Categorized | TSU Football

Breaking down TSU at Eastern Illinois

Posted on 22 October 2014 by Allen


Tennessee State Tigers (4-4, 1-3 OVC) at Eastern Illinois Panthers (2-5, 2-1 OVC)
Saturday, Oct. 25 • 1:30 p.m. CT
O’Brien Field (10,000) • Charleston, Ill.
Series Record: Eastern Illinois leads 10-7
Last Meeting: Eastern Illinois won 51-10 (12/7/13)
Tennessee State Last Week: L, 21-16 vs. UT Martin
Eastern Illinois Last Week: W, 52-13 at Southeast Missouri

GAME NOTES: Tennessee State and Eastern Illinois have played 17 previous times including twice a year ago when they also met in the second round of the FCS Playoffs. The Panthers won both of those meetings and have won three of the last four against the Tigers. In the first meeting a year ago the Panthers topped then No. 21-ranked TSU 34-16 as Jimmy Garoppolo passed for 410 yards and four touchdowns and Shepard Little rushed for 138 yards and a score. In the playoff meeting the Panthers led 37-0 at halftime on the way to a 51-10 victory. In that game Garoppolo had 240 passing yards and three scores while Little rushed for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Michael German passed for 242 yards and no interceptions in the loss.

SCOUTING TENNESSEE STATE: Tennessee State lost its third-straight OVC game, falling at home 21-16 to UT Martin. It marked the first time since the 1995 season that the Tigers lost back-to-back games at Hale Stadium (although the team did not play at the venue from 1999 until 2012). The TSU defense limited UT Martin to just 210 yards of total offense, but the team fumbled twice, was tackled for a loss six times and saw an interception returned for a touchdown in the loss. Michael German passed for 314 yards and two scores and in the process moved into eighth place in OVC history in career passing yards (7,336), eighth in career touchdown passes (51) and 10th in career total offense (7,409). Ryan Mitchell hauled in six passes for 156 yards and a 75-yard touchdown from German while Telvin Hooks had 28 rushing yards to pace the rushing attack that was limited to just 53 yards for the game.

Michigan State transfer Ezra Robinson had 10 tackles, a sack and a pass breakup for the defense while Nick Thrasher added 11 tackles, moving him into second place in school history for tackles (trailing only his current coach Rod Reed). As a team TSU ranks first nationally in pass defense (129.8 yards/game) and pass efficiency defense (83.14), second in sacks/game (3.75) and third in total defense (251.3 yards/game) and third down conversion defense (25.2%).

SCOUTING EASTERN ILLINOIS: Two-time defending OVC champion Eastern Illinois proved they are still a contender this season with a convincing 52-13 victory over Southeast Missouri (who had previously been ranked in the Top 25 the week prior). The Panthers led 14-13 midway through the second quarter before the Panthers defense stepped up to shutout the Redhawks the rest of the way and the offense scored two touchdowns in each the third and fourth quarters. Junior transfer quarterback Jalen Whitlow earned his fourth OVC Newcomer of the Week honor of the season after accounting for five touchdowns in the victory. Whitlow passed for 213 yards and two scores and added three scores with his feet, finishing the game with 75 rushing yards on 15 carries. Whitlow’s two passing touchdowns went to Adam Drake who finished the game with seven catches for 110 yards; Drake now has 165 career catches which is just one away from the OVC career Top 10. Drake ranks third nationally in receptions/game (8.0) and fifth in receiving yards/game (110.0) in 2014. Junior running back Shepard Little had his second strong rushing game after returning from an injury, tallying a game-high 103 yards on 22 carries.

Junior safety Jourdan Wickliffe had two interceptions in the win, the second time in as many games he has had multiple interceptions; he currently ranks ninth nationally in interceptions (0.6/game) and ranks 10th in EIU career history for interceptions (9). The Panthers have won 14 of its last 15 OVC games dating back to the middle of the 2012 season. EIU currently ranks 12th nationally in total offense (480.3 yards/game) and eighth in passes intercepted (10).

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