NASHVILLE- Tenn. - In a battle of two of the top teams in the OVC, Eastern Kentucky travels to Nashville to take on the undefeated Tennessee State Tigers this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Hale Stadium.
TSU comes into the game 5-0 for the first time since the 2001 season. Last week, the Tigers wrapped up non-conference play defeating Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 40-13, in front of 31,765 fans at LP Field.
Redshirt Freshman Telvin Hooks led the way for TSU as he had a career best 108 yards on 14 carries along with the first two touchdowns of his career. The second touchdown by Hooks was the first of four TSU touchdowns over the next nine minutes, 42 seconds during the second half.
Running back Trabis Ward rushed for 87 yards on on 21 carries and a score as he jumped two spots on the all-time TSU rushing yards list as he passed Alfred Reese (1970-72) for seventh and Lee Derricks (1953-55) for sixth all-time. He is now 91 yards away from passing Eugene Bowens (1963-1966) for fifth all-time.
Quarterback Michael German passed Bryson Rosser (2001-05) for ninth on the TSU all-time passing yards list. German finished 18-of-35 for 262 yards, with two touchdowns, a 16 yarder to Devin Wilson and a 41-yard TD to A.C. Leonard, and an interception. He now has 3,036 yards in his career.
The Tiger defense was impressive yet again holding all five opponents this season to 14 points and under. This is the seventh game in a row that TSU has not allowed a 100 yard rusher and the Tigers have won their last eight games in which they have held their opponent under 20 points.
The Tigers are 4th in the country in scoring defense giving up 13.4 points a game. TSU is also 25th in the nation in total defense, giving up 317.2 yards a game.
EKU improved to 2-0 in the OVC and 4-1 on the season with a 28-16 victory at UT Martin after trailing 16-7 midway through the third quarter.
Senior wide receiver Tyrone Goard tied a program record with four touchdown receptions. His 78-yard scoring catch from fellow senior T.J. Pryor with 8:57 remaining gave EKU the lead for good, 21-16. Goard totaled career highs in receptions (seven) and receiving yards (175) to go along with the four scoring catches.
Pryor set a program record of his own as he moved into first place on Eastern Kentucky's all-time passing list. The native of Louisville, Ky., now has 6,085 career passing yards thanks to his 211 yards passing and three touchdown tosses at UT Martin. Josh Greco (2004-07) had the previous Colonel record with 5,992 yards.
Pryor has thrown for 714 yards this season to go along with nine touchdown passes and no interceptions.
The Tigers and Colonels are two of the three remaining undefeated teams in OVC play this season along with Eastern Illinois, while TSU is the only undefeated OVC team overall. TSU and EKU are also the only two OVC teams that are ranked as EKU is 16th in the coaches poll, while the Tigers are 24th.
Entering this week Tennessee State is one of just 11 teams from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to be undefeated and one of just six FCS schools who enter the week with a 5-0 record. Among those six teams Tennessee State and Lehigh are the only 5-0 teams who have beaten five Division I scholarship programs to begin the season.
This is the 25th meeting between EKU and TSU with the Colonels holding a 20-4 advantage.