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TSU tops ULM 21-16

TSU tops ULM 21-16

Posted on 19 October 2014 by Allen


The Tennessee State defense held UT Martin to just 210 yards, but the Tigers still fell to the Skyhawks, 21-16, on Saturday at Hale Stadium.

The loss dropped TSU to 4-4 overall, 1-3 in the OVC and marked the first three-game losing streak for the team since a four-game stretch in 2011.

Quarterback Mike German finished the game 18-of-36 for 341 yards, two touchdowns and one interception and it was his third straight game with over 300 yards passing.

Senior receiver Ryan Mitchell caught six passes and set a new-career best with 156 yards and added a touchdown.

Nick Thrasher and Ezra Robinson paced the defense with 10 tackles apiece.

After a first quarter that featured only 97 total yards (27 for TSU), UT Martin (3-5, 2-3 OVC) finally broke the scoreless tie with Reuben Duckworth’s first career touchdown at the 11:33 mark in the second. Duckworth’s 10-yard carry was the seventh rushing score given up by TSU in the last three games.

The TSU offense broke out of its drought three plays later when German hit Ryan Mitchell with a 39-yard bomb. However, three Tiger penalties forced them to settle for a 34-yard Lane Clark field goal. The kick cut the UTM lead by four with six minutes to play in the half.

Tennessee State tried to put up more points before the break – German completed back-to-back passes for 40 yards – but TSU couldn’t quite get across the fifty and the second quarter ended with the score 7-3.

TSU was outrushed, 110-23, during the first 30 minutes and the Tigers averaged just 1.8 yards per carry.

Tennessee State started the next stanza on the wrong foot, as German’s first pass of the quarter was intercepted by UTM’s nose tackle Keith Jones and returned 42 yards for a touchdown. The score put the Tigers down, 14-3, with only three minutes gone in the second half.

The Tigers suffered more misfortune later in the quarter when Telvin Hooks fumbled on the TSU 12-yard line and UTM’s Tony Bell scooped up the ball. Jarod Neal connected with Corey Rogers on second down for a seven-yard score and UTM went up, 21-3.

A 26-yard toss from German to Weldon Garlington to begin the fourth quarter marked TSU’s first touchdown of the game and the Tigers added another when German found Mitchell for a 75-yard deep ball. The two scores put TSU down by just five, 21-16, with 4:37 to go.

The TSU defense could not get the UTM offense off of the field on its next series, and the Skyhawks ran out the clock.

Tennessee State held UT Martin to just 67 yards passing, but the Big Blue offense had five three-and-outs and was just 4-of-14 on third down.

TSU will hit the road for the team’s next contest and travel to Eastern Illinois for a matchup with the Panthers. Kickoff for that game is scheduled for Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

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Skyhawks top TSU 21-16

Skyhawks top TSU 21-16

Posted on 18 October 2014 by Allen


For the second consecutive year and fourth time since 2012 the University of Tennessee at Martin football team has clinched at least a share of the eighth annual Sgt. York Trophy with the 21-16 victory over Tennessee State at Hale Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Skyhawks (3-5, 2-3 OVC) picked up their first road victory at Tennessee State since 2008 and first victory at Hale Stadium in school history. The Skyhawks will have to wait until next week if they will bring the Sgt. York Trophy back to UT Martin when they play host to Austin Peay. UT Martin currently sits at 2-0 in the quadrangular season series between the four OVC football playing schools (Austin Peay, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech and UT Martin) located in the state of Tennessee.

Much of today’s victory is credit to the stellar play of the Skyhawk defensive unit. Despite giving up 367 yards of total offense as opposed to 210 yards gained, the Skyhawks forced two fumbles, recovered one fumble, returned an interception for a touchdown and tallied six tackles for loss.

Junior quarterback Jarod Neal took all snaps under center for the Skyhawks, effectively managing the game while converting on 11-of-18 pass attempts for 67 yards and one touchdown. Eight receivers tallied at least one catch while Kyle Kerrick, Ladevin Fair and Caylon Weathers each notched a pair of receptions. Converted offensive lineman Corey Rogers tallied the team’s lone touchdown reception.

Four Skyhawks saw their names called in the run game, led by the play of Reuben Duckworth and his 14 carries. Duckworth tallied 59 yards on the day, along with one touchdown. Najee Ray tallied 60 yards on 10 attempts while Abou Toure reach the 1,000 yard career plateau with his first of 12 carries on the afternoon, finishing with 48 yards in the game.
The defensive unit forced two turnovers on the day, including one fumble recovery and an interception return for a touchdown. Leon Carlton III tallied seven tackles while six players recorded at least a part in a tackle for loss. Nick Brown notched the team’s lone sack while Keith Jones recorded his first career interception, returning it 42 yards for a touchdown.

“That was a big win and I’m very proud,” said UT Martin head coach Jason Simpson. “It was a great job by our defensive staff as we have a great plan and executed it. We challenged our offensive line after last season and they responded. Not a big statistical day but it was enough to get a big win on the road and anytime you can do that, it’s been a good day. We’re sitting at 2-0 in the Sgt. York with Homecoming next week, we’re looking forward to it. We’ve had to adjust our goals and the Sgt. York Trophy is one of them. We want to see Sgt. York in our building next season.”

Tennessee State (4-4, 1-3 OVC) dropped its third consecutive game despite tallying 314 passing yard. Quarterback Michael German led the Tigers under center, converting on 18-of-36 attempts for 314 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Ryan Mitchell was a standout for the Tigers in the receiving game, catching six passes for 156 yards and one touchdown. Weldon Garlington also got in on the action, notching five receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown.

After neither team could get anything going in the first quarter, the Skyhawks got onto the scoreboard on their first drive of the second quarter. Beginning their drive on the UTM 30, Ray scampered on four consecutive rushing attempts for a combined 40 yards and into TSU territory. From there the drive belonged to Duckworth. Duckworth would tally four rushing attempts before punctuating the drive with a 10-yard rushing touchdown over the left side. The touchdown gave the Skyhawks the 7-0 lead with 11:33 to play in the half and was Duckworth’s first of his Skyhawk career.

Tennessee State would look to answer the Skyhawk touchdown by putting points up of its own on the following possession. After beginning their drive on their own 25, German would connect with Mitchell for a 39-yard completion to move into Skyhawk territory. A nine-yard sack by Brown would back the Tigers up before a personal foul penalty would give TSU another first down to work with. TSU would later convert on another 25-yard completion to Garlinton before settling for a 34-yard field goal to bring the score to 7-3 with just under six minute to play in the half.

UT Martin would go into the half with a 7-3 lead, totaling 147 yards of total offense as opposed to Tennessee State’s 141 yards. The big advantage for the Skyhawks in the first half was 110 yards on the ground while TSU tallied 118 yards through the air.

The Skyhawk defense continued to impress in the opening minutes of the second half, much like the first. With Tennessee State beginning its first possession of the second half on its own 33, the Tigers tallied four consecutive rushes for a first down. With a first down, German would turn to the air but heavy pressure from Deante Glover would cause a quick pass right into the hands of nose tackle Jones, who would return the interception 42 yards for a touchdown. The defensive score is the first interception return of the season and just the second set of defensive points. Following the point after attempt, the Skyhawks would hold a 14-3 lead just over two minutes into the half.

Weighing heavily on the play of their defense, the Skyhawks would set up another scoring drive on the shoulders of the defensive unit. After a punt pinned the Tigers on their own 10 yard line, Nick Dance would get to the running back on the first play from scrimmage and strip the ball loose before Tony Bell would recover the fumble on the TSU 12.

With the offense taking over with just 12 yards to score, Toure would rush up the middle to pick up five yards. Following the rushing attempt, Neal would find converted lineman Rogers for a 7-yard touchdown completion – the first of his career – to stretch the Skyhawk lead out to 21-3 with 1:31 to play in the third quarter.

Following the score, Tennessee State would look to get back into the game on its following possession. After beginning their drive on the TSU 26, the Tigers would get the offense moving. German would convert back-to-back pass attempt to Garlington and Mitchell for 27 and 13 yards, respectively. German wouldn’t be done, hitting his receivers on his next two attempts before finding Garlington for a 26-yard touchdown down the middle of the field. Following the extra point, the Skyhawks would hold a 21-10 lead with 14:17 to play in the game.

After exchanging punts on the next two drives, the Tigers made the game interesting late in the fourth quarter. Faced with first and 10 on its own 25, Tennessee State would turn to German who would find Mitchell for a 75-yard touchdown reception, scampering the length of the field to bring the game to 21-16 score. Looking for a two-point conversion to bring the Tigers within three points, they would convert the play before being called back on a penalty. The second attempt was no good.

The Skyhawks would look to ice the game in the final five minutes, taking over on their final drive with 4:34 to play. The running back duo of Ray and Duckworth would slowly move the ball down the field before milking the clock to exhaustion and give the Skyhawks their second consecutive victory.

UT Martin will return to action a week from Saturday when the Skyhawks play host to Austin Peay on Saturday, Oct. 25. Action from Hardy Graham Stadium is scheduled for 2 p.m. with Homecoming festivities and senior day activities to take place prior to the game.

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Breaking down UT Martin at TSU

Breaking down UT Martin at TSU

Posted on 16 October 2014 by Allen


UT Martin Skyhawks (2-5, 1-3 OVC) at Tennessee State Tigers (4-3, 1-2 OVC)
Saturday, Oct. 18 • 2:00 p.m. CT
Hale Stadium (15,000) • Nashville, Tenn.
TV: OVC Digital Network
Series Record: Tennessee State leads 15-8
Last Meeting: Tennessee State won 29-15 (10/19/13)
UT Martin Last Week: W, 10-7 vs. Tennessee Tech
Tennessee State Last Week: L, 27-20 vs. #8 Jacksonville State

GAME NOTES: UT Martin will travel to Hale Stadium on the campus of Tennessee State University to a key matchup in the Sgt. York Trophy series. The series is contested between the four OVC football-playing schools in the state of Tennessee. Since UT Martin took the trophy home in 2010, TSU has won the award each of the last three years. Both teams enter this week 1-0 in the standings and the winner puts itself in the driver’s seat to win the title this season. The teams have split the series 3-3 over the last six seasons; a year ago TSU got off to a 23-0 halftime lead on its way to a 29-15 victory. In that game the Tigers scored on a 54-yard blocked field goal return by De’Ante Saunders, a 20-yard interception return by Daniel Fitzpatrick and an Anthony Bass safety. The Skyhawks were led by Jarod Neal who passed for 242 yards and a touchdown while Jeremy Butler hauled in 10 catches for 129 yards and a score.

SCOUTING UT MARTIN: UT Martin snapped a three-game losing streak and picked up its first win over a Division I opponent this season in topping Tennessee Tech 17-10 on Thursday night. The Skyhawks led 7-3 at halftime and 17-3 midway through the second quarter before having to wait through a two-hour weather delay to finish the game. Quarterback Jarod Neal completed 15-of-20 passes for 126 yards and rushed eight times for 73 yards and a touchdown. That included a 35-yard rushing score in the third quarter, which was his longest rush of his career. Neal ranks 13th nationally in completion percentage (66.1%) and 18th in passing efficiency (150.8). Abou Toure had a season-high 128 rushing yards and a touchdown; he ranks fifth in the OVC in rushing (70.0 yards/game). Senior All-American Tony Bell became the program’s all-time sacks leader (18) with two sacks against the Golden Eagles; he helped anchor a defense that allowed only 10 points and 262 yards of total offense. Bell ranks sixth nationally in fumbles recovered (2) and 13th in tackles-for-loss (1.8/game).

SCOUTING TENNESSEE STATE: After being ranked as high as No. 14 nationally this season, Tennessee State slipped out of the Top 25 polls after suffering its second-straight defeat; the Tigers had been ranked for 10 consecutive weeks dating back to the 2013 season. The Tigers fell behind early again, trailing 20-3 to No. 8 Jacksonville State before pulling to within seven points with the ball when the game ended (when TSU was picked off in the end zone with six seconds left). It marked the first on-campus loss at Hale Stadium for TSU since the 1997 season (TSU began playing at the venue on a part-time basis again in 2012 after not playing there since the end of the 1998 season; the team had been 5-0 at Hale the last two-plus seasons). Michael German finished the game with a career-high 364 passing yards but did throw four interceptions on the day. German did throw his 49th career touchdown pass, moving him into 10th place in OVC history. Senior Weldon Garlington hauled in a career-high 11 catches for a career-high 179 yards and a touchdown. But the TSU rushing attack was limited to just 43 net yards by a stout JSU defense.

The TSU defense was bolstered by the return of All-American defensive back Daniel Fitzpatrick who had missed the last two games with an injury. He picked up his first interception of the season (he had a Division I best eight interceptions last season) to go along with 11 tackles, a pass breakup, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. De’Ante Saunders added his fourth interception of the season and now ranks eighth nationally in that category (0.6/game). Mike West and Nick Thrasher each had 12 tackles to lead the TSU attack. Overall the Tigers rank first nationally in pass efficiency defense (80.51) and fourth down conversion defense (0.0%), second in turnovers gained (19) and sacks (3.86/game) and third in total defense (257.1 yards/game).

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Breaking down Jacksonville State at TSU

Breaking down Jacksonville State at TSU

Posted on 09 October 2014 by Allen


#8 Jacksonville State Gamecocks (4-1, 2-0 OVC) at #25 Tennessee State Tigers (4-2, 1-1 OVC)
Saturday, Oct. 11 • 2:00 p.m. CT
Hale Stadium (15,000) • Nashville, Tenn.
Series Record: Jacksonville State leads 7-2
Last Meeting: Tennessee State won 31-15 (10/12/13)
Jacksonville State Last Week:…….. W, 38-14 vs. UT Martin
Tennessee State Last Week: L, 28-21 at Southeast Missouri

GAME NOTES: A pivotal game in the OVC race will take place on Saturday on the campus of Tennessee State where the nationally-ranked Tigers will host nationally-ranked Jacksonville State (the second-straight year both teams are ranked when they meet). It marks the first two times the teams have played at Hale Stadium; the three previous meetings in Nashville have all been played at LP Field (and won by Jax State). In four of the last five (and six of the last eight) meetings between the teams at least one of the squads was nationally ranked; a season ago both teams were in the Top 25 as No. 23 TSU won 31-15 at No. 24 Jacksonville State. In that game TSU overcame an injury to starting quarterback Michael German by scoring the final 10 points of the game and pull off the win and run its winning streak to six games. Tim Broughton rushed for 190 yards for TSU while the Tigers defense held the Gamecocks to just 21 net yards on the ground.

When the teams played in 2012, it was a Griffin Thomas field goal in overtime that proved to be the game-winner. The game features two head coaches who are coaching at their alma maters.

SCOUTING JACKSONVILLE STATE: Jacksonville State won its fourth-straight game on Saturday, topping UT Martin 38-14. The team’s offense put up 497 yards of offense and has been on a roll since a tough outing against FBS power Michigan State (who ranks 11th in the FBS in total defense) to start the season. Taking out that loss JSU is averaging 540.8 yards of total offense/game (would be third nationally), 322.0 rushing yard/game (would also rank third) and 40.2 points/game (which would rank 11th nationally). The team has also been scoring quickly, netting 13 scoring drives of less than two minutes so far this season. Playing in place of All-American running back DaMarcus James, Miles Jones stepped into the lineup and earned OVC Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors after running for 150 yards and a touchdown. Overall the Gamecocks have had four different players rush for 100 or more yards in a game this season. Quarterback Eli Jenkins was efficient again, passing for 114 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 17 yards. Overall nine different players have scored a touchdown this season.

The team has also stepped up its play on third down and now ranks second nationally in third down conversion defense (22.4%). The team has allowed only two rushes of 20 yards or longer this season (in 177 total attempts).

SCOUTING TENNESSEE STATE: Despite the return of quarterback Michael German to the lineup, Tennessee State was unable to win at Southeast Missouri on Saturday, falling 28-21. The TSU offense had struggled in recent weeks but exploded for 505 yards of total offense (its second-highest output of the season) against the Redhawks. The team, however, missed three field goals (the first time that had happened in a game since 2008) and saw the game end when German was picked off at the SEMO 11-yard line with 46 seconds to play. TSU kickers are now just 4-of-12 on field goal attempts this season. German finished the game 34-of-59 for 362 yards and two touchdowns; his touchdown to Chris Sanders-McCollum in the third quarter snapped a streak of 12 quarters without a touchdown pass for the Tigers. Sanders-McCollum established new career-highs in receptions (9) and receiving yards (104). The TSU defense did not force a turnover in the game, snapping a streak of nine-straight games with at least one turnover dating back to last season. Nick Thrasher did have 16 tackles to lead the Tiger attack.

Despite the rough outing TSU remains ranked first nationally in passing defense (130.2 yards/game), pass efficiency defense (73.88), sacks (4.17/game) and fourth down conversion defense (0.0%), is second in total defense (232.8 yards/game) and fourth in turnovers gained (15). Despite its loss, Tennessee State is still ranked 25th in both major FCS polls; the team has been ranked for 10-straight weeks dating back to last season.

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Breaking down TSU at SEMO

Breaking down TSU at SEMO

Posted on 30 September 2014 by Allen


#20 Tennessee State Tigers (4-1, 1-0 OVC) at Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (3-2, 1-0 OVC)
Saturday, Oct. 4 • 1:00 p.m. CT
Houck Stadium (10,000) • Cape Girardeau, Mo.
TV: OVC Digital Network
Series Record:…………………. Tennessee State leads 12-10
Last Meeting:………… Tennessee State won 40-16 (10/5/13)
Tennessee State Last Week: W, 27-7 vs. Florida A&M
Southeast Missouri Last Week: W, 31-27 at UT Martin

GAME NOTES: Nationally-ranked Tennessee State will travel to Southeast Missouri for the 23rd all-time meeting between the schools on Saturday. It marks the annual Homecoming matchup for the Redhawks who topped No. 3 ranked Southeastern Louisiana in its last home game two weeks ago. This week marks the third nationally-ranked FCS opponent the Redhawks will have faced this season. Tennessee State has won the last three games in the series to grab a 12-10 advantage in the all-time series. A season ago the Tigers racked up 544 yards of total offense on its way to a 40-16 victory. TSU led 16-9 at halftime before scoring 17 unanswered points in the third quarter to open up the margin. Telvin Hooks rushed for a game-high 159 yards and touchdown for Tennessee State while Michael German passed for 202 yard and two touchdowns.

Southeast Missouri was led by Lewis Washington who had a 99-yard touchdown run late in the game.

SCOUTING TENNESSEE STATE: Tennessee State continued to be a defensive juggernaut, limiting Florida A&M to 224 yards of total offense in a 27-7 victory. TSU has allowed only two offensive touchdowns in its last 13 quarters of play and ranks first nationally in total defense (207.4 yards/game allowed), pass efficiency defense (67.79), sacks (5.0/game) and fourth down conversion defense (0.0%) in addition to being second in passes intercepted (10), turnovers gained (15) and third down conversion defense (22.0%), third in pass defense (129.4 yards/game) and fourth in scoring defense (10.8 points/game), rushing defense (78.0 yards/game) and tackles-for-loss (10.0/game). The Tigers also returned an interception for a touchdown for the third-consecutive game as Terrell Bonds picked off a pass in the second quarter and raced 43 yards for a touchdown. Gabe Terry had three sacks in the game to earn OVC Defensive Player of the Week honors; he now ranks fourth nationally in sacks (1.4/game). Samquan Evans had a 12-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter; he has 19 tackles, 4.5 tackles-for-loss and 3.0 sacks this season.

Offensively the team was without starting quarterback Michael German for the second-consecutive game, but in his place sophomore Ronald Butler passed for 151 yards. The rushing attack was led by Telvin Hooks who second on a 5-yard run in the second quarter, his first rushing touchdown since Nov. 9, 2013 (he suffered an injury in the FCS playoffs last year); Hooks finished the game with 54 yards on 10 carries.

SCOUTING SOUTHEAST MISSOURI: Southeast Missouri won its second-straight game (the team’s first winning streak since 2010) and opened OVC play with a 31-27 victory over UT Martin on Saturday. It marked the team’s first road victory to open OVC play since the 2010 season and snapped a three-game losing streak to the Skyhawks. With wide receiver Paul McRoberts out with an injury for an extended period of time (McRoberts was leading the FCS with six touchdown catches after being hurt) junior Peter Lloyd stepped in to fill the void. Lloyd had nine catches for 111 total yards in the first four games of the year but exploded for 10 catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns against UTM. He had a 65-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and caught a 28-yarder in the fourth quarter in what proved to be the game-winner. The 179 receiving yards are the most by an OVC player this season; his performance earned him OVC Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors. Quarterback Kyle Snyder finished the game with 269 passing yards and two touchdown passes while also rushing for two additional scores; Snyder ranks 11th nationally in points responsible for (16.8 points/game).

Kicker Ryan McCrum kicked a 47-yard field goal in the win, his fourth 40-plus yard field goal of the season; he is a perfect 5-of-5 in field goals this season.

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TSU holds on to beat Florida A&M, 27-7

TSU holds on to beat Florida A&M, 27-7

Posted on 28 September 2014 by Allen


The Tennessee State football scored 20 points in the first half and hung on to beat Florida A&M, 27-7, in front of 29, 225 homecoming spectators.

The TSU (4-1, 1-0 OVC) defense scored two touchdowns in the contest and held the Rattlers (0-4) to 224 total yards.

Offensively, Ronald Butler started his second consecutive game at quarterback and finished the game 12-of-27 for 151 yards.

A 30-yard punt return from De’Ante Saunders set up the TSU offense at its own 49-yard line and a 24-yard rush by Tom Smith later on the drive set up the only score of the first quarter – a 22-yard field goal by Lane Clark at the 7:18 mark.

Butler led an 11-play, 95 yard scoring drive early in the second period, completing two long passes, one to Hakeem Parker for 18 yards and another to Archie Denard that went for 16. The aerial success led to a five-yard touchdown run by Telvin Hooks to increase the Tiger lead to 10-0.

Four plays later, true freshman Terrell Bonds picked off Damien Fleming’s crossing pattern and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown. The defensive score put the home side up, 17-0, with 7:19 left in the first half.

Nick Thrasher got another interception for TSU and Clark booted a career-long 42-yard field goal to give TSU a 20-0 halftime lead.

The Tiger rushing game found its footing during the opening 30 minutes, gaining 88 yards on 17 rushes for a 5.2 yard per carry average.

The Rattlers finally punched it into the end zone at the 10:27 mark of the third quarter on a quarterback draw by Fleming. It was the only score of the period and capped a 10-play, 63 yard drive.

The Tiger defense struck again in the fourth quarter as Roc-M Nesbitt stripped the ball away from Carson Royal and Samquan Evans scooped it up and scored from 12 yards out. The big play on defense iced the game and put the Tigers ahead, 27-10, with seven minutes to play.

Big Blue will hit the road for its next contest when it travels to Southeast Missouri on Oct. 4.

NOTES: Hooks’s touchdown run in the second quarter was the junior’s first touchdown since Nov. 9, 2013 against Austin Peay… Hooks’s touchdown was the first for the Tiger offense since the second quarter of the Southern Heritage Classic, a span of 117:41 of game time… Bonds’s interception was the first of his career… The Tennessee State defense has forced at least one turnover in eight straight contests dating back to last year… TSU has had a pick-six in three straight contests… In his 31st start of his career, Thrasher’s interception before halftime was the first of his collegiate career… FAMU’s rushing TD in the third period was the first allowed by the TSU defense in seven quarters dating back to the Jackson State game… TSU attempted a fake punt in the third period and while Leon Holderhead completed the first pass of his career to Je-Marc Sears, it did not get the first down… Gabe Terry had three sacks in the game and now leads the team with seven. He has five in the last two contests… The Tigers have won four straight in the series and Rod Reed has never lost to the Rattlers…

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Breaking Down Florida A&M vs TSU

Breaking Down Florida A&M vs TSU

Posted on 25 September 2014 by Allen


Florida A&M Rattlers (0-3, 0-0 MEAC) at #20 Tennessee State Tigers (3-1, 1-0 OVC)
Saturday, Sept. 27 • 6:00 p.m. CT
LP Field (69,143) • Nashville, Tenn.
TV: OVC Digital Network
Series Record:………………. Tennessee State leads 27-25-1
Last Meeting:…………… Tennessee State won 27-7 (9/7/13)
Florida A&M Last Week:….. L, 48-3 vs. #5 Coastal Carolina
Tennessee State Last Week:… W, 10-7 vs. Tennessee Tech

GAME NOTES: Rivals Tennessee State and Florida A&M will square off for the 54th time on Saturday in Nashville. The teams played more many years at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta as part of the Atlanta Football Classic, playing 17 times in that event but after a year off in 2011, the teams rekindled the rivalry in the John Merritt Classic in Nashville in 2012 and last year in Tallahassee. The Tigers lead the all-time series 27-25-1, having won the last three in the series. A year ago TSU scored 14 first quarter points on its way to a 27-7 victory. The Tigers defense limited the Rattlers to just 22 rushing yards and 156 yards of total offense on the night, sacking quarterback Damien Fleming three times and interception him once. TSU rushed for 268 yards with Tim Broughton leading the way with 124 yards and a touchdown. Defensively David Van Dyke picked off a pass and returned it 46 yards for the first touchdown of the game.

SCOUTING FLORIDA A&M: Florida A&M is still searching for its first victory of the season after losses to Jackson State (22-17), FBS Miami (41-7) and nationally-ranked FCS squad Coastal Carolina (48-3). In its last outing, its home opener against Coastal, the team scored on a 42-yard field goal by Chase Varnadore on its first possession of the game but would not strike again. The team was led by freshman Gerald Hearns who had 101 rushing yards on just 15 carries while Tysean Holloway added 73 yards on nine carries. Quarterback Damien Flemings has passed for two touchdowns this season while the team’s other scoring came on a fumble return. The team’s 9.0 points/game ranks 113th among 123 FCS schools.

SCOUTING TENNESSEE STATE: Once again this season Tennessee State has proven to be one of the top defensive teams nationally as they currently rank first nationally in sacks/game (4.5), third down conversion defense (15.9%) and fourth down conversion defense (0.0%), second nationally in total defense (203.3 yards/game) and pass efficiency defense (66.56), third in passes intercepted (8), fourth in scoring defense (11.8 points/game), sixth in turnovers gained (12) and tackles-for-loss (9.5/game) and seventh in pass defense (123.8 yards/game) and rush defense (79.5 yards/game). The defense has also been helped out by an offense that keeps it fresh by ranking first nationally in time of possession (34:40).

The Tigers opened OVC play with a 10-7 win over Tennessee Tech as they limited the Golden Eagles to 150 yards of total offense (and 34 rushing yards) on the day. After throwing a pick-six early in the game, TSU responded with a 26-yard field goal later in the first quarter and then took the lead when Ronnie Vinson intercepted a pass and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown; he was named OVC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts. That proved to be the final score of the game as neither team scored over the final three quarters. TSU has now scored on interception returns in each of the last weeks and has only allowed an offensive touchdown in only one of its last nine quarters. The team has also forced at least one turnover in seven-straight games dating back to last season.

The offense was led by backup quarterback Ronald Butler who completed 15-of-24 passes for 113 yard; Butler started in place of injured starter Michael German. Stephen Hopkins, a transfer from Michigan, led the rushing attack with 53 yards on 13 carries. Telvin Hooks had five carries in the game which marked his first action since tearing his ACL in the FCS Playoffs last November. The victory marked the first for the team in scoring 10 points or less since 1986 (a 7-6 win over Middle Tennessee when head coach Rod Reed was on the TSU team).

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TSU tops Tenn Tech 10-7

TSU tops Tenn Tech 10-7

Posted on 21 September 2014 by Allen


A dominant performance from the Tennessee State defense helped the Tigers to a, 10-7, win over Tennessee Tech on Saturday in front of 9,217 fans at Hale Stadium.

TSU (3-1, 1-0 OVC) held the Golden Eagles (1-2, 0-1 OVC) to just 150 yards of total offense and five of TTU’s 16 series were three-and-outs.

Quarterback Ronald Butler started in place of Mike German and finished the day 15-of-24 for 113 yards and an interception. Most of Butler’s passes went Weldon Garlington’s way, and the senior had six receptions for 54 yards.

Vantavious Williams led the TSU defense with seven stops and Gabe Terry recorded two sacks.

TSU spotted TTU seven points early in the first quarter when Austin Tallant picked off Ronald Butler and raced 29 yards for an easy score. The pick six was the first interception returned for a score against TSU since last year’s Southern Heritage Classic on Sept. 14

The Tigers inched a little closer when Lane Clark booted a 26-yard field goal to make the score 7-3 in favor of the visitors with 2:23 to play in the opening period. Two plays later, Ronnie Vinson picked off a Jared Davis’s throw at the 50-yard line and ran all the way in for the Tigers’ first touchdown.

Both sides were unable to put points on the board in the second quarter, and TSU went into the break up, 10-7. Tennessee State held the ball for 21 minutes in the first half and the Tiger defense only allowed 42 yards of total offense.

TTU passers were 3-of-11 during the opening 30 minutes and the Golden Eagles averaged just 1.9 yards per play.

After another scoreless quarter, Bernell Brooks intercepted a deep pass to begin the fourth, but the Tigers were forced to punt once again.

Tennessee Tech completed a 50-yard bomb with just six minutes left in the game, putting the Golden Eagles at the TSU 26-yard line. TTU only gained two yards from there, and John Arnold’s 42-yard game-tying field goal went wide left.

The Golden Eagles got one more chance with 1:57 left and the ball on their own 20-yard line, but they lost one yard in four plays and the Tigers took over.

Tennessee State will stay at home, but host Florida A&M next week at LP Field for homecoming. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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Breaking Down Tenn Tech vs TSU

Breaking Down Tenn Tech vs TSU

Posted on 19 September 2014 by Allen


Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (1-1, 0-0 OVC) at #20 Tennessee State Tigers (2-1, 0-0 OVC)
Saturday, Sept. 20 • 2:00 p.m. CT
Hale Stadium (15,000) • Nashville, Tenn.
TV: OVC Digital Network
Series Record: Tennessee State leads 17-10
Last Meeting: Tennessee State won 41-21 (9/21/13)
Tennessee Tech Last Week: Idle
Tennessee State Last Week: W, 35-7 vs. Jackson State (in Memphis)

After an open date Tennessee Tech will travel to Tennessee State to open OVC play against nationally-ranked Tennessee State. The game is the first of the 2014 Sgt. York Trophy series presented by Delta Dental. The series is contested between the four football-playing schools from the state of Tennessee; TSU has won the trophy each of the past three years (although TTU shared the title with them in 2011 but lost a tiebreaker to bring home the actual hardware). Saturday’s game is the 28th all-time meeting between the two teams; Tennessee State has won the last three and eight of the last 10 in the all-time series.

Last year the Tigers led 17-7 at halftime on its way to a 41-21 victory in Cookeville. Michael German passed for 204 yards and three touchdowns for TSU while Tim Broughton added 86 yards on the ground. TTU quarterbacks Darian Stone and Jared Davis combined for 165 passing yards and a score. Saturday’s game is the first of three this season at Hale Stadium on the TSU campus.

Tennessee Tech is coming off an open date that followed its road loss at Indiana State on Sept. 6. In that contest the Golden Eagles fell behind 28-0 before scoring on back-to-back special teams plays in the third quarter. The first score came when Jordan Patrick blocked a punt which he recovered for a touchdown. Less than two minutes later Ladarius Vanlier returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown to trim the Sycamore advantage in half. Vanlier would be named OVC Specialist of the Week for his play in the contest; Vanlier finished the day with 200 all-purpose yards (his second career 200-plus yard all-purpose game), gaining 112 yards on kickoffs, 74 yards on punts, nine rushing yards and five receiving yards. The junior currently ranks first in the OVC and 11th nationally in all-purpose yards (178.5/game) and is sixth in punt returns (20.4 yards/return). Darian Stone, playing the new QW hybrid position, had 37 rushing yards against ISU and is the team’s leading rusher (79 yards) through two games.

After a six-point road loss to Alabama State in Week 2 of the season, Tennessee State rebounded with a 35-7 victory over rival Jackson State in the 25th annual Southern Heritage Classic played in front of 46,914 fans at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. The TSU defense continued to play stout, allowing just 138 yards of total offense on the night, including -1 net rushing yards on 26 total attempts.

Tennessee State is currently first nationally in third down conversion defense (14.3%) and fourth down conversion defense (0.0%), second in turnovers gained (9), passes intercepted (6) and pass efficiency defense (68.84), fourth in total defense (221.0 yards/game), sixth in sacks/game (4.0) and tackles-for-loss (10.0/game), seventh in pass defense (126.3 yards/game) and 10th in scoring offense (38.0 points/game). Individually reigning OVC Defensive Player of the Year Anthony Bass is fifth in tackles-for-loss (2.8/game) and sixth in sacks (1.67/game). Senior De’Ante Saunders was named OVC Defensive Player of the Week after picking off two Jackson State passes including returning one 45 yards for a touchdown. Saunders currently ranks first nationally in interceptions (1.0) and 11th in passes defended (1.7/game).

Offensively newcomer Tom Smith scored two touchdowns against JSU to increase his season total to six (the second-most nationally). Starting quarterback Michael German left the game with an injury but is expected back this week; in his place Ronald Butler passed for 125 yards and a touchdown.

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De’Ante Saunders named OVC Defensive Player of the Week

De’Ante Saunders named OVC Defensive Player of the Week

Posted on 16 September 2014 by Allen


Saunders was named the Defensive MVP of the Southern Heritage Classic after intercepting two passes and returning one 45 yards for a first quarter touchdown. The senior picked off a pass with just over a minute to go in the opening quarter and raced to pay dirt to put TSU up 21-0 on its way to a 35-7 victory over rival Jackson State. He also picked off JSU later in the second quarter to net his third interception in the last two games.

On the day he also contributed three tackles and a pass breakup and was part of a defensive unit that held the Jackson State to -1 yards rushing, 138 yards of total offense and 1-for-16 on third down attempts. Saunders currently ranks first nationally in interceptions (1.0/game) and 11th in passes defended (1.7).

Saunders and the rest of the Tigers will return to Hale Stadium to face Tennessee Tech next Saturday at 2 p.m.

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TSU tops Jackson State 35-7

TSU tops Jackson State 35-7

Posted on 13 September 2014 by Allen


A fast start propelled the Tennessee State football team to a, 35-7, victory over Jackson State in the 25th annual Southern Heritage Classic in front of 46,914 spectators.

The TSU offense played its finest football of the young season in the first half, totaling all of its 35 points.

Tom Smith, who was named the game’s Offensive MVP, anchored an offense that racked up 189 yards in the first 30 minutes. The junior transfer totaled 48 yards on only seven carries and scored twice – once to start the game from two-yards out and had the final score of the half from 13 yards away.

Sophomore quarterback Ronald Butler took over for Mike German with 13 minutes left in the second quarter and he quickly found Dantwaun O’Neal on crossing pattern for a 13-yard touchdown to give Tennessee State a 28-0 lead.

The TSU defense was strong as well during the first two periods, only allowing 21 yards of total offense, 0.7 yards per play and one first down.

Senior cornerback De’Ante Saunders had two interceptions in the first half and ran the first one back 45 yards for a touchdown when TSU was up by just two scores.

Tennessee State was content to sit on its lead in the second half and only managed 135 yards and did not score again.

Jackson State, meanwhile, finally found the end zone once with 2:44 left in the third quarter with a four-yard touchdown run.

The TSU defense held JSU to minus-one yard rushing, a one-for-16 line on third down tries and recorded seven sacks.

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Coach Reed show to air every Monday

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Coach Reed show to air every Monday

Posted on 11 September 2014 by Allen


The Rod Reed Coach’s Show, featuring Tennessee State football coach Rod Reed and the Tigers’ football program, will air each Monday from 7-8 p.m. through Nov. 25 on 94.9 FM Game 2 ESPN Radio Nashville.

Presenting sponsors of the show are South Street Original Smokehouse, Crab Shack and Authentic Dive Bar in Nashville and Bill Freeman of Freeman Webb Companies.

Each week, TSU football will be highlighted, including a review of the previous game and a preview of the upcoming contest the following Saturday. There will also be a player spotlight with an interview with a Tigers player and “A Look Back at TSU Football” segment highlighting the great tradition of TSU football.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to talk and promote TSU football and have the coach’s show on 94.9 FM Game 2, a 24-hour sports station,” Reed said. “We really want to emphasize the great things that our student-athletes are accomplishing on and off the field, and having a weekly coach’s show allows us to do that. It will be a fun hour every Monday night.”

The show is hosted by veteran sports journalist Greg Pogue, co-host of The Greg Pogue & Big Joe morning show Monday through Friday from 6-9 a.m. on 94.9 FM Game 2 and a sports writer for Fox Sports Tennessee.

The show is also sponsored by The Tennessee State University National Alumni Association, Smokin’ Joe’s Food Products and Backfield in Motion.

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Breaking Down TSU vs. Alabama State

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Breaking Down TSU vs. Alabama State

Posted on 04 September 2014 by Allen


#14 Tennessee State Tigers (1-0, 0-0 OVC) at Alabama State Hornets (0-1, 0-0 SWAC)
Saturday, Sept. 6 • 4:00 p.m. CT
The New ASU Stadium (26,500) • Montgomery, Ala.
Series Record: Tennessee State leads 10-2
Last Meeting: Tennessee State won 39-13 (9/2/00)
Tennessee State Last Week: W, 58-6 vs. Edward Waters
Alabama State Last Week: L, 51-20 at #16 Sam Houston State

Tennessee State will square off with Alabama State for the first time since the 2000 season when it travels to Montgomery for Saturday’s matchup. The game is being billed as the “Inaugural Classic” between the two HBCU schools. The two teams have played 12 previous times with TSU winning 10 of those games, including the 2000 contest by a 39-13 margin.

Tennessee State began the season in soggy conditions but easily disposed of Edward Waters, winning 58-6 at LP Field in the annual John Merritt Classic. The Tigers racked up a school record 439 rushing yards (the most in the nation in Week 1) and limited its overmatched opponent to just 81 yards of total offense on the night (the second lowest margin allowed nationally during Week 1).

Junior newcomer Tom Smith made an impression in the rushing game, carrying the ball 12 times for 151 yards (12.6 yards/carry) and scoring four touchdowns in just two quarters of play. The four rushing touchdowns were the most for a FCS player during the week and most for a TSU player since Trabis Ward scored four in October 2012. Smith, a transfer from the University of Tennessee, was named OVC Newcomer of the Week for his efforts. Senior defensive end Anthony Bass was named OVC Defensive Player of the Week after making four tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss and netting his first career interception.

Tennessee State is now ranked No. 14 in the Sports Network Top 25 and No. 16 in the FCS Coaches Top 25.

Alabama State opened its 2014 season with a 51-20 road loss to No. 16 Sam Houston State. Junior Daniel Duhart threw for 259 yards and two scores while DeMario Bell had a career-high in receiving yards (134) while also pulling in a 69-yard scoring pass. Malcolm Cyrus has 132 total yards of offense on the day. Kicker Preston Clark connected on both of his extra points, both of his field goals and averaged 36.4 yards per punt with two of those downed inside the 20. Defensively Torey Davis and Kourtney Berry each had 13 tackles.

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Bass, Smith Lead TSU Over EWC, 58-6

Bass, Smith Lead TSU Over EWC, 58-6

Posted on 30 August 2014 by Allen


Junior running back Tom Smith found solid footing on a soggy opening night, leading Tennessee State past Edward Waters, 58-6, in the 16th annual John Merritt Classic on Saturday night.

Smith had 151 yards on 12 carries and added four touchdowns en route to being named the Offensive MVP.

Smith’s four rushing scores were the most for a Tiger since Trabis Ward’s four against Southeast Missouri on Oct. 13, 2012.

Anthony Bass was named the game’s Defensive MVP after recording four stops, two sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and an interception.

Bass anchored a defensive unit that only allowed 76 yards of total offense, five first downs and did not give up any points.

The Tennessee State offense got off to a slow start, fumbling on the first play from scrimmage and then committing three straight false start penalties.

TSU finally found the end zone at the 5:31 mark, as German hit fellow senior Je-Marc Sears with a short pass and then the tight end ran the rest of the way for a 24-yard touchdown. The rain soaked turf caused a bad hold on the point after, so TSU was forced to settle with a 6-0 lead.

A Bernell Brooks interception later in the first set up a 23-yard Carter field goal, and the Tigers held a 9-0 lead with only a minute to go in the first.

Tennessee State’s special teams produced a big play to kick off the second period as De’Ante Saunders ran back a punt for a score, making the score 16-0 with just over 12 minutes to play before halftime.

Saunders’s punt return for a touchdown was TSU’s first since Oct. 8, 2011 when Weldon Garlington scampered 91 yards against Southeast Missouri.

Javon Brandon and reigning OVC Defensive Player of the Year Bass each recorded their first career interceptions in the second quarter – two of the eight combined first half turnovers.

Transfer running back Tom Smith and Stephen Hopkins combined for 127 yards on 10 carries and two scores in the second quarter, and TSU led EWC 30-6 at the break.

The TSU defense was impregnable in the opening 30 minutes, only allowing 18 yards of total offense, including negative-one on the ground, and only one first down.

Smith scored two more touchdowns within the first five minutes of the second half to put TSU up by 38 and the Tigers forced their fifth turnover to close out the third quarter.

After another turnover late in the stanza, Martine Stevenson took the first play of the fourth period 17 yards for a touchdown and finished the contest with 92 yards on 10 carries.

Running back Greg White added a late score as part of his 98-yard day and the Tigers walked away with a 52-point victory.

There were a total of 11 turnovers in the contest and TSU committed 18 penalties for 102 yards.

The Tigers will hit the road next weekend for a date with the Hornets of Alabama State. Kickoff is scheduled for Sept. 7 at 4 p.m.

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Temple 37 Vanderbilt 7 F
Alabama 33 West Virginia 23 F
Arkansas 21 Auburn 45 F
LSU 28 Wisconsin 24