Penalties Down Tigers in Loss to Southern
Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tigers' Offense Show Improvements in Loss

Baton Rouge, La. - Even with offensive improvements, penalties proved to be Tennessee State University's achilles heel. The Tigers committed 15 penalties for 101 yards in a 21-17 loss to Southern in Baton Rouge, La. at the A.W. Mumford Stadium (12, 243).

The Tigers (1-2) lost a 17-14 lead late in the fourth quarter after a Southern touchdown run.

TSU showed signs of moving the ball effectively, despite the offensive woes in previous weeks. The offensive production slightly gained ground but could not rebound after the Jaguar's late score. The Tigers tallied 255 total yards while giving up 357 yards to Southern. The Big Blue offense finished with season highs, with 17 points scored and 65 plays from the line of scrimmage. After giving up six sacks on the season, the offensive line did not surrender a sack against the Jaguar pass-rush while averaging 4.5 yards per play.

Calvin McNairl accounted for 172 total yards completing 9 of 25 passes for 86 yards, throwing one touchdown and two interceptions. On the ground, he mirrored his passing yardage rushing for 86 yards on 11 carries (7.8 yards per carry). The touchdown pass is McNairl's first of the season and Joseph Hills' first career score. Hills finished with four catches for 56 yards.

Defensively, Kellen Woodard, Malcolm Crawford, and Rodney Fritz each posted two sacks. Woodard also finished with a game-high, nine tackles with one forced fumble. Eugene Clifford followed with eight tackles.

The Tigers jumped on the board first with a John Lopez field goal in the second quarter with 3:57 remaining.

Southern (2-1) retaliated with a two-yard touchdown pass from Bryant Lee to Juamorris Stewart to take the lead into the half, 7-3. Early in the third, Bryant and Stewart connected for another score to extend the advantage, 14-3.

Bryant finished 23 of 32 for 250 yards and two TDs with Stewart on the other end of both scores. Stewart finished with 10 receptions for 75 yards to lead all receivers. On the defense, Demetric Rogers finished with seven tackles to lead Southern with Jason House and Pierre Warford earning interceptions.

TSU took a 17-14 lead in the fourth after scoring on consecutive drives with a 1-yard touchdown run from Terrance Wright and Hills' 24-yard touchdown catch from Mcnairl at the 11:49 mark.

With 6:30 left in the game, Southern capped a seven-play, 65-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown run by Brian Threat to capture the lead, 21-17.

TSU would have two drives with under three minutes to pull off the win. TSU's last opportunity resulted in a interception securing Southern's win.   

The Tigers will look to bounce back in the Atlanta Classic when they take on historic rival Florida A&M. The game is scheduled for September 26th with a 2:30 p.m. kick off.