(Stats Perform) - Tennessee State place-kicker Antonio Zita explored the NCAA transfer portal in the offseason.
Are the Tigers ever glad he remained in their Ohio Valley Conference program.
Zita tied the conference record with a 62-yard field goal and kicked two others, including the game-winning 35-yarder as time expired to lift Tennessee State past Eastern Illinois 21-20 in Nashville.
The junior connected for a career-long 51-yard field goal in the first quarter, but he bettered it in dramatic fashion with the 62-yarder with 4:10 left, giving the Tigers (1-2) an 18-17 lead. It matched Paul Hickert's OVC record set for Murray State against Eastern Kentucky in 1986 and was one yard shy of the FCS-record 63-yard field goal. Three kickers share that mark, including South Florida's Bill Gramatica most recently against Austin Peay in 2000.
Eastern Illinois (0-3) retook a 20-18 lead against Tennessee State on Stone Galloway's 37-yard field goal with 41 seconds remaining. On TSU's ensuing possession, quarterback Isaiah Green found Cam Wyche down the left sideline for a 48-yard pass reception to set up Zita's winning kick.
Zita was 3 of 4 on field goal attempts in the game. He has made 40 of 48 (83.3 percent) in his career.