NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State football surrendered the most points since 2011, falling to Eastern Kentucky on Senior Day, 56-42.
Nick Thrasher led the defense with a career-high 17 tackles, but the unit gave up 286 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns.
Mike German keyed the offensive attack, completing 22-of-43 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns, while also tossing a pair interceptions.
Isaiah Freeman was German’s main target, catching seven passes for 98 yards and three touchdowns – all career highs.
German tossed his first pick on Tennessee State’s first drive and the Colonels wasted little time punching the ball into the end zone on offense, as Dy’Shawn Mobley capped a four-play, 39 yard drive with a short touchdown run.
Mobley had a 30-yard run on EKU’s next possession, leading to a field goal and then the junior running back scored his second touchdown of the quarter at the 6:17 mark with a 33-yard burst up the middle. His latter run put the Colonels up by three scores, 17-0.
Darion Hall gave the Tigers new life on the ensuing kickoff, taking it back 100 yards for a touchdown and then the Tigers cut the lead to three when German snuck into the end zone early in the second quarter. German completed three passes of over 15 yards to get close to the goal line for TSU’s second score.
Later in the period, Eastern Kentucky missed a field goal off of the left upright and German led the offense down the field and completed a six-yard slant to Isaiah Freeman for a go-ahead touchdown. The strike made the score 21-17 heading halftime.
The Tigers forced a punt on EKU’s first drive of the second half, but the kick hit off of a TSU player and was recovered by the Colonels at the 34-yard line. The turnover set up a 25-yard field goal by Andrew Lloyd to cut the TSU lead to one, 21-20.
The Colonels struck again and re-took the lead after a TSU three-and-out as EKU quarterback Jared McClain found a huge hole up the middle on a fourth-and-two and raced 36 yards for a touchdown. The big play made the score 27-21 in favor of the visitors with eight minutes gone in the second half.
EKU produced another touchdown later in the quarter on a crazy play that featured two fumbles. Daniel Fitzpatrick caused the first one, then Mike West picked up the ball and tried to gain extra yardage. West was stripped soon thereafter and EKU’s Devin Borders came up with football at the TSU 33-yard line and raced into the end zone. Bad luck put the Tigers down, 35-21, after a two-point conversion.
The Tigers clawed back to within a touchdown, finding the end zone with a five-yard lob to Quindell Cousin. A huge 49-yard pass from German to Mitchell set up the score.
After two more EKU touchdowns in the fourth quarter, Freeman caught his second and third touchdowns of the game. Unfortunately, it was not enough and the Colonels left with a 56-42 win.
NOTES: German came into the game with an FCS-high 12 interceptions and added two to those…. Hall’s kickoff return for a touchdown was TSU’s first this season, fourth in the last five seasons… EKU’s 17 points in the first quarter were the most surrendered by TSU in an opening period since UT Martin notched 17 on Nov. 12, 2011… Freeman’s touchdown in the second quarter was the sophomore’s first of his career… Terrell Bonds recorded an interception in the second quarter which was the first TSU takeaway since Oct. 11 against Jacksonville State… Cousin’s touchdown in the third period was the first of his career… It was the first time all season that there were three lead changes in the game… EKU’s 56 points were the most for an opponent since Sept. 24, 2011 when Air Force hung 63… TSU is on its first five-game losing streak since 2011… The 98 points by both teams were the most points scored in a game since Nov. 2, 2002 when the Tigers loss to EIU, 54-8…