Ladarius Vanlier raced 72 yards with a punt return for his touchdown. Jordan Patrick merely had to pick up a bouncing ball in the end zone.
Tennessee Tech scored touchdowns on back-to-back punts by Indiana State in the third quarter to try and ignite a second-half comeback, but the Golden Eagles had simply too much ground to make up.
Indiana State took advantage of three first half Tennessee Tech turnovers and one huge missed tackle to claim an early 28-0 lead and finish with a 49-14 non-conference victory over the Golden Eagles Saturday afternoon in Memorial Stadium.
The Sycamores turned an interception and two fumble recoveries into a 21-0 lead at the intermission. They also converted a third-and-45 with a pass over the middle and a missed tackled that turned a 15-yard gain into a 63-yard pickup to the one-yard line, setting up the first score of the afternoon.
ISU quarterback Mike Perish threw for 383 yards and three touchdowns, and had three long connections, one for a touchdown and two that set up easy scores.
Down 28-0 after an early Sycamore TD in the third quarter, Tech got on the scoreboard midway in the period when Patrick bulled through the line and blocked a punt out of the ISU end zone. He picked up the bouncing ball for a Golden Eagle touchdown to cut the margin to 28-7.
A minute-and-a-half later, Tech scored another touchdown on a punt, this time when Vanlier received an ISU kick at Tech 28 along the right sideline. He spun around and reversed field, picked up blocks, and returned the kick all the way for a 72-yard touchdown.
But those two highlights were about it for Golden Eagle fans, who watched as ISU added three more touchdowns. The first came on a 31-yard pass into the corner of the end zone from Perish to Gary Owens, who piled up 199 receiving yards on six catches. That came with 4:54 left in the third quarter.
In the final minute of the third, Perish heaved one deep down the right sidelines that Owens hauled in for a 79-yard gain, getting tripped up at the nine. On the next play, Perish hit Jamar Brown for a TD and a 42-14 lead to open the fourth.
Four minutes later, LaMonte Booker broke through the middle for a 20-yard touchdown and the final score.
Monte scored the first touchdown on the final play of the first quarter, despite Tech dominating play for most of the first 15 minute. It was Perish and Owens again, this time pulling the Sycamores out of a huge hole. Beginning with a first-and-55 following three penalties, ISU subsequently faced third-and-41 from its own 36.
Perish hit Owens over the middle, but he bounced off two Golden Eagle tacklers and turned a 15-yard completion into a 63-yard gain to the Tech one, setting up Booker’s TD.
Taking over after recovering a fumble at the Tech 27 late in the second, ISU moved 27 yards in six plays for a 14-0 lead as Perish backed into the end zone behind his offensive line.
Tech lost another fumble on the next possession, setting ISU in motion at the Tech 39. Four plays later, Perish hit Brown for a six-yard score to make it 21-0 at the half.
With 383 yards through the air, ISU finished with 543 yards of offense on 71 plays. Tech had 72 plays but managed just 166 total yards, with 61 on the ground and 105 through the air.
Vanlier finished with 200 all-purpose yards. In addition to his 72-yard punt return, he also had a 46-yard kickoff return among his credits. Darian Stone was Tech’s leading rusher with 37 yards on eight tries. He also caught a career-high eight passes for 57 yards.
Marty Jones led the Tech defense with eight tackles, while Austin Tallant had seven tackles and broke up two passes.