HAMPTON, Va. — Hampton finally came out of its offensive slump, but it wasn’t enough as it fell to Tennessee Tech 30-27 in their opener at Armstrong Stadium.
The Pirates fell to 0-3 on the season, while Tennessee Tech improved to 2-1.
“We just didn’t play well,” a dejected Rose said about his offense’s performance. “Turnovers, missed moments. We didn’t play well, and we lost.”
The Pirates showed flashes of improvement early, but finished with 245 yards and never kept the groove going.
After a Tennessee Tech field goal, quarterback Jaylian Williamson ran in a 7-yard touchdown with two minutes left in the first quarter to put Hampton up 7-3.
Tech responded with a Darian Stone 1-yard touchdown run with 13:12 left in the second quarter.
Almost seven minutes later, with his team down 10-7, Pirates kicker Anthony Prevost single-handedly seized the game. Prevost kicked in a 30-yard field goal to tie the game at 10-10.
He followed that on the ensuing kickoff with one of the game’s signature plays; after Eric Belew received the kick, Prevost chased him down, forced an open-field fumble, and recovered the football 20 yards from the end zone.
The Golden Eagles forced a three-and-out, but Prevost connected on another field goal, this one from 39 yards, to give the Pirates a 13-10 with 5:21 left in the half – a lead they took into the locker room, despite just 134 total yards.
Hampton took its largest lead of the game, and the season, going up 20-10 on a 5-play, 35-yard drive that ended with Williamson connecting with senior running back Antwon Chisholm for a 25-yard touchdown over the middle.
The lead, however, didn’t hold long.
On his first drive of the game, Golden Eagles backup quarterback Jared Davis answered with his first career touchdown run from one yard out, closing the Pirates’ lead to 20-17.
Third down was problematic for Hampton’s offense all night, as the Pirates went just 2-for-12.
“We can’t be put in third and long situations,” Williamson said. “First and second down, we have to come out there and move the ball. I think if we get third and short, we can capitalize more than third and long.”
Another Hampton three-and-out returned the ball to Tennessee Tech, and Davis led the Golden Eagles into the red zone before the third quarter closed with the Pirates still ahead 20-17.
But with 14:06 left in the fourth quarter, Sharp tied the game at 20-20 with a 35-yard field goal.
Tennessee Tech would turn a Hampton fumble into another field goal, taking a 23-20 lead. Stone re-entered the game and hit Cody Matthews for a 31 yard score, widening the gap to 30-20 with 4:09 left in the game.
Hampton’s Rayshad Riddick came up with a 7-yard score with 1:43 left to cut Tennessee Tech’s lead to 30-27.
But the onside kick went out of bounds and Tennessee Tech held on for the win.
Defense was a bright spot for Hampton. In last season’s matchup, Tennessee Tech gained 548 yards. Saturday evening, the Pirates held the Golden Eagles to 340 yards.
Senior linebacker Delbert Tyler led the Pirates with 12 tackles.
“We’ll go back to the drawing board and see what happens,” said Rose.