Atlanta, GA - In two games this season the Tennessee State University Tigers captured last minute scores to pull out victories. At the Atlanta Football Classic, TSU missed a 27-yard FG with 0:04 left in the game to drop an 18-17 decision to the Rattlers of Florida A&M. This was the sixth straight loss to the Tigers' arch-rival from the MEAC.
TSU gained 488 yds in Total Offense (179 rush, 309 pass) while limiting FAMU to 247 yds
of Total Offense (142 rush, 178 pass). Junior QB Antonio Heffner, named TSU's MVP of the
game, passed for 309 yds (12-22) with 1 TD and rushed for 67 yds (1 TD) to gain 376 yds of Total Offense on the day. Heffner completed passes to seven different receivers including a pair of 55 yd passes to Chris Johnson and Troy Smith. Johnson caught 3 passes for 77 yds and Smith caught 1 pass for a TD. Running back Javarris Williams rushed for 87 yds in 19 attempts and caught 3 passes for 54 yds for 141 All Purpose yds.
Senior Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played both sides of the ball, catching 1 pass for 38 yds, rushing once for 9 yds and returning 4 kicks for 111 yds with a long of 40. On defense, Cromartie was credited with 4 tackles (2 solo). Top TSU defenders in the game were DB Larry Williford, credited with 8 tackles (5 solo), 1 TFL and LB Nashon Bigham with 8 tackles (3 solo). Three Tigers had one sack, Kellen Woodard (11), Shaun Richardson (8) and Maurice Davis (4). Woodard and Richardson were credited with QB Hurries. Ramond Willis had an interception and 1 QB Hurry.
The Tigers started the game quickly, with a 3 play 77 yd drive covering 0:34, scoring on a 55 yd TD pass from Heffner to Troy Smith with 12:05 remaining in the first quarter. FAMU scored late in the quarter (4:35) on a 33 yd FG after a 14-play 56 yd drive. Tennessee State closed out the quarter with a 10-play 72 yd drive, with Heffner scoring on a 1-yd TD with 0:38 in the period for a 14-3 lead.
The Rattlers gained the only points in second quarter on a safety, when an errant snap from center skimmed into the end zone and TSU quarterback Heffner kicked the ball through the back of the end zone. At the half the score stood 14-5 for TSU.
FAMU scored on an 83 yd punt return by Qier Hall at the 6:29 mark to close the score to 14-11. The Rattlers moved ahead 18-14 at the 2:59 mark after a short 4-play 37 yd drive.
The Tigers got back on the scoreboard with 12:15 remaining in the final quarter with a 19 yd Eric Benson FG after a 12-play 44 yd drive to close within one point 18-17. With time running out in the game (0:55), TSU mounted a drive beginning at their own 5-yd line. Heffner completed crucial throws to Ronald Evans (25 yds) and Chris Johnson (55 yds) to move the football to the FAMU 5-yd line. With 0:09 remaining the Tigers lined up for an Eric Benson 23 yd FG, but a false start moved the ball back five yds and Benson's 27 yd attempt missed wide left. FAMU ran out the last 0:04 remaining in the game for the win.
Tennessee State will have a week off before resuming OVC play at Tennessee Tech on Thursday, October 11th.
Game Box Score