NASHVILLE --- Defense was the story on Saturday as the Tennessee State football team held its second scrimmage of the spring semester at Hale Stadium.
“I was really glad to see the defense respond to the adversity that they faced last week because it was a one-sided deal last week,” TSU Head Coach Rod Reed said. “The defense came out today and did a really good job.”
TSU’s defense earned stops on seven of the first eight drives on the day. Taking every snap on the day, quarterback Michael Hughes threw a touchdown pass on the third drive before back-to-back touchdowns on the final two possessions.
The offense was forced to punt when the opening drive stalled, and the defense came up with a fumble on the second drive. Fortunes changed on the third possession as the offense got on the scoreboard. Sabree Curtis, Jr. picked up a big third down conversion setting up a 13-yard TD pass from Hughes to DeVon Johnson.
The defense got back on track with stops on the next three possessions. Sidney Hammond and Reggie Gunn picked up quarterback hurries during the stretch with Michael Perry and Justin Culpepper adding tackles for losses.
On the next drive, after initially bobbling the handoff, running back Seth Rowland rushed for 52 yards for one of the biggest gains of the day. Later in the drive, a Terrence Summers third-down sack forced another punt.
Hughes delivered a strike to Patrick Smith in the left side of the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown on the next drive. After another big play from Seth Rowland, this time a 60-yard rush, Aaron Cauthen capped the scrimmage with a 12-yard touchdown catch over the middle.
TSU’s spring game is scheduled for Saturday, April 8, at 3 p.m. at Hale Stadium.
TSU Head Coach Rod Reed
“We need him to continue to progress. Treon (Harris) was out today with a little illness. Hopefully he’ll be back full strength next week. Mike (Hughes) needs these reps. He’s our guy right now, so we need to make sure that he continues to get better and continues to improve. He still lacks on some things, but you see improvement. He threw the ball well at times today and was able to get the ball into the receivers’ hands, so you have to be excited about that.”
- On the play of quarterback Michael Hughes
“Seth (Rowland) is a local kid. He’s doing a good job. We gave him an opportunity, and that’s what happens. When guys get opportunities, they have to be able to show up. We were twos against threes, but it doesn’t matter to me. If they put them out there, they have to be able to stop them. He did it against the twos, so he did a really good job running the ball. He made some good cuts and he’s tough to bring down. He’s got a very low center of gravity, and he’s tough to tackle. He did a good job today. I’m proud of him.”
- On the play of running back Seth Rowland
“Offensively, we have to pick it up. We had some pre-snap penalties that hurt us. We got down in the red zone a couple times and got backed up and had to kick some field goals. Defensively on that last drive, the offense scored. We had them in a third and long situation and we jumped offsides and gave them another opportunity. We need to make sure we clean up those things and be a disciplined football team. I think once we put it all together, we’re going to have a pretty good product on the field.”
- Thoughts on the scrimmage