NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On Saturday, the Tennessee State football team will hit the road for the first time this season for a non-conference clash with Alabama State.
The Tigers are coming off of a dominating, 58-6, victory over Edward Waters in the John Merritt Classic on Saturday. In the game, TSU set a new record for rushing yards with 439 and forced six turnovers on defense.
The Hornets fell to Sam Houston State, 51-20, last week. Alabama State gave up 685 yards of total offense, but the team’s offense was effective as Daniel Duhart was 17-of-32 for 259 yards and two scores.
Three Keys to the Game
Hang on to the Ball
The TSU Tigers had five turnovers against the Tigers of Edward Waters, their most since surrendering five against UT Martin on Nov. 17, 2007. Mike German tossed a pair of picks, one of which was ran back for a touchdown. Those two interceptions are a far-cry from his zero in 2013. Luckily, Tennessee State forced six takeaways to keep the opposing offense off of the field. The Tigers cannot expect ASU to give the ball away, so limiting their own mistakes will be important.
Alabama State boasts one of the best backs in the country in Malcolm Cyrus who rushed for 94 yards on only 13 carries against Sam Houston State. In 2013, Cyrus was part of a two-headed attack along with former UGA transfer and current Cleveland Brown Isaiah Crowell, but Cyrus should be the feature back in 2014. ASU is pegged to win the SWAC and a strong running attack could help the squad take home the conference crown at season’s end.
Establish a Passing Game
Against Edward Waters, German completed just six of his 20 attempts for a completion percentage of 30. TSU’s 71 passing yards last Saturday rank the squad 92nd, nationally, after a weekend in which many FCS teams went on the road to play FBS teams. Last season, German completed 60 percent of his passes and averaged 167 yards per game. The rain definitely played a factor last Saturday, so German should be sharper with better weather against Alabama State.
The Tigers will meet the Hornets for the first time since 2000 on Saturday as TSU will look to improve to 11-1 against ASU when the teams kickoff on Sept. 6 at 4 p.m.