JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – Senior running back Tim Broughton had a career-high 190 yards on 26 carries and the Tennessee State football team defeated Jacksonville State for the second time in school history, 31-15, on Saturday.
The Tiger defense came up big for TSU (6-1, 3-0 OVC), holding JSU to a season-low 292 yards, recording 14 tackles for loss and forcing a pair of turnovers.
David Van Dyke anchored the unit with eight total tackles (five solo) and Anthony Bass contributed a career-high 2.5 sacks.
After a TSU three-and-out to begin the game, Jacksonville State (5-2, 2-2 OVC) used a 21-yard run by Troymaine Pope to get into field goal range. The Big Blue defense stuffed a pair of runs near the red zone, but the Gamecocks got on the board first when Griffin Thomas nailed a 33-yard field goal at the 10:19 mark.
Another Tiger three-and-out on offense allowed the Gamecocks to start their next series at the TSU 48-yard line. JSU picked up one first down, and then attempted a fake field goal four plays later. The Tigers snuffed the pass attempt at the line and Big Blue regained possession.
This time, the TSU offense moved the ball effectively with a career-long 39 yard dash by senior running back Tim Broughton. Mike German capped off the six-play, 71-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to A.C. Leonard. The toss put TSU up, 7-3, with 4:15 left in the first quarter.
JSU countered with a 14-play scoring drive, but TSU’s No. 1 ranked defense held the Gamecocks to a 27-yard field goal from Thomas. The kick trimmed the Tigers’ lead to one at the end of the first quarter.
The Tigers answered with a touchdown to go up, 14-6, as German hit Wesley Samuels on a delayed out-route for a 13-yard score. Broughton, again, was the catalyst on the drive with a 21-yard rush that took the Tigers into Gamecock territory.
Broughton was solid for TSU in the first half, carrying the ball 11 times for 77 yards.
After five straight punts, TSU got the ball with 2:23 left before halftime. German led an eight-play, 71-yard drive in which he completed passes of 12, six, 12, 19 and seven yards. His last pass of the series was complete to a diving Weldon Garlington for his third touchdown pass of the game, and made the score 21-6, going into halftime.
German was 5-for-12 for 54 yards coming into TSU’s final drive of the second quarter. In the last possession he completed all five of his passes for 56 yards.
The Tennessee State defense also did its part in the first 30 minutes, limiting the OVC’s leading rusher DaMarcus James to 10 yards on seven carries. JSU had only 163 yards of total offense in the first two periods and did not score a touchdown in the first half of an OVC game for the first time since 2006.
TSU forced a punt on JSU’s first possession of the third period and the Tiger offense marched 59 yards down the field. From there, Jamin Godfrey’s 40-yard field goal attempt was blocked, leaving the score at 21-6.
After the sides traded punts, JSU took over on its own nine-yard line. Three plays later, JSU’s Eli Jenkins found Markis Merrill for a 76-yard bomb. JSU punched it into the end zone four seconds later, cutting TSU’s lead to 21-13 heading into the fourth quarter.
On the Tigers’ next possession, German was sacked for 15 yards in the end zone, giving JSU two points via a safety. The score cut the TSU lead down to six with over 14 minutes to play.
After the ensuing free-kick, Samquan Evans and Marquaveus Jackson came up with big tackles for loss, forcing JSU to give the ball back to the Tigers.
Broughton had a 20-yard run on TSU’s next possession, but the drive stalled at the JSU 33-yard line. Godfrey came in to attempt a 50-yard field goal and the senior sneaked it over the crossbar for three points. The pivotal kick put TSU up by two scores, 24-15.
TSU notched its third straight sack on JSU’s first play of the Gamecock’s next drive. On the second, Daniel Fitzpatrick intercepted Kyle West and returned the ball 13 yards downfield.
The pick was Fitzpatrick’s fourth of the season and the Tigers have now recorded a takeaway in 20 straight games dating back to 2011.
Five plays later, newly inserted quarterback Ronald Butler found Wesley Samuels wide-open in the end zone for TSU’s fourth touchdown of the game. The pitch and catch widened Big Blue’s lead to 31-15 where it would stay for the remainder of the game.
JSU tried to come back, but Bernell Brooks caught his first career-interception with just over three minutes left to ice the game.
With his 118 yards, German passed Joe Gilliam Jr. for eighth all-time in career passing yards with 5,335. He also moved into a tie for sixth in school history in career passing touchdowns with 41.
The Tigers will carry a six-game winning streak to Martin next weekend for a matchup with the Skyhawks on Oct. 19.