NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State saw its nine-game winning streak on homecoming come to a close as the Tigers dropped a 27-3 decision to visiting Eastern Illinois Saturday night in the Coliseum.
TSU falls to 2-7 with the defeat and 1-4 in the OVC. EIU is 7-2 overall and keeps its OVC unbeaten mark at 6-0.
The Tigers struck first late in the first quarter on a 36-yard field goal by Eric Benson, but the visiting Panthers behind the three touchdown rushing performance on Vincent Webb would score 27 unanswered points on the way to taking the victory.
The Tigers were tied with the Panthers 3-3 until Webb scored the first of his touchdown runs from two yards out with 25 seconds left in the first period. A TSU turnover on its first possession of the second half led to a two-play six yards drive with Webb scoring from four yards out. EIU tacked on 10 points in the fourth quarter on a second 40-yard field goal by Zach Yates and a 7-yard run by Webb with less than three minutes left.
The Tigers came out of the gates fast and were having success moving the ball. Sophomore Jerald Cook, making the star at quarterback, was injured late in first half and was examined and later released at a local hospital.
"It is frustrating that we have had some many injuries this season," said TSU first-year head coach James Webster. "We lost two quarterbacks tonight and that really hurt our game plan.
Cook's backup for the game, Andre' Davis injured hand after a fake punt attempt. Richard Hartman, the starter much of the season after the injury to Bryson Rosser, was 14-21-0 for 139 yards, but was sacked four times.
TSU had 239 yards total offense to EIU's 290. Freshman Javarris Williams led TSU with 57 yards rushing on 18 carries. Gerald Morrow finished with six catches for 76 yards.
TSU linebacker Wesley Holmes, returning to the lineup from a back injury, had nine solo tackles to lead the Tigers defense. Earnest Jones had seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and a quarterback sack.
Webb finished the game with 91 yards on 29 carries. Quarterback Mike Donato was 13-22-0 for 147 yards.