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.
Former Alabama assistant coach Billy Napier will be coming back to Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.
Duke dodged trouble in the short term when its starting quarterback went down.
The No. 18 Texas Longhorns travel to Kansas State Saturday with one thing on their minds: change. That idea sounds pretty good to Kansas State right now as well.
The schedule forces Michigan State to take a step back this week. If the Spartans want to remain in the rankings, they can't afford to take an even bigger step back.
South Carolina will be the next team to see if it can stop or at least slow Kentucky running back Benny Snell when the Gamecocks and Wildcats clash Saturday in Lexington, Ky.
Florida coach Dan Mullen understands he may get less than a welcoming reception when the Gators visit No. 23 Mississippi State on Saturday.
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