Tennesse Tech falls to Eastern 24-23

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Tennesse Tech falls to Eastern 24-23

Redshirt junior quarterback Bud Martin throws a 10-yard fade touchdown pass to junior Alexander Hollins. Martin played the second half and threw three touchdown passes, all to Hollins.

Redshirt junior quarterback Bud Martin throws a 10-yard fade touchdown pass to junior Alexander Hollins. Martin played the second half and threw three touchdown passes, all to Hollins.

Sean Hastings

Redshirt junior quarterback Bud Martin throws a 10-yard fade touchdown pass to junior Alexander Hollins. Martin played the second half and threw three touchdown passes, all to Hollins.

Sean Hastings

Sean Hastings

Redshirt junior quarterback Bud Martin throws a 10-yard fade touchdown pass to junior Alexander Hollins. Martin played the second half and threw three touchdown passes, all to Hollins.

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

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Down 14-3 to start the second half, redshirt junior quarterback Bud Martin slung a 43-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Alexander Hollins 1 minute, 32 seconds into starting the Panthers’ second-half comeback.

The Panthers came away with a 24-23 win over Tennessee Tech to move to 3-0 in OVC play.

That was just one of three touchdown hookups the duo had in the game and each pass was more impressive than the next.

Starting quarterback Scotty Gilkey Jr. had a tough first half, as Tennessee Tech had Eastern’s number and he got banged up pretty good in the first half, coach Kim Dameron said.

“We needed a spark and it was obvious (Tennessee Tech) was selling the farm defensively to stop the run and the quarterback runs,” Dameron said. “Thus, you see when Bud’s in the game we throw three touchdown passes.”

Gilkey Jr. has primarily been a running quarterback and he was not able to get the run going as he did in the first three weeks.

He rushed for 12 yards after rushing for 104 and 98 yards in the previous two weeks.

Martin was the answer for Eastern Saturday and put together a huge second half, throwing three touchdowns and for 204 yards. He was also 10 – for – 14 passing.

Saturday night, aside from a few balls he skipped to the receivers, when Martin threw the ball, it was coming down to a receiver.

“Bud’s always had the ability to throw the football, it’s just sometimes last year we didn’t know who he was throwing it to,” Dameron said. “He hit the deep ones (Saturday) and that was the difference in the game.”

It was Martin’s game to get Eastern back in after the offense had struggled in the first half.

“I thought he showed great poise and confidence,” Dameron said. “I thought he threw the ball extremely well.”

Martin connected with Hollins on a 55-yard pass that eventually set up a 10-yard touchdown with 10:47 left in the game, which gave Eastern a 24-23 lead.

Martin hit Hollins with a fade just as the two had done earlier in the game. The Panthers ran the same play and it worked both times.

Hollins said the deep ball was something the Panthers knew they could execute against Tennessee Tech.

But for the third-straight week, Eastern’s OVC game has come down to the last play and the Panthers have won by a combined seven points.

Against Southeast Missouri, senior Bradley Dewberry intercepted what would have been a game winning touchdown. Against Tennessee State, the Panthers won in overtime. This week, Tennessee Tech’s kicker missed a 48-yard field goal with 10 seconds left.

He connected on a 51-yard field goal into the wind earlier in the game, but Dameron called a timeout right before the kick and Nick Madonia missed the kick.

“That kid, boy, three feet one way, three feet the other way,” Dameron said. “I’m hoping it’s kind of the signature of our year in the fact that good things are going to happen when we need them and we’re going to win football games.”

The Eastern defense did not allow a touchdown after the first two it gave up in the first quarter and gave the offense a chance to get back in the game.

“It doesn’t matter how we start,” Dameron said. “What matters is at the end of the game we give ourselves a chance to win the game and we continue to do that.”

Eastern plays on the road at Murray State next week.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]