TIGERS DROP OPENER TO ALABAMA A&M, 49-23
Tennessee State University dropped their third straight John Merritt Classic to rival Alabama A&M by a score of 49-23. The TSU offense could not get on track all evening and the Bulldogs took direct advantage of several Tiger miscues to score 21 points in the game. Top offensive performer on the night was junior RB Javarris Williams, who rushed for 123 yds on 20 carries. QB Antonio Heffner passed for 173 yards and 1 TD (15-30), but suffered 3 interceptions on the night. WR Chris Johnson pulled in 3 receptions for 89 yds and 1 TD. Defensively, DE Shaun Richardson led the Tigers with six tackles (5 solo) and 1 sack. DB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie finished the game with 5 solo tackles and 3 pass break-ups. He also returned 5 kicks for 110 yards (22.0 avg). Despite getting off to a 7-0 lead (8:29 - 1st qtr), the Tigers saw AAMU tie the score at 7-7 late in the quarter (2:09) and move ahead midway through the first half (8:45) enroute to a 14-7 halftime lead. TSU scored a TD to get back in the game in the third quarter (12:18) but failed on a botched PAT attempt to close the score to 14-13. AAMU countered with two third quarter TDs to push the score to 28-13 at the middle of the quarter (7:27). The Tigers mustered a 29-yard FG from Eric Benson later in the quarter (4:04), after a 12-play 58 yard drive, to close out the third quarter at a 28-16 score. In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs scored twice in a stretch of 1:11 to push their advantage to 42-16. TSU freshman QB Calvin McNairl engineered the Tigers to their final score, capping a 57 yard drive with a 19-yad TD run (6:53). AAMU finished their scoring for the scoring for the night with a TD at the 3:45 mark of the game.