Tigers Gain Top 25 Ranking
Tigers Break into Top 25 FCS Ranking
For the first time in nine years, Tennessee State is ranked nationally in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) Top 25 poll.
The Tigers improved to 3-0 with last Saturday's 41-18 win over Jackson State in Memphis and Monday cracked the Sports Network's FCS national poll at No. 25.
The last time TSU was ranked nationally was in 1999 when the Tigers finished the regular season at No. 1 with an 11-0 record. In 1998 TSU finished the regular season ranked 10th.
"It's good that the players are being recognized for the hard work that they've put in,'' TSU Coach James Webster said.
"Because, believe me, we've worked this football team hard. Being ranked is somewhat of a reward for the hard work that they've put in. This is something that they should be proud of."
The Tigers are off to their best start since Webster arrived four years ago. Though Webster expected improvement from the squad, which has 26 seniors, he won't say he envisioned being 3-0.
"I can't say that being 3-0 is not a surprise because as a coach you really never look past the next game you have to play,'' Webster said. "I knew that we had three very, very tough games to start with. They would be very physical and they would be emotional. I never thought about what we would be at this time, but now that we are 3-0 and I look back on it, it doesn't surprise me because we worked hard to earn the right to be 3-0."
To go to 4-0 TSU must win its Ohio Valley Conference opener Saturday against Eastern Kentucky at LP Field. The Colonels, last year's OVC champions, are 1-2 after beating Morehead State 16-8 at home last week. The last time TSU started 4-0 was in 2001.
TSU is one of only two ranked OVC teams. Eastern Illinois (1-2) is No. 22.