Nashville, Tenn. - After three consecutive games on the road, the Tennessee State University Tigers return to LP Field to open their Ohio Valley Conference schedule when they host Southeast Missouri State (SEMO). The match-up is scheduled for Oct. 3rd with kick-off slated for 6 p.m.
The Tigers trail the series record against the Redhawks, 9-8, and fell victim to a 27-20 overtime loss in Cape Girardeau, Mo. last season (10/25/08).
The loss was the Tigers first OVC defeat during the 2008 campaign. However, TSU is 4-0 at home versus SEMO, winning the last meeting in LP Field, 31-0, in 2006.
TSU (1-3) enters this weekend's match-up on a two-game drop coming off a 31-12 defeat to Florida A&M in the Atlanta Football Classic. Quarterback Calvin McNairl has spotlighted the Tigers' offense which posts 245 yards per game and 4.1 yards per play from scrimmage.
McNairl, on the ground, is averaging 6.9 yards per carry while running in for two touchdowns this year. Through the air, he has completed 15 of 41 passes, throwing one touchdown and three interceptions. In the OVC ranks, McNairl currently sits fourth in rushing and sixth in total offense.
Runningback Preston Brown has started to show signs of progression after totaling 75 yards on 12 carries for a 6.2 average in the loss to FAMU. Brown ranks in the top ten in the OVC in rushing with 3.7 yards per rush.
For the receivers, Travis James leads TSU with 10 receptions with a 7.7 yard average per catch. After registering his first career touchdown catch versus Southern, Joseph Hills tallied one reception last week giving him nine on the year.
On the defensive side, TSU is ranked No.2 in the OVC when defending the red-zone and are led by Anthony Levine, Eugene Clifford and Kellen Woodard. Woodard is tied for second in the OVC ranks collecting 2.5 sacks with Levine and Clifford combining for 46 tackles on the season. Last Week, the Tiger defense held the highly noted FAMU running game to 87 yards with a 2.6-yard average per carry.
SEMO (1-3) is on a three-game skid after opening the season with a 72-3 win over Quincy. The Redhawks have dropped two conference games including a 29-22 OVC loss to UT Martin last week in Martin, Tenn.
The Redhawks are led by OVC preseason selections, wide receiver Walter Peoples and punter Doug Spada. Peoples notched one touchdown on the year with 17 receptions for 207 yards leads a receiving corp that has 10 different players with a reception. Spada leads the OVC with 841 punting yards for a 44.3 average.
On the season, Redhawks' quarterback, Matt Scheible, has tossed three touchdowns and five interceptions with an 178.8 average. SEMO ranks No.1 in the OVC in offense and defense in the red-zone. The Redhawks post a 92.9 percent on the attack while holding opponents to 11 of 17 (64.7 percent) when in scoring range.
Southeast leads the OVC and ranks 12th in the nation in rushing offense with 197.5 yards per game. Henry Harris is the team's leading rusher with 238 yards and four touchdowns on 37 carries managing an average of 6.4 per carry. He is also the Redhawks top scorer with 24 points. Harris is joined in the backfield by Mike Jones who rushed for 101 yards on 15 carries against UT Martin and posts a 191 yards on the year with 5 yards per touch.
On the defense, the Redhawks are surrendering 31.2 points per game and are headed by team leading tackler linebacker Justin Woodlief. Woodlief ranks 5th in the OVC with 32 tackles averaging eight per game. Free safety, Bryan Blanfort, was named this week's Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Week. Blanfort notched a career-high 14 tackles, forced a fumble and had a pass breakup in the Redhawks loss at UT Martin.
The Tigers will continue conference play through the rest of the regular season and will travel to Richmond, Ky. to face Eastern Kentucky. Game time is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on October 10th.