NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State Tiger football team will have a challenging opportunity as they face the defending Ohio Valley Conference champion and currently the team ranked sixth nationally among all Division I-AA teams. Kickoff for TSU’s game with Eastern Illinois will be 2:30 p.m. Saturday from the Coliseum.
The contest will be a rematch of last season’s thriller that Eastern Illinois won 52-49, kicking a field goal on the game final play. The victory put EIU in the driver’s seat on its way to the OVC championship.
TSU began the home stretch of the season on a positive note last week, defeating a determined Tennessee-Martin team 26-8. The Tigers used a 78-yard punt return by Carlos Wright to break open a 6-0 lead in the third period.
Quarterback Riley Walker came off the bench to direct two offensive scoring drives and will get the start against the Panthers. Walker completed 5-of-6 passes and will be making his third start of the season.
TSU used a strong ground attack in its victory. Sophomore Charles Anthony rushed for more than 140 yards and scored a TD. Senior transfer Sugar Sanders rushed for 90 yards and also tallied a TD in the victory.
The Tiger defense will be facing a stern test against the Panthers. Quarterback Tony Rom is one of the nation’s top signal callers. The Panthers have a lot of offensive weapons in an offense that averages 33 points a contest. Romo already has thrown 22 TD passes this season.
The Tigers had a defensive outing, which kept UTM out of the end zone until less than two minutes to play. Linebacker Jermaine Beale has 70 total tackles while cornerback Deon Giddens had 47 unassisted tackles among 61 total tackles. Giddens also has three forced fumbles.
The Tigers lead the series 3-2. EIU will be making its first trip to Nashville since the 1999 season, the Tigers first OVC game ever played in the Coliseum.
Fox Sport South will televise the game, marking the Tigers' fourth appearance on television this fall.