Big-play defense helps Eastern Illinois stop Tennessee Tech

Sep 25, 2021, 3:41 AM | Updated: 3:43 pm

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Bryce Dewberry returned a fumble 90 yards for a pivotal touchdown and Eastern Illinois went on to defeat Tennessee Tech 28-14 in an Ohio Valley Conference opener on Saturday.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Tennessee Tech drove inside the 10-yard line looking to tie the score. With 2nd-and-goal from the 5, the 16th play of the Golden Eagles’ drive went awry as quarterback Drew Martin fumbled in the backfield and Dewberry returned it 90 yards for an Eastern Illinois touchdown and a 28-14 lead.

Tennessee Tech (0-3) outgained Eastern Illinois (1-4) 379-304 and controlled the ball for 36 minutes. However, The Golden Eagles committed four turnovers and were 4 for 15 on third down as the Eastern Illinois defense came up with several big plays. Jordan Miles had three of the Panthers’ five sacks and caused two fumbles and Jason Johnson had 16 tackles, nine solo.

The Panthers’ Otto Kuhns completed 15 of 26 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns, both to Deairious Smith, who had six receptions for 109 yards.

Martin was 26-for-38 passing for 315 yards and a touchdown for Tennessee Tech.

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Big-play defense helps Eastern Illinois stop Tennessee Tech