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Game 10: Tennessee State (6-3, 3-2) vs. Tennessee Tech (3-6, 3-3)
Date: Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Venue: William J. Hale Stadium
Kickoff: 3:00 p.m. CT
Audio: 102.1 FM The Light
The Series: This marks the 30th meeting with Tennessee State holding an 18-11 advantage. The teams first met in 1984, with TSU earning a 33-3 win. The Tigers would grab victory for the first six games of the series, only to see the Golden Eagles reel off five straight wins from 1992-96. TSU would break the streak with three consecutive wins, but Tennessee Tech responded with three wins of their own. The Big Blue has grabbed nine of the last 12 contests; bur dropped a 30-24 heartbreaker in the 2015 season finale ending a four game streak.
Last Meeting: TTU amassed 134 yards in the first seven minutes of the game. The Big Blue settled in and held Tech to 131 yards the remainder of the game. Tennessee State went on to outgain the Golden Eagles, 344-265. Running back Erick Evans totaled 168 yards and scored two touchdowns. Both of Evans scores came on the ground as he rushed for 111 yards on 28 carries and added 57 yards on six receptions. TTU jumped out to a 14-0 lead before the Tigers could get on the board with a 15 play, 67 yard drive that ate up 7:14. Erick Evans found an opening around the right end and dashed 22 yard to cut the lead to 14-6. The Golden Eagles earned two-points after blocking the extra point and returning the ball to the end zone extending the lead to 16-6. The Tigers were able to convert on Evans second scoring run of the half. TSU would pull within two of the Golden Eagles as O'Shay Ackerman-Carter found Joe Bowens in the back of the end zone for the two-point conversion. The Big Blue opened the second half forcing a three-and-out and followed it up with a nine play, 84-yard drive. Ackerman-Carter was 4-for-5 on the drive for 58-yards and found Patrick Smith for a nine yard scoring pass making the score 23-21. After the Golden Eagles increased their lead to 30-21, the Tigers received an 18-yard field goal by Clark to get within one score at 30-24.
Head Coach: Rod Reed is in his seventh season at the helm of the Tigers. During his time at TSU, he has compiled a 42-37 record, including a 34-22 mark since 2012. Reed is 21-29 in Ohio Valley Conference play and is 4-2 versus Tennessee Tech, 2-1 in Nashville.
Tennessee State: The Tigers are coming off a stunning 41-40 come from behind win at Austin Peay. Freshman Steven Newbold caught his second touchdown of the game with 1.7 seconds left and Lane Clark kicked the extra point to give TSU a 41-40 road win over APSU. A six-play, 81-yard touchdown drive led by senior quarterback Ronald Butler turned out to be the difference for TSU. On the final offensive play for the Tigers, Butler eluded the pass rush, stepped up in the pocket and delivered a 21-yard strike to Newbold in the corner of the endzone. Butler earned OVC Player of the Week honors as he turned in another strong performance with four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns to go with 342 yards of total offense. Newbold opened and closed the scoring for Tennessee State. The true freshman put the Tigers on the scoreboard in the first quarter when he found himself open at the 10 and eluded three defenders on his way to the end zone on a 20 yard scoring play. Newbold came into the game ranked third in the country averaging 20.93 yards per reception. The Carol City, Fla. product caught three passes of over 20 yards. Newbold finished the night with four receptions for 72 yards (18.0 ypc) and the two touchdowns. The Tigers secured a winning season last week, the third under head coach Rod Reed and the fourth non-losing season in his seven year stint. Patrick Smith caught his 11th touchdown of the season and 21st of his two-year career. The score moves him into a tie for fifth on the TSU Single Season list and into sixth on the Career list for receiving touchdowns. Smith’s 11 touchdowns rank sixth in the nation for all FCS receivers.
Scouting Tennessee Tech: TTU enters at 3-6, 3-3 in the OVC, under first year head coach Marcus Satterfield. The Golden Eagles dropped a 55-0 contest to Tennessee at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville. TTU is led by quarterback Michael Birdsong who has thrown for 2,131 yards. The senior has completed 184 passes in 299 attempts and has tossed 12 touchdowns opposed to seven interceptions. On the ground, Yeedee Thaenrat has rushed for 425 yards on 125 carries, scoring four times. Dontez Byrd is a triple threat as a receiver and returner. Byrd leads all TTU receivers in catches (51), yardage (623) and touchdowns (4). Byrd has returned 24 kicks for 624 yards averaging 26.0 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, Josh Poplar has tallied 89 tackles, 35 solo, and has 3.4 for loss along with two forced fumbles. Elliott Normand, Kevin Robinson-White and Joe Robertson have collected 4.5 tackles for loss. Normand is second on the team in tackles, along with Deontay Wilson, with 70 tackles.
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 2:30 p.m. CT.