Late Jax State TD Sinks Tigers? OVC Title Hopes, 26-21
Saturday, November 15, 2008

Spillman Has Career Day in Loss

Jacksonville, Ala. – The Tennessee State Tigers (8-3, 5-2) saw their aspirations of winning the 2008 Ohio Valley Conference football championship all but disappear when the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (8-3, 6-2) scored on a three-yard touchdown run with 0:13 remaining at Jack Snow Stadium. The score was a result of a 14-play 84 yard drive in the final 5:38 of the game.

The final score was the culmination of a hard-fought battle that ebbed and flowed throughout that highlighted two of the top offenses in the OVC.

Tennessee State jumped out early, scoring a touchdown on their second possession for a 7-0 lead (5:42) when junior wide receiver JaJuan Spillman caught a 63-yard strike from quarterback Antonio Heffner. On the ensuing Jax State possession, JSU quarterback Ryan Perriloux was stripped of the football by TSU linebacker Rico Council and recovered by Remond Willis at the JSU 23 yard line. The Tigers drove to the 13 yard line and stalled, but their 30 yd FG attempt was blocked and returned 72 yards by JSU for a 7-7 tie with 1:25 left in the quarter.

Both teams scored touchdowns in the second quarter, with TSU scoring at 12:41 for a 14-7 lead and JSU scoring at 1:31 to tie the score at 14-14. Jax State went ahead 17-14 after they kicked a 48 yd FG as the half ended.

The only third quarter scoring came from Jacksonville State when the booted a 36 yd FG for a 20-14 lead after a 10-play 33 yard drive.

The Tigers answered back early in the fourth quarter (11:35) with a 10-play 73 yard drive resulting in a TD by Brandon Belvin who recovered a Tiger fumble into the end zone after a 1 yard rush attempt. With the successful PAT the Tigers took a 21-20 lead. The Big Blue defense forced Jax State to a three-and-out with 9:51 remaining and controlled the football for the next 4:13, but were forced to punt with 5:38 remaining. Jax State was able to string together a 14-play drive to score the winning TD and a 26-21 lead after their try for two was unsuccessful.

Offensively, Antonio Heffner was the leading rusher with 55 yards on 17 rushes. He passed for 170 yards and 1 TD. JaJuan Spillman finished the game with 210 All-Purpose yards (53 rush, 104 receiving, 53 kick returns). OVC leading rusher Javarris Williams did not play.

Defensively, linebacker Rico Council led the Tigers with 12 tackles (9 solo), with 1 sack, 1 TFL, 1 forced fumble and 1 pass break-up.

The Tigers will travel to Murray State (KY) next week (11/22) for their final regular season game. They are still in contention for an At-Large bid to the NCAA FCS Play-offs with a win at the Racers. Kick-off for that game is 1:00p.