COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage Thursday night in Tucker Stadium, posting a season-opening 41-31 non-conference victory over Hampton. The game saw highly touted Tennessee transfer Da'Rick Rogers make an impact to an already-potent Tennessee Tech offense. Rogers caught three passes for 75 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown from Tre Lamb with 4.6 seconds left in the first half that gave the Golden Eagles a 31-7 halftime lead. Rogers joined the defending Ohio Valley Conference champions' program less than a week ago after being dismissed from Tennessee for failing multiple drug tests. After being outgained 384-80 in the first half, Hampton bought itself a chance with great third-quarter work in the kicking game. Jorrian Washington returned the second half's opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, and Taurean Durham kicked a 40-yard field goal at the 8:45 mark to make it 31-17. The Pirates drew within 31-24 on Jeremiah Schwartz's 1-yard plunge with 3:42 remaining in the third quarter. That score came three plays after the Golden Eagles' Zack Ziegler couldn't corral Jordan Stovall's towering 45-yard punt, fumbling it to Washington at the 5. But Tennessee Tech promptly ripped off a 76-yard touchdown drive -- its fifth scoring march of 75 yards or more -- to take a 38-24 advantage on Page's 9-yard pass to Ziegler. Zach Sharp tacked on a 25-yard field goal with 9:26 left to push the lead back to 17 points. Hampton, at times bogged down by an inconsistent offense during last year's 7-4 season, managed just 80 first-half yards -- 75 of which came on its only touchdown drive. It didn't manage a first down until early in the second quarter. An ominous sign for the Pirates might have occurred on the opening kickoff when Lyndell Gibson jumped offside. They then gave up a seven-play, 70-yard scoring march which required just 2 minutes, 10 seconds. Lamb finished it off with a 34-yard scoring strike to Ziegler, who was yards beyond any defender. That became a familiar trend -- Lamb finding wide-open receivers in front of and beyond a befuddled defense considered Hampton's strong suit. Lamb threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, completing 19 of 26 attempts. Meanwhile, Pirates quarterback Najee Tyler lasted just three possessions, going 1-for-6 for 5 yards before getting pulled for last year's starter, Travis Champion. Champion led the team's only first-half touchdown drive without any impact plays, going 4-for-5 for just 14 yards. NOTES: Hampton left guard Norman Booker left the game with 9:35 remaining in the first quarter after suffering a fractured fibula. Booker was wheeled off on a stretcher and might require surgery. Teammate John Rose, a backup free safety, was also carted off late in the first quarter after being injured. ... It was the first meeting between the teams and also Tennessee Tech's first game against a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference foe. ... Because of three touchdowns, two injury delays, and seven penalties, it took 61 minutes to play the first quarter.
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