NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On Saturday, the Tennessee State football team will travel to Austin Peay, looking to break the squad’s five-game losing streak.
The Tigers come into Saturday’s contest with a 4-6 overall and a 1-5 OVC record, having just lost to Eastern Kentucky at home, 56-42. TSU’s 42 points were the second-most for the team and quarterback Mike German tossed four touchdowns – three of which went to Isaiah Freeman.
Austin Peay has won just once this season and sit at 1-4 in league play. The squad’s victory over Murray State in its last home game on Oct. 18 snapped the nation’s longest losing streak at 18 games. The Governors have lost their last two contests by a combined score of 93-7.
Three Keys to the Game
Stick With It
Three weeks ago, the Tigers shuffled the offensive line, sticking players at four of the five new positions. Among those were Shaq Anthony who moved to left tackle and Kevin Kenton who became the team’s center. The change-up has worked wonders, and the unit has not given up a quarterback sack in 207 straight plays a span of two-and-a-half games. The last sack surrendered was in the second quarter against UT Martin. The Tigers have found a good starting five, and need to stick with it moving forward.
Come Out of the Locker Room Strong
Even at 4-6, Tennessee State has outscored its opponents, 253-214, this season. The disparity occurs despite the fact that the team has given up 84 points in the third quarter, while only scoring a total of 54. TSU has only 10 points in the last three games during the period immediately following halftime. Whether it is rust or lack of focus, the Tigers need to buck the trend this Saturday to finish off Austin Peay and not let the Governors keep it close.
Play the Gaps
The TSU run defense has struggled to stop opposing running games the past few weeks and has allowed an average of 295 yards on the ground during the last two losses. What is more alarming is the way that opponents have gained those yards – through the middle. EIU’s Jalen Whitlow and Shepard Little each had long runs through A and B gaps on Oct. 25 and EKU’s Dy’Shawn Mobley and Jared McClain produced some more last week. TSU is good enough not to need more defenders in the box, but the defense needs to have better gap integrity and come off more blocks on Saturday.
TSU is 10-6 all-time against APSU and have won two straight in rivalry by a combined, 62-20. Rod Reed is also 2-2 against the Governors.
Kickoff for Saturday’s contest is scheduled for 4 p.m. and it will be Austin Peay’s annual homecoming game.