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Tigers Get Career-high Performances, but Lose - 43-38
Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tigers Drop Season Finale, 43-38, to UT-Martin

Despite career-high performances by Javarris Williams and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, miscues by the Tennessee State University Tigers cost them a heart-breaking 43-38 decision to Tennessee Martin at home in Nashville.

Junior RB Javarris Williams rushed for a career-high 162 yds on just nine carries with 4 touchdowns. He also had two receptions for 41 yards for 203 All-purpose yards. Williams scored on TD runs of 48, 4, 16 and 73 yards. Senior CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returned five kickoffs for 151 yards, including a 92 yd TD to open the second half.

UT Martin got on the board first, scoring a TD on a 46 yard interception return at 8:05 of the first quarter. TSU responded late in the quarter(1:37) with Javarris Williams’ 48 yard scamper to close the score to 7-6. The TSU PAT kick hit the right upright and the Tigers trailed by one.

In the second quarter, the Skyhawks manufactured a 9-play 59 yd drive for a 14-6 lead at 12:36. The Tigers responded with a 73 yard, 7-play drive that took just 1:58 and drew the score to 14-12 at 10:31. The Tigers’ two-point PAT failed. Late in the quarter, UTM’s Don Chapman scored on a 1 yard run to move the Skyhawks to a 12-12 (1:53) And TSU’s Eric Benson was good on a 33 yard FG at the end of the half (0:01) for a 21-15 game going into intermission.

The second half opened with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie gathering the kickoff at the 8-yard line and weaving his way to the end zone for a 92 yard TD return (14:39) to put TSU ahead 22-21. Midway through the quarter (9:52) the Tigers increased their lead to 29-21 after Williams’ third TD of the game, culminating a 3-play 55 yard drive. The Skyhawks closed the score to 29-28 after a 14-play drive (3:48). On the ensuing kickoff, Rodger-Cromartie fumbled on 5-yard line and UTM promptly converted the miscue into a score at 2:54 to take a 36-29 lead. The quarter ended with that score.

The final saw Javarris Williams tie the score at 36-36 with an electrifying 73 yard TD run at the 9:42 mark. On the next possession, UTM drove 62 yards in eleven plays for the go-ahead TD, 43-36, at the 4:31 mark, The Tigers took over with 4:24 on the clock and the ball for 1st and goal on the UTM six yard line. With 2:18 left on and 2nd and goal from the 2 yard line, the Tigers’ fumbled the ball over the UTM. The Skyhawks were unable to gain a first down and opted to take a safety with 1:06 remaining. The score stood at 43-38 when the Tigers took their last possession. The Tigers were sacked for 9 yards on first down and a third down pass for 16 yards left them needing 8 yards on fourth down. The Tigers’ pass on fourth down was incomplete and UTM took over on downs with 0:42 reaming. Two kneel-down later the game was over.

Tennessee State finishes their season with a 5-6 overall record and 4-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Tigers are co-champions of the OVC’s Sgt. Alvin York Challenge, finishing tied with Austin Peay with a 2-1 record among Tennessee’s OVC football schools. TSU will hold the cup this year, since they beat Austin Peay in head-to-head competition.