Tigers' Magic Fails in OT, 27-20 at SEMO
Cape Girardeau, Mo. Sitting atop the OVC and with the
season winding down, the Tennessee State University Tigers (6-2, 3-1) played a
solid first half but faltered in the second half dropping their first conference game of the season at Southeast Missouri State (2-5, 1-3), 27 - 20 in overtime.
The Tigers jumped out to a 10-0 lead and closed the first half leading 17 - 3, with scores from Eric Benson, Dante’ Smith and Javarris Williams. Tigers drew first blood with a Benson 37-yard field goal. Thomas scored his second touchdown of the season answering a Redhawks’ field goal on a four-yard run, ending an eight play 39-yard drive (3:04). Williams capped a 13-play 99-yard drive scoring his 12th score of the season with a six-yard touchdown run.
The Tiger defense held SEMO to 83 total yards in the first half on 19 plays.
In the second half, neither team scored in the third period, but SEMO pulled to a 17-17 tie with 4:42 remaning in the game. On the following kick-off, JaJuan Spillman’s 53-yard return put the Tigers in SEMO territory. The Tigers drove the ball to the inch-goal line.
Faced with fourth-inches and goal, the Tigers elected to kick an 18-yard field goal. Benson’s kick gave the Tigers the lead 20-17 with 00:29 remaining in the game. With twenty-one seconds remaining on the clock SEMO drove to the TSU 20-yd line and booted a 27-yd FG with no time remaining for a 20-20 tie.
In overtime, SEMO took the first possession and scored, aided by a pass interference call on an apparent TSU Interception. On their possession, the Tigers' four passes were batted down by the Redhawks to preserve their win.
Javarris Williams finished with the game with 125 yards rushing on 30 carries for one score with two receptions for 47 yards for 169 yards in All Purpose yards. Williams moved over 4, 000 career rushing yards in the first quarter (4, 111) and tallied his 39th career-rushing touchdown.
Antonio Heffner and Chris Johnson put up good numbers in the Tiger assault. Heffner finished completing 14-of-22 passing for 233 yards but tossed three interceptions. Johnson, back from injury, hauled in five receptions for 70 yards.
The Tigers generated 450 yards in Total Offense (217 rush, 236 pass), but yielded 293 yds to SEMO (210 in the second half).
The Tigers remain tied for number one in the OVC with a 3-1 record, but trail UT Martin (4-1) by percentage points. TSU holds the tie breaker over UT Martin by virtue of their win over the Skyhawks.
After playing two consecutive weeks in other OVC teams' homecoming, the Tigers will host their own homecoming game againstTennessee Tech on November 1, 2008 at L.P. Field, kick-off is scheduled for 5 p.m.