TIGERS DIG EARLY HOLE IN LOSS AT SAMFORD
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---Tennessee State committed early miscues and the Tigers once again dug themselves an early hole in absorbing a 31-11 Ohio Valley Conference defeat Saturday afternoon. The Tigers committed two costly fumbles that led to a pair of short touchdown scoring drives of 11 and 19 yards as the Bulldogs built upon a 7-3 lead to carry a 21-3 lead into halftime. The game was played before a sun-basked crowd of more than 8,200 fans on Samford's homecoming, the 10th largest crowd in school history. TSU falls to 2-6 overall and 1-3 in the OVC. Samford improves to 5-4 and 4-2. "We put ourselves in a bad position from the beginning with our mistakes," said TSU first-year coach James Webster. "You cannot give a good team the opportunities like we did. The defense again played well for us, but we put them in tough situations throughout the day." Samford opened the scoring after taking over on a punt at the TSU 44-yardline. The Bulldogs drove the distance in 10 plays with quarterback Jefferson Adcock keeping for a 1-yard keeper. Shannon Fleming's PAT gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead at the 8:05 mark of the opening period. A Jamar Landrom pass interception gave TSU possession at the Samford 45-yard line. The Tigers made one first down as Fred Burnette rushed for a first down on a fourth-and-one situation. However, the Tigers could not move past the Samford 28 and had to settle for a 45-yard field goal from true freshman Eric Benson. A fumble by freshman running back Javarris Williams gave Samford the football at the TSU 11-yard line with 32 seconds left in the opening period. Adcock scored on a keeper on the first play and the PAT gave the Bulldogs a 14-3 lead. Neither team could muster any points until another TSU turnover. Junior Gerlad Morrow fumbled a punt at the TSU 19-yard line with 52 seconds left in the second period. Adock Ossie Buchanon scored from five yards out with 15 second left in the half. The Bulldogs tacked on 10 points in the third quarter. Fleming kicked an 18-yard field goal with 10:10 left in the quarter. Justin Ray scored on a 4-yard run with six minutes remaining. The Tigers got into the end zone near the end of the contest. Backup quarterback Jerald Cook tossed a 6-yard scoring pass to Fred Burnette with 1:11 remaining. Starting quarterback Richard Hartman threw a pass to backup fullback Brandon Williams for the two-point conversion. TSU finished with 247 yards of total offense. Javarris Williams bid for a third straight 100-yard rushing game fell short as he finished with 57 yards on 20 carries. Hartman and Cook shared the quarterback duties. Hartman was 9-16-0 for 61 yards while Cook was 8-11-0 for 99 yards and the one TD. The Tigers allowed Samford 320 yards. Only the final Samford scoring drive, which was 65 yards, was longer than 44 yards against the Tigers defense. Landrom led the defensive unit with another double-digit tackle game, making 13 total stops and having the one interception. The offensive unit was playing less than 100 percent as regular starters including linemen Almonte Duncan, Earnest Jones, and Frantzy Dorlean as well as linebacker Wesley Holmes did not start because of injuries, but saw duty during the course of the afternoon.