Nashville, Tenn. – On Saturday, Sept. 28, the Tennessee State football team will play its last non-conference regular season game of the year when the squad travels to St. Louis, Mo. for a matchup with the Marauders of Central State.
In last weekend’s Ohio Valley Conference victory at Tennessee Tech, the TSU offense set season highs in total yards (438), passing yards (343) and points (41).
Ronald Butler started the game at quarterback and was 12-of-19 for 139 yards and threw his first career touchdown pass on TSU’s opening offensive possession. Michael German spelled the freshman in the second half and went 8-for-14 for 204 yards and three scores.
TSU’s pass catchers benefited from the improved quarterback play as junior tight end A.C. Leonard caught five passes for a career-high 122 yards and two touchdowns while freshman wide receiver Lavatiae Kelly had six grabs for 95 yards and a score.
While the offense was the main story at Tech, the Big Blue defense performed at its usual level. TSU did not allow points during the second and third quarters and held the Golden Eagles to just 4.1 yards per play.
Samquan Evans paced the TSU defense, setting a personal-best with eight stops and added 2.5 tackles for loss. He also forced a fumble during the first half.
Senior safety David Van Dyke recorded an interception at Tech, his fourth in four games played. The Miami, Fla. native has recorded an interception in each of TSU’s first four contests. Van Dyke’s four picks tie him for the FCS lead with North Carolina Central’s freshman corner Michael Jones.
TSU ranks fifth nationally in takeaways with 12- eight of which have come off of interceptions.
Another key for TSU in the game at Central State will be the play of kicker Jamin Godfrey who enters the contest second in the nation in field goals made this season with nine. The senior from Englewood, Tenn. also has 251 career points and one point against the Marauders will move him into a tie with Charles Anthony for fourth place on the school’s all-time scoring list.
CSU of Division II comes into Saturday’s matchup looking for the team’s first win of the season after starting off 0-3. The Marauders lost to Morehouse College, 42-20, last weekend and have been outscored by opponents 122-46 this year.
TSU holds an all-time 25-5 advantage over Central State, but lost the teams’ last meeting in 1990. CSU suspended its football program in 1997, but brought it back in 2005.
Tennessee State is 3-0 in the Gateway Classic all-time but last played in the St. Louis game in 1970, a 21-3 victory over Parsons.
The last Division II opponent that the Tigers squared off against was Lane College in 1996. TSU won the game, 43-26.
Big Blue and the Marauders will kickoff at 2 p.m. on Saturday from the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo.