Tigers visit No. 3 Jacksonville State
Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University Tigers will travel for a second consecutive week to face a Top-25 team when they visit FCS No. 3 ranked and undefeated Jacksonville State.

The Ohio Valley Conference game is scheduled for Saturday, October 16th, at Snow Stadium with kick-of slated for 3 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: OVCsports.tv (Pay-Per-View)

*Links will be available on game day


TSU (3-3, 0-2 OVC) and JSU (6-0, 3-0 OVC) battle this weekend for the sixth all-time meeting, first since the 2008 season. JSU leads the series 4-1 with the Tigers picking up their only win against the Gamecocks in 2006, 38-7.

This will mark the third-straight meeting between the schools in Jacksonville. The team's last played in the final game of the 2008 season when TSU was ranked No. 16 in the FCS polls.


The Tigers scored 14 unanswered points in the second half but it was not enough to overcome a 16-point deficit at the break. Despite holding the Redhawks scoreless in the second half, TSU fell short, 19-17, to FCS No. 25 Southeast Missouri State in OVC play at Houck Stadium.

TSU finished with 299 yards on offense while giving up a season-high 439 total yards including 390 on the ground. The loss snapped a two-game win streak.


In the highly recognized Sheridan Broadcasting Network Black College Football Poll, TSU fell to number ten and number six in the HSRN poll.


TSU led the OVC in six categories but as a result of last week's loss now ranks second in the league in rushing offense (221.1 ypg), total defense (310 ypg), pass defense efficiency (158.2 ypg), interceptions (7), scoring defense; allowing 19.6 ppg. The Tigers still remain the best in the league in sacks (23) while ranking third nationally averaging 3.7 per game.


In the preseason, the Gamecocks were predicted to finish first in the conference receiving 11 first-place votes winning their 10-straight game (the longest streak in the FCS) last Saturday at UT Martin, 30-10. The 10-game winning streak is the longest for an OVC team since the 1999 season (when TSU won 11-straight games).

It was their third straight league win in league play after picking up a 28-23 win at Eastern Illinois (9/25) and a 40-34 nail-biter versus Murray State at home. JSU has also won nine straight on the road, which is the longest streak nationally.

The Gamecocks are 6-0 for the first time since 2004 (a year they won the OVC Championship). The team is one of just four FCS schools to remain undefeated on the season (Appalachian State, Bethune-Cookman and Delaware are the others).

The Gamecocks opened the season on a high-note after upsetting Ole Miss, 49-48 (2OT), leaping from their preseason FCS rank of 17 to No. 5. After a 21-17 win over Chattanooga in week two, they moved up to No. 4 and have maintained the spot for three weeks until moving up one spot to their current rank at No. 3 on Oct. 4.

The No. 3 ranking is the highest an OVC team has been since TSU was No. 1 in the final regular season poll of the 1999 season.

Statistically, JSU ranks in the top three in ten team categories which include: scoring offense (33.7 ppg), rushing offense (158.8 ypg), rushing defense (148.3 ypg), pass offense (204 ypg), pass efficiency (139.9), kick-off return yardage (24.3 ypr), sacks against (4), net punting yardage (35.0 ypg) and red zone offense / defense (21-23 / 20-26).


Dante' Thomas leads the offense in his newly appointed role as starting running back. Thomas ranks third in the conference with 86.3 yards per game and 6.3 yards per rush. In his back-to-back starts, in that many weeks, he has rushed for over 100-yards including 118 yards in last week's loss.

He posted a career-high in rushing (186), carries (24) and TDs (2) in the Tigers 37-7 win over North Carolina A&T. He earned CFPA D-I Performer of the Week honorable mention for that performance

All-America and OVC defenders, Eugene Clifford and Rico Council, lead the defense and are the Tigers' top tacklers combining for 93 stops.

Clifford leads the Tigers in tackles (47) and is co-leader in the OVC in passes defended (9) and second in interceptions (3).

Council, with 46 tackles on the season, moved up the career tackle list to third all time with 176. He was named the OVC's Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this year after amassing 15 tackles in the loss to SEMO. He currently shares the most sacks in the conference with four on the year.

For the Tigers' special team units, Jamin Godfrey and Taylor Cisneros have helped the Tigers improve their kicking game. Godfrey recorded a career long, 42-yard field goal last week at SEMO. On the season, he has connected 7-of-11 including five of his last six.

Cisneros was awarded his first weekly honor after earning national recognition with CFPA D-I Punter Performer of the Week Award honorable mention in FCS. Against SEMO, he posted five punts for 230 yards, 46.0 yards per punt, with a long of 55 yards landing two inside the 20-yard line. On the season, the current TSU record holder for longest punt in a game (62 yards) he averages 40.7 yards per punt from total 1, 180 yards, including six of 50 yards or more and nine punts downed inside 20.

For the Gamecocks are led by preseason picks, guard Tylor Chambers, tackle Curt Porter, tight end and preseason All-American defensive back T.J. Heath.

Statistical league leaders include: Coty Blanchard in pass efficiency (161.4) and Keginald Harris in interceptions (4). Harris is also co-leader in passes defensed with nine.

Blanchard, a freshman, was named OVC Newcomer of the Week three times due to his performances on Sept. 5, Sept. 12, and Oct. 2. He was also named Offensive Player of the Week along with teammate Marques Ivory after their showing in the upset over Ole Miss in week one. Other OVC Player of the Week recipients for JSU includes Rodney Garrett (Defensive - 9/5) and Jamal Young (Offensive - 9/26).