NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mike German threw for a career-high 364 yards and scored two touchdowns, but Tennessee State dropped its second-consecutive game to Jacksonville State, 27-20, on Saturday.
German completed 32-of-50 passes but also had four interceptions as a part of TSU’s six turnover day.
Weldon Garlington was TSU’s leading receiver, setting new career-highs in catches with 11 and yards (179). The senior also hauled in a touchdown in the third quarter.
Daniel Fitzpatrick returned to the field after missing the last two games and finished with 10 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Senior linebackers Mike West, making his first career start, and Nick Thrasher led TSU (4-3, 1-2 OVC) with 12 tackles apiece.
The Tennessee State offense produced its most successful opening series of the year, totaling 46 yards on 11 plays. The drive also ended with a 46-yard field goal by Lane Clark, TSU’s first points to start a game this season.
The Tigers were driving again on their next possession, but German fumbled while winding up for a deep throw, and JSU (5-1, 3-0 OVC) recovered.
The Gamecocks wasted little time taking advantage of the turnover and two plays later Eli Jenkins found Bo Brummel wide-open in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown. The ensuing PAT was blocked by Samquan Evans, but the Gamecocks still led, 6-3, with 10 minutes gone in the first.
German threw an interception later in the opening period and Jenkins hit Josh Barge with a 43-yard strike on JSU’s first play. The Gamecocks got all the way down to the four before TSU’s defense stood tall and forced a turnover on downs, preserving the 6-3 score.
TSU was unable to keep JSU out of the end zone on the Gamecocks’ next series as DaMarcus James punched it in from two-yards out, putting his team up, 13-3, with nine minutes to go in the second quarter.
Both teams had a pair of takeaways before halftime and the sides went into the locker room with the visitors ahead by 10.
Jacksonville State went up, 20-3, early in the third quarter after a 10-play, 60 yard drive. The Gamecocks only attempted one pass on the series and James scored his second touchdown of the game at the 9:32 mark from seven yards out.
The TSU offense responded with a 20-yard field by Clark following three failed conversions from the JSU one-yard line. A 36-yard pass from German to Garlington set up the kick that cut the lead to 14.
A 21-yard pass and a roughing the passer penalty on TSU led to a 19-yard rushing touchdown by Troymaine Pope that made the score, 27-6, with 3:32 left to go in the third quarter.
The Tigers finally scored their first touchdown a minute later when German found Garlington wide-open from 15 yards out. German then snuck into the end zone with the last play of the third, and suddenly the Tigers trailed by just seven, 27-20.
Daniel Fitzpatrick caused and recovered a fumble on JSU’s next drive, but the Tigers couldn’t turn the takeaway into points as Clark missed a 46-yard field goal.
The Tigers had one more chance to tie the game, but Jermaine Hough picked off German in the end zone for the fourth time.
TSU ran the ball 33 times in the game for 43 yards (1.3 y/c), while JSU rushed 48 times for 215 yards (4.5 y/g).
Tennessee State will stay home to host UT Martin on Oct. 18 in Hale Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.
NOTES: TSU had a season-high three first downs on their opening possession... Clark’s 46-yard boot in the first set a new career-high…Weldon Garlington hauled in a 37-yard pass in the second quarter, and it was TSU’s longest pass-and-catch since Sept. 13 against Jackson State... TSU’s four first half turnovers were the most for the team this season since the opening game against Edward waters… De’Ante Saunders picked off his fourth pass of the year in the second quarter… Daniel Fitzpatrick recorded his first interception of the season to end the first half, moving him into a tie for fifth in career interceptions with 10… Weldon Garlington (11), Dantwuan O’Neal (5) and Andrew Bather (6) set new career-highs in receptions… TSU’s six turnovers in the game were the most this season…