Tennessee Tech took the opening kickoff and went on a 10-play, 75-yard drive for a 7-0 lead on Thaenrat's short run. The Golden Eagles scored 20 unanswered points in the second quarter and led 27-3 at halftime.
Dontez Byrd caught nine passes for 112 yards and one touchdown for Tennessee Tech (4-6, 4-3 Ohio Valley Conference). Birdsong was 14-of-22 passing for 168 yards and two touchdowns, and he had six carries for 77 yards. Nick Madonia made 3 of 4 field goals, with a long of 57.
Lane Clark made three field goals -- of 55, 47 and 25 yards -- for Tennessee State (6-4, 3-3).
The Tigers scored their lone touchdown with 8:08 remaining in the fourth quarter when Ronald Butler connected with Steven Newbold for 22 yards to pull to 37-16. The Golden Eagles answered on their next drive with Birdsong's 14-yard touchdown run.
UCF coach Heupel: We're not proud to come close to CFP
Josh Heupel says that his UCF team doesn't take much pride in coming close to making the College Football Playoff.
Appalachian State hiring NC State's Eli Drinkwitz as head coach
NC State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Eli Drinkwitz has agreed to a five-year deal as head coach of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Your guide to every bowl game
Before we get beyond Christmas to the playoff, there will be plenty of action worth watching, including Fresno State's Marcus McMaryion against Arizona State and a Wisconsin-Miami matchup in which both teams have a lot to prove.
Decide where the No. 1 recruit will impact college football most
Five-star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux will announce his college decision Saturday, and will make any team he chooses better. The question is where he'll have the best opportunity to flourish.
The most intriguing 2019 NFL draft prospects in all 40 bowl games
Kyler Murray vs. a super-talented Alabama defense. QB prospects with one last chance to impress. Watch these future NFL players this bowl season.
Finebaum: Durkin hire a 'terrible, embarrassing look' by Saban
Paul Finebaum is not a fan of Nick Saban's decision to hire ex-Maryland coach DJ Durkin as a consultant at Alabama.