Nashville, Tenn. - It will be Ohio Valley Conference play from here on out for the Tigers of Tennessee State University when they head to Cape Girardeau, Mo. to face FCS No. 25 Southeast Missouri State.
The highly anticipated league match-up is scheduled for Saturday, October 9th, at Houck Stadium with kick-of slated for 6 p.m.
Radio: Big Blue Sports Network (WVOL 1470 AM - Nashville, Tenn. / WOJG 94.7 FM - Jackson, Tenn. / WMRB 910 AM - Columbia, Tenn.)
Web Stream: KFVS12 WebCast (no subscription needed) / OVCsports.TV (Pay-Per-View)
*Links will be available on game day
Saturday's game between TSU (3-2, 0-1) and SEMO (4-1, 3-0) will feature the top two rushing teams in the OVC (and two of the Top 12 rushing teams in the nation) as well as the top two defensive squads in the league.
The two teams have played 18 times with the series knotted at nine apiece. Over the past six seasons the teams have split the series, with the home team winning each game, including a 23-17 TSU victory last year.
In that win the Tigers out-rushed the Redhawks 259-88 as Calvin McNairl passed for 95 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 122 yards and two more TDs.
LAST TIME OUT FOR TSU
Tennessee State concluded its stretch of four Classic games for 2010 by topping North Carolina A&T 37-7 in the Circle City Classic at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
TSU finished the Classic portion of its schedule with a 3-1 record. The win over NCA&T snapped a four-game losing streak to the Aggies, a streak that included a loss to them in the first round of the 1999 NCAA playoffs.
TSU totaled a season-high, 521 yards on offense, including 379 yards on the ground, with running backs Dante' Thomas and Preston Brown's combining for 331 rushing yards; giving the Tigers their second straight victory.
TSU IN THE BLACK COLLEGE RANKS
In the highly recognized Sheridan Broadcasting Network Black College Football Poll, TSU was idle at number nine and number three in the HSRN poll.
TSU BY THE NUMBERS
TSU leads the OVC in total defense (285 ypg), rushing defense (105 ypg), total offense (392.8 ypg), scoring offense (28.4 ppg, pass defense efficiency (102.9 ypg), scoring defense; allowing 19.6 ppg and posting a league best in sacks (22).
SCOUTING SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE
SEMO's identity has changed this season after a seventh place prediction in the preseason ranks. The Redhawks are undefeated in OVC play winning four straight after opening the season with 27-10 loss to Ball State.
The Redhawks' streak was sparked by a 30-17 win at Murray State before upsetting Southern Illinois at home, 24-21. SEMO then opened home play with a victory over Tennessee Tech, 23-21, then picked up another road win with a 28-13 milestone victory over Eastern Illinois. It SEMO's first time winning in Charleston since joining the league in 1991 and their first four-game win streak since 1994.
The win over EIU placed the Redhawks into the Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25 poll at No. 25, which marks the first time since the 2003 season they have been ranked.
SEMO is currently one of just 12 FCS teams with four or more wins, and one of just eight to have those wins against all Division I teams.
They are ranked first in the OVC in rushing offense (254.8 ypg), pass defense (164.4 ypg), sacks allowed (2), first downs (21.2 pg), third down conversions (54.4 pct), interceptions (8), and penalties (31.2).
SEMO is also ranked among the top teams in the country in some of those key team categories, including third down conversion (1st), fewest sacks allowed (2nd), fewest yards penalized (3rd) and rushing offense (6th)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The success of the ground game spotlights the offensive line. The rotation of Gershom Jordan, Alex Davis, Sherman Carter, Kadeem Edwards, Anthony Woods, Justin Ridgeway and Roger Gaines have paved the way for 1,176 rushing yards on the season; second best in the OVC.
Clifford leads the Tigers in tackles (39) and heads the OVC in passes defended (9) and is co-leader in interceptions (3). This week, He was added to the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List for the nation's top defensive player in the FCS.
Justin Bather follows Clifford in second in passes defended in the conference with seven.
Council, with 31 tackles on the season, was named the OVC's Defensive Player of the Week after keying the Tigers' defense in week four. He currently shares the most sacks in the conference at four with two other players including teammate Lamar Wallace.
For the Tigers' special teams, Jamin Godfrey has helped the Tigers improve their kicking game connecting 6-of-10 and is second in the league with several players.
For the Redhawks, Henry Harris was named OVC Offensive Player of the Week for the third-straight week and is second in the conference in rushing averaging 136 yards per game (6.0 yards per carry from 680 yards on the season).
For the defense, linebacker Darrick Borum was named OVC Defensive Player of the Week and is the OVC co-leader in sacks (4) and tackles for a loss (6). He was also the conference's defensive player of the week on October 3rd.
Tylor Brock plays a part in the league's top defensive passing game tying for a league best in interceptions with three, picking off two passes in the victory over EIU.
Kicker, Drew Geldbach who is 6-of-8 on the year, highlights the special team play. He was named OVC Specialist of the Week on the Sept. 12.
Other notable players include preseason selections: quarterback, Matt Schieble, and defensive lineman, J.J. Sanchez. Scheible was named OVC Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 12 with defensive back, Aaron Grimes, garnering the league's defensive player honors for that week.
Schieble is 56-of-82 passing for 114 yards per game, throwing two touchdowns and no interceptions. Grimes has recorded two interceptions and is third on the team in tackles (35).