seconds left. The Governors recovered an onside kick at the Tennessee Tech 47. A Hail Mary went out of the back of the end zone as the game ended.
Austin Peay’s Draylen Ellis threw a 22-yard TD pass to Beniko Harley and ran for a 16-yard score but also was intercepted twice. The Governors were penalized 12 times for 117 yards. Wilson finished with 124 yards receiving.
The Governors played and lost three games in the fall, the final one against Cincinnati in September. In early November, they hired Scotty Walden as their head coach.
Sunday’s game was one of four scheduled OVC contests but the other three were postponed because of the impact of recent winter storms.
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