Nashville, Tenn. – Coming off of its first win of the season last Saturday against Florida A&M, the Tennessee State football team will look to improve to 2-1 with a victory over Jackson State in 24th annual Southern Heritage Classic on Sept. 14.
TSU found its running game against the Rattlers en route to 268 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. The bulk of the carries (17) went to senior Tim Broughton who responded to the increase in touches with a career-high 124 yards and a score. Redshirt sophomore Telvin Hooks also had a productive afternoon in the ground game, totaling 77 yards on 12 carries and TSU’s other score.
While the offense was productive last weekend, the defense and special teams primarily attributed to the lopsided 27-7 final score.
The TSU defense was the first unit to light up the scoreboard against FAMU when senior safety David Van Dyke ran back an interception 46 yards for a touchdown. The score set the tone for the day as the Tigers held FAMU to just 156 yards of total offense, 22 rushing yards on 24 carries, forced two turnovers and the Rattlers were 2-of-12 on third down conversions. The Rattlers also only had the ball for 7:26 during the game’s final 30 minutes.
The Big Blue defense is currently ranked second in the FCS in total defense (208 yards/game) and seventh in scoring defense (9.5).
The Tigers also got great production on special teams on Saturday, especially in the return game. Redshirt junior Martine Stevenson returned a kickoff 95 yard for a touchdown, helping the Detriot, Mich. native win a share of the OVC Special Teams Player of the Week.
TSU is now averaging 39 yards per kickoff return which ranks the squad 6th, nationally.
Tennessee State will need to continue to get good production from all three units against Jackson State (1-1) as JSU is fresh off a 30-23 win over Alabama State this past weekend.
In that game, JSU amassed 484 yards of total offense- 281 of which were through the air. Quarterback Clayton Moore was 14-of-36 in the contest and also passed for two scores.
Most of Moore’s passes went to reigning SWAC Co-Offensive Player of the Week Zach Pendelton. Pendelton caught six balls for 177 yards and was on the receiving end of both passing touchdowns.
TSU is 12-11 all-time in the Southern Heritage Classic, but 12-9 in the 21 meetings against Jackson State. TSU lost to Grambling State and Mississippi Valley State in the classic’s only variations of TSU/JSU.
Overall, TSU and JSU have met 46 times on the gridiron and TSU holds a 24-20-2 edge including last year’s 38-12 drilling. Tennessee State is also 8-2 against Jackson State this decade.
Kickoff for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted by Fox Sports South on tape delay. Fans who are unable to attend can watch the contest at 10 p.m. CST.