TSU Hosts UT Martin for Homecoming on Saturday
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
TSU Hosts UT Martin for Homecoming on Saturday

Tennessee State University celebrates its 81st Homecoming Game on Saturday, Nov. 12 when the Tigers host the UT Martin Skyhawks. The game is slated for a 5 p.m. kickoff at LP Field.

The Tigers (4-5, 3-3 Ohio Valley Conference) have won three out of their last four games including a thrilling 18-17 victory at Eastern Illinois last weekend. TSU put together 13 points in the fourth quarter to secure the win over the Panthers.

On Saturday, the Skyhawks and Tigers will meet for the 21st time and for the seventh occasion during Homecoming. TSU leads the overall series 13-7 and has a 6-1 advantage during Homecoming contests. Last season, the Skyhawks shut out Tennessee State 37-0 in Martin. TSU fell 28-7 during the 2009 Homecoming game.

In last year's 2010 Homecoming matchup, the Tigers fell 31-28 to EIU in overtime. Overall, the  Big Blue holds a 62-13-5 mark during Homecoming contests.

The two squads will also battle it out for the Sgt. York Trophy. If TSU wins, they will have an opportunity to claim the trophy. The trophy goes to the team with the best record against the other schools, and in case of a tie there will be co-champions and the actual trophy will go to the institution that has gone the most seasons without winning the trophy. TSU is currently 1-1 in the Sgt. York Trophy standings and has not won the trophy since 2008.

Trabis Ward rushed for a career-high 142 yards and two touchdowns in the contest.  Ward leads TSU with 789 yards rushing and nine touchdowns.

Defensive end Antonio Harper earned his second OVC Defensive Player of the Week honor this year after notching eight tackles. He recorded a sack, a tackle-for-loss and forced a fumble. His sack and forced fumble  happened in the second quarter at TSU's nine yard-line, allowing the Tigers to recover the ball and squashing EIU's red-zone opportunity.

Harper has seven tackles-for-loss and 4.5 sacks to lead the Tigers defense. Senior linebacker Rico Council leads the Tigers with 71 tackles, 6.5 tackles-for-loss and 3.5 sacks.

Quarterback Michael German has thrown 99 completions for 1,382 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games this season. The redshirt freshman is currently on the Fathead.com Jerry Rice Award Watch List for most outstanding freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Through 32 career games, senior tailback Dante' Thomas has accumulated 1,722 rushing yards. Thomas is just 71 yards away from moving into number four all-time at TSU in rushing.

TSU's trifecta at wide receiver has combined for 1,497 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Leading the way is senior Calvin 'Cowboy' McNairl with 36 catches for 665 yards and seven touchdowns. Devin Wilson has 41 grabs for 478 yards, while Travis James follows with 354 yards and three scores.

Kicker Jamin Godfrey is first in the OVC and tied for sixth nationally with 1.67 field goals per game. The Englewood, Tenn., native set a school record with 15 field goals made in a season last weekend. He hit a 51-yard in the second quarter against EIU, making it the second longest field goal in school history.

Defensively, the Tigers are fifth nationally with 14 fumbles recovered. The TSU offense has a red-zone scoring percentage of 91%, which ranks sixth in the FCS.

UT Martin (5-4, 4-2 OVC) is returning to OVC action after dropping a 55-17 game at Mississippi State last weekend. The Skyhawks have won three consecutive OVC games dating back to a 61-23 win over Austin Peay on Oct. 8.

Quarterback Derek Carr leads UTM with 162 completions for 1,984 yards and 19 touchdowns. Linebacker Ben Johnson is the tackles leader with 75 for the Skyhawks.

Saturday's game includes plenty of festivities including the honoring of TSU alum and NFL Hall of Famer Richard Dent. Dent is the Co-Grand Marshall of the 2011 Homecoming festivities.

For tickets to Saturday's game, call the TSU Ticket office at 615-963-5841.