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Game 5: #25 Tennessee State (4-0) vs #19 Eastern Illinois (3-2)
Date: Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016
Location: Charleston, Ill.
Venue: O'Brien Field
Kickoff: 6:00 p.m. CT
Audio: 102.1 FM The Light
The Game: This marks the 20th meeting between the two teams. EIU leads the series, 11-8, including winning eight of the last 11 contests. TSU won the first three games in the series, starting with a 20-19 decision in 1982. The Panthers first gained a win over the Tigers in 2000, 33-19. TSU last defeated EIU in 2011 with an 18-17 victory in Charleston. The win for the Big Blue is the lone win for Rod Reed during his tenure as head coach.
Last Meeting: Nick Bruno connected on a 26-yard field goal in overtime giving Eastern Illinois a 25-23 overtime victory at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee State had an opportunity to answer the Panthers score, but Justin Wickliffe intercepted a Ronald Butler a pass at the two yard line to end the game. For the Tigers, Lane Clark kicked three field goals (31, 41, and 50) including a season long from 50 yards out. Butler passed for 125 yards and rushed for 104 yards while scoring two touchdowns (one rushing, on passing). Devin Church led Eastern Illinois with 125 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Chris Collins led the TSU defense with eight tackles, seven solo. David Kamara added seven stops, while forcing a fumble and blocking a kick.
Head Coach: Rod Reed is in his seventh season at the helm of the Tigers. During his time at TSU, he has compiled a 40-34 record, including a 32-19 mark since 2012. Reed is 1-5 versus Eastern Illinois.
Tennessee State: Tennessee State is ranked for the first time since October 2014. The Tigers are 25th in the HERO Sports Top 25 and is just outside in two other polls, 27th in the STATS Top 25 and 29th in the FCS Coaches Poll. The Big Blue is 4-0 for the first time since 2012, when they opened 7-0 before finishing 9-3. TSU has scored 30-plus points in four consecutive games to open the season for the first time since 2008. The Tigers erased a 16-0 deficit as they came back to defeat UT Martin 34-30 last week. Despite giving up 30 points, the defense ranks third nationally allowing 268.5 yards per game. TSU caused five turnovers on Saturday and rank eighth in all of FCS in turnover margin at 1.5 per game. Ebo Ogundeko leads the defense with 30 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 4.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries. Kicker Lane Clark was named National Specialist of the Week by STATS and the Boxtorow National Player of the Week after hitting a 54 and 57-yard field goal in the contest. The 57-yarder is the longest in TSU history and the longest in any NCAA classification this season. Ronald Butler completed 17-of-24 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 32 yards. Patrick Smith caught six passes for 57 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner with 18 seconds on the clock. Smith leads the team with 20 receptions, while freshman Steven Newbold has gone for 337 yards through the air (22.5/reception).
Eastern Illinois: Southeast Missouri snapped EIUs three-game winning streak with a 21-14 victory. The Panthers dropped to No. 19 in the STATS and HERO Sports; 20th in the FCS Coaches Poll. EIU was held to 316 yards of total offense versus SEMO. Quarterback Austin Green completed 19-of-33 passes for 188 yards while also rushing for 18 yards. Devin Church led the way with 131 all-purpose yards, 86 on the ground and 45 on four catches. Church has rushed for 381 yards this season on 76 attempts, while leading the Panthers in receiving with 16 receptions for 110 yards. The running back has entered the end zone on four occasions (two rushing, two receiving). Seth McDonald leads the defense with 43 tackles, 23 solo, 2.5 for-loss and 1.0 sacks.
Radio: 102.1 FM The Light will carry the game live with Greg Pogue (play-by-play), Albert Dawson (analyst) and Gary Dawson (sideline). Pregame will begin at 5:30 p.m. CT.