NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State rallied from an early deficit to take the lead, but Eastern Kentucky responded quickly with a big play to regain control of the momentum on the way to handing the Tigers a 45-20 defeat Thursday night at the Coliseum.
The Tigers fell behind 13-0 early in the second period but bounced back with a pair of scores. Wide receiver Ande Durojaye fired a perfect strike to C.J. Johnson as the Tigers came up with a gadget play for their first score. The Tigers later marched 80 yards in 13 plays. Charles Anthony scored on a 2-yard run and Joey Hudak's point after gave TSU the lead 14-13 with 3:18 remaining in the first half.
However, the lead was short-lived. The Colonels came back with a 71-yard pass play from Travis Turner to Andre Ralston on their first play from scrimmage after the kickoff. Turner kept for the two-point conversion and EKU was back on top just 25 second after the Tigers had gained the lead.
EKU built upon the play to score 32 unanswered points and maintain control of the game. The Tigers scored on the game's final play as running back Sugar Sanders, one of eight TSU seniors, broke loose for a 38-yard run. There was no conversion attempt.
The Tigers end their season at 2-10 and 1-5 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Eastern Kentucky, playing its last game under 39-year head coach Roy Kidd, finishes at 8-4 and 4-2.
Johnson went over the 1,000-yard mark in receiving for the season with two catches totaling 65 yards. He finished with 1,034 yards for his junior season. Sophomore running back Charles Anthony concluded his second collegiate season with 882 yards.