TIGERS BIG COMEBACK SPOILED WITH OVERTIME DEFEAT
NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State came all the way back from a 34-7 deficit, but Samford was able to escape the Coliseum with a 42-36 football overtime victory Saturday evening in the rain at the Coliseum. The Tigers had spotted the visitors the large lead before making the comeback, outscoring the Bulldogs 29-2 the rest of regulation. However, it was Samford who prevailed in the extra period, scoring a touchdown on Ray Nelson 5-yard TD run after the Tigers could not muster any yardage on its possession. The defeat spoiled a career-performance by TSU All-American running back Charles Anthony. Anthony rushed for 285 yards, breaking the TSU record of 233 yards held by Darron Davis since a game against Austin Peay in 1993. Anthony scored three TD's and also had a pass reception for a 59-yard TD. "Anytime someone runs for 285 yards, you expect to win the football game," said TSU head coach James Reese. "We were not successful in executing in the first half, but the guys never quit and came back and fought hard to put us in position to go into overtime. The game was close statistically as it was on the scoreboard. Samford finished the contest with 506 yards of total offense, coming on 88 plays. TSU had 501 yards of offense on 64 plays. The weather had an effect on both teams. TSU was guilty of five turnovers while Samford committed a pair and also had a fumbled snap on a punt attempt which set up the tying TSU touchdown in the fourth quarter. It was a turnover that accounted for TSU's first TD. Freshman cornerback Dominique Rodgers intercepted a deflected Ray Nelson pass and returned 56 yards for a TD. After the TSU score, Samford then reeled off 34 unanswered points. Nelson threw scoring passes of seven yards to Efrem Hill and 11 yards to Josh Benard, and also scored on runs of five and 10 yards. Philip Hyde's 8-yard run had started the streak. The Tigers added a late first half score on Anthony's first TD, a 10-yard run with 1:06 remaining. Anthony scored on a 38-yard run in the third period and the Tigers also had another drive stopped with an interception at the goal line. Anthony was on the receiving end of a 59-yard screen pass from Riley Walker on the opening play of the fourth period. Samford added a safety four minutes later as Walker was sacked in the end zone to make the score 36-28. TSU tied the game as Anthony scored on a 25-yard. Walker kept for the two-point conversion to deadlock the game at the 7:31 mark. Neither team would score the remainder of regulation. In the overtime period, the Tigers could not move the ball in four plays. Nelson carried the ball all three times for the Bulldogs in their turn, rushing for 14 yards on the first play. He ended the game with his scoring run. TSU (3-4, 1-2) was playing at home for only the second time this season. The Tigers play at Eastern Illinois next week. Samford (3-5, 2-3) evened the brief two-game series with TSU with its victory.