ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Tennessee State football team scored its most points in nearly 15 years and defeated the Marauders of Central State, 73-6, in Saturday’s Gateway Classic.
The Tigers tallied a season-high 539 yards in the rout, including 311 yards on the ground. TSU’s 539 yards were the most for the team since its 76-0 drubbing of UT Martin on Oct. 24, 1998.
CSU, meanwhile, only managed 180 yards, the second fewest yards TSU has allowed all year.
Tennessee State scored touchdowns on 10 of its 13 possessions and its longest drive lasted a mere 4:08.
TSU got on the scoreboard early, as a mishandled punt by CSU on its opening possession set up the Tiger offense at the Marauder four-yard line. Two plays later, Broughton found the end zone to put TSU up, 7-0.
The Marauders had more trouble on special teams during their next possession as Big Blue blocked a punt to give its offense great field position, this time at the CSU 41. It took TSU three plays to score a touchdown on its ensuing drive, and German ended it with a 31-yard pass to Wesley Samuels.
TSU led 14-0 after just 5:21 of game time and would not look back.
The Tigers had a total of four touchdowns during the first quarter including a 20-yard run by Broughton and a 15-yard wide receiver reverse to Ryan Mitchell.
Broughton finished the day with 108 yards on 13 carries – all of which came in the first half.
Tennessee State averaged 11.8 yards per play during the game’s first 15 minutes and led 28-0.
CSU finally found the end zone on its first series of the second quarter as Michael Wilson capped off a 15-play drive with a touchdown. However, Steven Godblot III broke up the ensuing two-point conversion, making the score 28-6 in favor of the Tigers.
The Tigers marched right back down the field on their following possession and Mitchell scored his second touchdown of the game, this time via a 25-yard pass from German. German’s second touchdown put Big Blue ahead, 35-6, with 9:17 to go before halftime.
A perfectly executed naked bootleg on TSU’s next series had German rolling to his right and finding A.C. Leonard wide open for a 30-yard touchdown. Tennessee State faked a kick on the ensuing point after and Holt Claiborne completed a pass to Samuels for two points, making the score 43-6.
TSU drove 46 yards down the field on its last possession of the first half, but German fumbled the ball going into the end zone. CSU recovered and ran out the remaining 28 seconds and went into halftime trailing, 43-6.
Tennessee State had 289 yards of total offense during the first two quarters and held CSU to 106 – 87 of which came on the Marauders’ lone scoring drive.
German was a perfect 8-for-8 during the first half for 159 yards and three scores. German hit five different receivers during the first 30 minutes, but his favorite target was Leonard who hauled in three catches for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Ronald Butler came into the game at quarterback to start the third period and he orchestrated a 5-play, 53 yard drive that ended in a 30-yard touchdown to Mitchell. On the scoring play, Mitchell beat his man, but Butler’s pass was underthrown. Two CSU players touched the ball in the air, but Mitchell came down with it, making the score 50-6.
Mitchell had a career-day, scoring a personal-best two touchdowns. The junior finished the game with two catches for 63 yards.
After CSU was forced to punt, a 32-yard punt return by Weldon Garlington set up the Tennessee State attack at the Marauder 44-yard line. Eight plays later, Adam Davenport scored his first career touchdown off of a 14-yard pass from Butler. The play made the score 57-6 with 6:39 to play in the third quarter.
TSU got on the board again before the third quarter ended as Chris Sanders-McCollum scored his first career touchdown on a 2-yard pass in the back of the end zone with a pair of defenders draped all over him. Butler’s third touchdown of the period put TSU up 64-6 to begin the fourth.
Butler finished the day 5-of-8 for 69 yards and three touchdowns. Butler and German combined to complete 13-of-16 for 226 yards and six touchdowns
The two coaches agreed upon a 12-minute fourth quarter, but it didn’t slow down TSU.
The Tigers added nine points during the final period – a 63-yard rushing touchdown from Darion Hall and a safety.
With his nine points, Godfrey moved past TSU legend and current coach Mike Jones for third on the school’s all-time scoring list with 260 career points.
TSU will return home and to conference play next weekend when the club squares off against Southeast Missouri on Oct. 5 at LP Field at 6 p.m.