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Tigers head to Murray State for season finale


Courtesy: Tennessee State Sports Information  
Release: 11/17/2010
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Dante' Thomas notched his first career start at Murray State in...
Courtesy: Murray State Athletics
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THE GAME

Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University Tigers will end the 2010 campaign on the road in Murray, Ky. when they line up head-to-head against Murray State in OVC play. The game is set for Saturday, Nov. 20, at 1 p.m. at Stewart Stadium.

The Tigers have one more opportunity to pick up a conference win and prevent going without a league victory during the regular season for the first time since joining the OVC.

BROADCAST COVERAGE

Radio: Big Blue Sports Network (WVOL 1470 AM - Nashville, Tenn. / WOJG 94.7 FM - Jackson, Tenn. / WMRB 910 AM - Columbia, Tenn.)

 Web Stream: OVCsports.TV (Pay-Per-View)

*Links will be available on game day

THE MATCH-UP

TSU (3-7, 0-6 OVC) holds the all-time series record at 11-10 over MUR (5-5, 4-3 OVC). The Racers won the last two meetings including a 9-6 win at LP Field last year.

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The Tigers last victory over the Racers was in 2007, 42-28.

LAST TIME OUT FOR TSU

The Tigers could not get anything started offensively finishing up with 123 total yards while giving up a season-high 517 yards in a conference loss to UT Martin last week, 37-0. It was the second time this season the Tigers have been left scoreless. The last time TSU was left without a point in a game, twice in one season, was 1975.

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TSU BY THE NUMBERS

After topping the conference in several key categories, TSU, has slipped out the top spot in some of the defensive statistics after last week. However, the Tigers lead the OVC in red zone defense giving up a league best 17 scores in 25 attempts.

TSU ranks second in scoring defense (23.0), rushing offense (189.2 ypg), sacks (26) and third in total defense (332.1 ypg), and interceptions (10).

SCOUTING MURRAY STATE

Murray State was selected to finish last in the OVC Preseason Order of Finish but has found a new identity under first-year head coach Chris Hatcher. Murray State can secure its first winning season since 2004 with a victory over TSU.

A win would be the fifth OVC win of the year for the Racers which has happened only three times for the program since 2000. A win would also be the 100th of the coaching career of Chris Hatcher (who is currently 99-32 in 11 years). Murray State is coming off a 61-35 victory at Austin Peay last week, marking the third time this season the team has eclipsed the 50-point plateau.

The new Murray State attack is number one in scoring (36.9 ypg), passing (314.9 ypg), first downs (24 pg), punt return average (19.7) and total offense (450.4 ypg).

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Dante' Thomas and Terrence Wright have been sharing the backfield since the injury to Preston Brown this season.

Thomas is fourth in the conference with 74.2 yards per game and 5.4 yards per rush. He posted a career-high in rushing (186), carries (24) and TDs (2) in the Tigers 37-7 win over North Carolina A&T. He earned CFPA D-I Performer of the Week honorable mention for that performance.

Wright recorded a career game during the loss to Eastern Illinois, rushing for 138 yards on 14 carries (9.6 yards/carry) and one touchdown.

All-America and OVC defenders, Eugene Clifford and Rico Council, lead the defense and are the Tigers' top tacklers. Clifford leads the team with 73 tackles while Council follows with 71.

Clifford leads in the OVC in passes defended (12), third in interceptions (4) and was added to the Buck Buchannan Watch List at midseason. The award is given to the Football Championship Subdivision top defensive player.

Council, with his current stops on the season and his performance last week, moves to second all-time in career tackles with 201. He was named the OVC's Defensive Player of the Week twice this year.

For the Racers, wide receiver Marcus Harris and kicker/punter Kienan Cullen were selected to the preseason team in August.

Cullen was named OVC Special Teams Player of the Week several times last year while serving double duty as a punter and kicker. Cullen currently leads the OVC in scoring when kicking with 8.5 points per game. He is also ranked first in field goals (1.5 per game) and field goal percentage (68.2).

The Racers house the top receiver duo starting with Harris. Harris leads the OVC in receptions with 73 for 920 yards averaging 12.6 yards per catch, 115 yards per game and 9.1 catches per game. Freshman Arthur Brackett makes up the other half with 59 receptions on the year for 557 yards ranking him second in the league.

At the quarterback position, Casey Brockman leads the OVC in total offense (290 yards/) game and passing (267.8 yards/game). Brockman was name OVC Player of the Week twice on Oct. 10 and Nov. 14. In October, Brockman broke the OVC and Murray State record as he completed 32-of-41 passes for 570 yards and seven touchdowns in a 72-59 victory over Missouri State. The passing yards were the most by a NCAA player this season at any classification (FBS, FCS, Division II, Division III).

He followed in November completing 38-of-57 passes for 497 yards and three touchdowns and rushed in the 61-35 win at Austin Peay. The 497 passing yards was the second-most in a game this season by a FCS player. It follows his previous 570-yard performance. Brockman also ranks seventh nationally in total offense (290.25 yards/game), and ninth nationally in passing yards (267.75/game).

Other Racers making OVC weekly honors include running back newcomers Mike Harris and Duane Brady. Harris received the award on Sept. 26, Oct. 10, and Nov. 7. He was named National Player of the Week and ranks second in the OVC in rushing (113 per/game) and scoring (66 pts). Brady received the Newcomer of the Week award last week after rushing for a career high in the win over Austin Peay.


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