NASHVILLE, Tenn. - On Saturday, the Tennessee State football team will take on the Governors of Austin Peay in the Tigers’ sole contest in their on-campus stadium, affectionately dubbed “The Hole”.
Big Blue sits at 7-3 on the year, but has lost its last two contests to Eastern Illinois and Eastern Kentucky. TSU couldn’t ask for a better week to return to its true home as the squad finished with a 3-0 record in the stadium last year.
Those three games off of John A. Merritt Blvd. were the first for Tennessee State since 1998 and ever since the stadium’s inception in 1953, the Tigers hold a 137-27-5 record on-campus.
The Hole has also housed many legendary players - players such as Joe "747" Adams, Joe Gilliam, Richard Dent, Ed "Too Tall" Jones and Rod Reed. The stadium still stands as a monument to those great players, but nothing is stopping the current crop of Tigers from carving their names into the record books as well.
That crop includes kicker Jamin Godfrey who sits just 19 points shy of breaking the school’s all-time scoring record and running back Tim Broughton who only needs 44 yards to become TSU’s next 1,000 yard rusher.
This week's game against Austin Peay also provides the talented Tiger defense another opportunity to climb back into the nation’s top spot in total defense. The unit currently sits in fifth place in the category, holding opponents to an average of 298.4 yards per game.
Aiding the defense all year has been each player’s uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time. TSU is third in the Football Championship Subdivision in takeaways with 25 and duo of David Van Dyke and Daniel Fitzpatrick has contributed 10 interceptions between them.
The Tennessee State defense could be in for a big afternoon today, as Austin Peay limps into the game winless on the year. The Governors have been outscored 375 to 50 in nine games and have been held to under 10 points six times.
Last week, APSU’s backup running back Omar Williams carried the ball 35 times for 179 yards. Williams helped APSU outrush (187 to 175) Jacksonville State, but the Governors still fell to the Gamecocks, 42-10.
The Tigers are 9-6 all-time against their in-state rivals including last year’s, 34-14, TSU win at Hale Stadium.
TSU finished with eight wins last season and a victory against Austin Peay would match that total with a possibility of TSU’s first nine-win campaign since 1999 with a win on Senior Day against Murray State remaining.
Kickoff for Saturday's game is scheduled for 2 p.m.