BIG BLUE COMES THROUGHWITH WIN OVER SAMFORD
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- Tennessee State scored 22 unanswered points and then held on to defeat host Samford University, 29-24, Saturday evening in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Playing before a regional television audience and the second largest crowd in the Bulldogs' Siebert Stadium on homecoming, the Tigers knocked the Bulldogs from a share of the conference lead. TSU improves to 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference while Samford is now 5-3 and 3-2. Sophomore quarterback Bryson Rosser, making his second start of the season, threw four touchdown passes, three coming to senior C.J. Johnson. The Tigers also saw junior Charles Anthony cross the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Anthony rushed for 154 yards on 26 carries, marking the sixth time in seven games that he has rushed for 100 yards in a game. TSU had 403 yards of total offense. Rosser completed 27-15-0 passes for 271 yards and four TD's. Johnson had 159 yards on his six receptions. The win marked the second straight OVC road victory for TSU and fourth-year head coach James Reese. "The guys came out and played very well at times," said the Tigers head coach. "Again at times we didn't play with consistency and we all know that is something that we must improve. It is great to come in here and get a big win against a solid team. Any time No. 5 (Johnson) gets his hands on the ball something good is capable of happening. Also, Charles ran well and his going over the 1,000-yard mark is a tribute to him and the outstanding play of our offensive line." Samford scored first on a 30-yard field goal by Ty Neil at the 4:40 mark of the opening quarter in front of the sun-drenched crowd of 10,360. The Tigers came back to tie the game on a 24-yard field goal by Henry Tahir at the 13:40 mark of the second period. TSU carried a 16-point lead into halftime as Rosser threw scoring passes for 32 and 27 yards to Johnson. The Tigers continued its scoring streak in the third period as Rosser completed a 42-yard scoring strike to Ronald Jackson. Samford climbed back into the game with two TD's within a span of 50 seconds. Josh Bernard caught a 5-yard pass from Ray Nelson. TSU then fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Nelson completed an 18-yard scoring pass to Efrem Hill. TSU scored what proved to be the winning TD on the first play of the end zone. Rosser hooked with Johnson on a 40-yard scoring play. The Bulldogs pulled back to within five in Hill's second TD catch, a three-yard reception to make the score 29-24 with 7:06 remaining. The Tiger defense made a couple of stops and the offense took over with less than three minutes left at its own 6-yard line. Anthony had a 27-yard run to spark the drive and the Tigers ran out the clock with the ball at Samford's 15-yard line. Linebacker James Dumervil was in on 17 total tackles. Scott Cunningham and Justin Williams each had fumble recoveries and Aaron Strong had an interception. The Tigers will host homecoming next week as Eastern Illinois comes to the Coliseum..