Nashville, Tenn. – On Saturday Sept. 21, the Tennessee State football team will hit the road once again, this time to Tennessee Tech for the first Ohio Valley Conference game of the season.
During last weekend’s, 26-16, victory over Jackson State, the TSU (2-1) defense forced six turnovers by six different players. It was the most for the team since Oct. 13, 2005 against Tennessee Tech when the Tigers forced seven. TSU is fourth, nationally in takeaways with nine.
Senior safety David Van Dyke recorded one of the club’s five interceptions on the night, giving him three picks on the year. He is currently tied for the FCS lead in interceptions with seven other players.
Tennessee State also only allowed one offensive touchdown versus JSU and it was just the third touchdown surrendered by the unit on the year. Big Blue is ranked No. 6 in points per game allowed (11.7).
Jackson State managed 367 yards of total offense against TSU, but the defense still ranks first among OVC schools in total defense (261 ypg), rush defense (116 ypg), pass defense (145) and scoring defense.
While the defense has been stout so far this season, the Big Blue offense is still trying to find its way. TSU mustered 285 yards in Memphis, but just 111 of those came through the air.
Freshman quarterback Ronald Butler started the game for the Tigers and completed five-of-eight passes for 69 yards in the opening quarter. He was spelled for redshirt junior Michael German to begin the second period, but German was 4-of-14 during his 45 minutes of action for 42 yards- his lowest since his first ever collegiate game.
While the passing game struggled at the Southern Heritage Classic, the rushing attack flourished with Telvin Hooks and Tim Broughton tallying 92 and 91 yards, respectively.
During the past two weeks, TSU has averaged 221 yards on the ground per contest.
The Tigers will need to continue to get good results from their defense and get their offense on track when they travel to Cookeville to square off against Tennessee Tech (2-1).
The Golden Eagles come into Saturday’s contest flying high, having defeated Hampton, 30-27, last weekend. Tech’s defense was impressive against the Pirates, holding them to 245 yards of total offense.
TTU has the second-best passing defense in the conference, allowing opponents just an average of 153.3 yards per game through the air.
Golden Eagles quarterback Darian Stone completed 14-of-28 attempts for 158 yards and a score at Hampton, and most of his passes went Cody Matthews who finished the day with nine grabs, 114 yards and a touchdown.
Stone is fifth in the OVC in total offense per game, averaging 156.3 yards per contest.
TSU is 15-10 all-time against TTU and the Tigers are 7-2 in the past nine meetings including last year’s 22-21, thrilling victory in the Hole. TSU also won the last contest at Tech, 42-40, when the Golden Eagles were ranked No. 19 in the FCS at the time.
Tennessee State is 12-13 all-time in OVC openers dating back to 1987 and the squad will try to get back to .500 on Saturday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and fans can watch the game online on ESPN3.