NASHVILLE --- After a stretch of four consecutive road games, including a trio of "classic" contests, the Tennessee State football team welcomes an open date this weekend. The Tigers will begin the bulk of their Ohio Valley Conference schedule at defending conference champion Jacksonville State next Saturday (Oct. 16).
After opening the season with a 42-7 win over Alabama A&M in the John Merritt Classic, the Tigers have hit the road for trips to Martin, Tenn., Memphis, Atlanta, and Indianapolis. The Tigers carry will carry a 3-2 record into the Jacksonville State, after coming off tough defeats to Florida A&M and South Carolina State.
"The open date comes at a good time and right at the mid-way point of the season," said TSU head coach James Reese. "Hopefully, we can have some of injured players get healthy during the week off and regroup as we prepare for a strong Jacksonville State club."
Reese said the Tigers have worked on fundamentals, special teams personnel, and working on a game plan for a Jacksonville State team which is the unbeaten team in the OVC and has taken an early major step in repeating as OVC champions. JSU, picked second in the league, has already notched a road victory at preseason OVC favorite Eastern Kentucky and will play at Tennessee-Martin prior to the visit by the Tigers.
Senior Riley Walker is expected to get the start at quarterback for the first time this season. Junior Bryson Rosser made the first five starts of the season.
The Tigers hope to return players, including starting linebacker James Dumervil and offensive lineman Roshaun Rowser who were unable to play in last week's Circle City Classic.
The TSU defense had to be on the field for 89 plays in last week's game as the offensive unit had two first downs until TSU's final drive of the day. Safety Justin Williams had a pair of interceptions for the Tiger defense and now has five for the season.
TSU will begin game week for the Jacksonville State game with a Sunday afternoon practice. The Tigers will be making their first-ever trip to Jacksonville State, located in northeast Alabama.
The game will have a start time of 6 p.m., moved from the original starting time of 4 p.m. and will be telecast on CSS.