NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee State football team will host Southeast Missouri on Saturday, riding a four-game winning streak and fresh off of a record-setting performance in last Saturday’s, 73-6, victory in St. Louis, Mo. against Central State.
The Tigers piled up a season-high 539 yards in the rout over CSU, and TSU had 438 total yards and 41 points in a victory at Tennessee Tech two weeks ago. Big Blue has averaged 488.5 yards and 57 points over the past two games, after totaling just 310.7 yards and 20.7 points in the three contests prior.
One big reason for the offense’s turnaround has been the play of redshirt junior quarterback Michael German, who appears to be hitting his stride after missing the first two games of the season. In the past two games, German has completed 16-of-22 passes for 363 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Another key has been an improved and more consistent running attack. TSU (4-1, 1-0 OVC) got 4.4 yards per carry in weeks one through three, but has averaged 5.5 since then. Senior Tim Broughton has shouldered the load in the running department this season, tallying a conference-best 454 rushing yards on 91 carries. The Mobile, Ala. native has also scored four touchdowns this season with three of them coming in the last two weeks.
While the offense has found itself the past two contests, the TSU defense has been solid all year long and is ranked third in the nation in total defense (252.8 yards per game). The unit also ranks in the top ten in the FCS in passing defense (4th), passing efficiency defense (2nd), scoring defense (4th) and takeaways (7th).
Tennessee State recovered a pair of fumbles against Central State and the team now has recorded at least one turnover in the past 18 contests dating back to 2010.
The special teams has helped the Tiger cause this season as well, blocking five kicks in TSU’s first five games.
Tennessee State will hope to have all three units clicking for the squad’s second Ohio Valley Conference game against Southeast Missouri (0-4, 0-1 OVC).
The Redhawks are coming into the game desperate for a win, having just lost last weekend to UT Martin, 17-7. SEMO held the Skyhawks to zero points, only three first downs and 86 yards offensively in the final two quarters, but could not overcome the 17-point halftime deficit.
Offensively, Southeast Missouri ranks near the bottom of the conference in most categories. However, the Redhawks have the second-best pass defense (behind TSU) and surrender the least amount of penalty yards per game in the OVC (43.2).
SEMO’s offense is led by quarterback Kyle Snyder who averages 131.7 passing yards per contest. The junior also has a 3-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio.
Ben Kargbo anchors the Redhawk defense, averaging nine tackles per contest.
TSU will go for its fifth straight win of the season and third consecutive victory in the series when the Tigers meet the Redhawks at 6 p.m. at LP Field.