TIGERS DROP HOME OPENER, 27-20
Turnovers Costly Against Alabama A&M It was like D?j? vu, all over again, for the Tennessee State Tigers against the Alabama A&M Bulldogs in the 2006 John Merritt Classic. Last season, in the season opener for both teams, the Tigers grabbed an early lead, only to see the Bulldogs use late TSU turnovers to score 27 points and claim a 27-14 win. In 2006, the Tigers controlled the first half, scoring two FGs in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead and a second quarter TD for a 13-6 halftime lead. In the second half, AAMU tied the game at 13-13 in the third quarter (6:16) and the Tigers responded for a 20-13 lead with a TD early in the fourth quarter (13:50). On the next series, AAMU drove 65 yds in 10 plays to close the score to 20-19 (9:26). Finally, the Bulldogs capitalized on a TSU fumble on their 4-yd line to score a TD and move ahead 27-20 (6:48). On their next possession, Tennessee State drove 43 yds in seven plays, but suffered an interception at the 1-yd line. AAMU was forced to punt back to the Tigers with 0:52 remaining but TSU's final drive of 69 yds ended on the 9-yd line as time ran out in the game. Tiger running back Javarris Williams finished the game rushing for 121 yds (23 atts) and 1 TD. Quarterback Antonio Hefner passed for 206 yds (28-15-1) but was intercepted once and had a crucial fumble. WR Mike Mason had 7 receptions for 83 yds and added 54 yds on 1 kickoff return for 134 All-purpose yds. Williams earned game offensive MVP honors for his performance in the game. The Tigers open Ohio Valley Conference play next week (09/09) against the Murray State Racers.