NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State recorded its eighth straight homecoming victory and the Tigers moved into a first place tie for the Ohio Valley Conference lead with a 24-14 victory over Eastern Illinois Saturday night before more than 25,000 fans in the Coliseum.
The Tigers overcame a 14-9 halftime deficit and 150 yards in penalties to notch the victory. TSU moves to 6-3 overall and 4-1 in the OVC. EIU, an NCAA playoff participant the past two years, falls to 3-6 and 2-3.
"We had some situations that we had to overcome and the kids show a lot of character and fight," said TSU head coach James Reese. "The penalties certainly kept the game in doubt. We are still looking to put it together."
Junior running back Charles Anthony became the single season rushing leader. Anthony rushed for 125 yards on 30 carries and now has 1,170 yards on the season, breaking Darron Davis' mark of 1,101 set in 1994. It also marked the eighth time in nine games Anthony has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in a game.
TSU had 407 yards of total offense compared to EIU's 273. TSU was penalized 15 times for 150 yards.
TSU took the early 9-0 lead on a 30-yard field goal by Joey Hudak and a 9-yard pass from Bryson Rosser to C.J. Johnson at the 14:45 mark of the second period.
EIU bounced back to take the 14-9 lead into halftime. Dwanzel Hopson caught a 5-yard pass from Andrew Harris. On the ensuing kickoff, TSU's Gerald Morrow's lateral attempt was picked up by B.J. Brown who carried the ball nine yards into the end zone to make the score 14-9 at the 9:02 mark.
The Tigers regained the lead on a 22-yard pass from Rosser to Carlos Wright. The Tigers added an insurance TD on a 10-yard run by Rosser with 2:24 remaining.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak against EIU. The Tigers now hold a 4-3 edge in the series.
TSU and Jacksonville State each have 4-1 records in the OVC. TSU plays at Southeast Missouri next weekend.