NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On Saturday, the Tennessee State football team will compete in its OVC road opener at Southeast Missouri State.
The Tigers (4-1, 1-0 OVC) are red-hot, in the midst of a three-game winning streak in which their defense has surrendered a total of 14 points. TSU is coming off a, 27-7, victory over Florida A&M in the homecoming game, a contest in which Big Blue scored a pair of touchdowns on defense.
The Redhawks are having a rebound year and sit at 3-2 overall and 1-0 in conference play. SEMO has won two straight, including a 24-23 upset of then-No.3 Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 20 and a win over UT Martin. Saturday marks SEMO’s homecoming game.
Three Keys to the Game
Southeast dual-threat quarterback Kyle Snyder has been his team’s biggest impact player so far this season, accounting for 14 total touchdowns (10 with his arm, four from his legs). His 84 points rank him second in the FCS in scoring behind All-American candidate Vernon Adams from Eastern Washington (128 points). The Redhawks go as their quarterback goes, but fortunately, TSU has the No. 3 ranked pass defense (129.4 y/g) and are fourth in the FCS in scoring defense (10.8 p/g). Stopping Snyder will be of paramount importance for the Tigers if they want to improve to 2-0 in conference play.
Throw it Towards the End Zone
Tennessee State has gone 10 straight quarters without a passing touchdown and may be without the services of the season starter at quarterback Mike German for the third straight game. The good news for Ronald Butler or whoever the TSU quarterback will be, is that SEMO has allowed 14 passing touchdowns on the year and 83 percent of opponent red zone chances have resulted in points. Last year, the Tigers threw for 280 yards and three touchdowns in 40-16 blowout over the Redhawks at LP Field. SEMO is an improved team since then, but TSU will benefit from a similar production on Saturday.
Keep the Streak Alive
The Tennessee State defense has returned one interception for touchdown in three straight contests, all from different defenders. Against Tennessee Tech two weeks ago, Ronnie Vinson’s pick-six was the difference in a 10-7 Tiger win. TSU leads the nation with 10 interceptions on the season and Snyder can get careless with the ball, as evidenced by his six giveaways. The Tigers might need all the easy points they can get as SEMO averages 36.6 points per game, second in the OVC.
TSU holds a 12-10 edge all-time in the series and has won three straight. Rod Reed is also 3-1 against the Redhawks, which is his second-best mark versus all Ohio Valley Conference opponents behind Tennessee Tech.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. and fans can follow the links above to watch or listen to the contest.