Tigers Dominate in 45-24 Win Over Eastern Illinois
Saturday, November 8, 2008

 Williams Breaks All-Time Career Rushing Touchdown Record in Win


Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University Tigers (8-2, 5-1) tallied 471 yards of total offense defeating conference opponent Eastern Illinois (4-6, 2-4) on Senior Day, 45-24.

With the win, the Tigers finish undefeated at home. The last time TSU went undefeated on home turf  was during the 1999 OVC Championship season.

The Tigers scored 24 unanswered first half-points including two touchdowns in the first quarter. Seniors Antonio Heffner, Brandon Belvin, Javarris Williams and Eric Benson gave the Tigers all the scoring they would need.

Williams became TSU’s all-time career rushing touchdown leader surpassing Charles Anthony with 42. Williams finished with 93 yards on the ground (6.6 avg.) with two receptions for 63 yards. Williams also caught a touchdown pass, giving him a total of two scores on the day and 16 on the season.

Williams goes over the 1, 000-yard rushing mark for the third straight year with 1, 037 yards on the season.

Heffner connected with Belvin twice in the first quarter. Belvin caught a 52-yard TD pass capping a six play 80-yard drive (8:56).

On the ensuing EIU drive, Roger Morris sacked quarterback Brodie Reeder forcing and then recovering the fumble, putting the Tigers deep in Panther territory. Belvin hauled in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Heffner capping a four-play 29-yard drive with 6:00 left in the first.

Heffner completed 7-of-14 for 162 yards, throwing a season-high four touchdown passes while rushing for another from three yards out, ending a 12-play 89-yard drive with 11:39 left in the second. Heffner rushed for 61yards on 10 carries (6.1 avg.) and Belvin finished with four receptions for 85 yards and three touchdowns.

The Tiger defense held the Panthers to 4-of-14 passing in the first half. As a result, EIU did not convert a first down until 5:50 in the second quarter.  Collectively, the Tigers finished with two sacks, six tackles for losses, seven break-ups and four quarterback hurries.

Eugene Clifford led the defense with eight tackles (three solo). Rico Council and Larry Wiliford added six tackles apiece each with two solo. Both players combined for four pass break-ups. 

Eric Benson added a 22-yard field goal and EIU answered with a 32-yard field goal late in the second. The Tigers went in at the half leading, 24-3.

In the second half, TSU answered a Panther opening drive score when Heffner hooked up with Williams on a 51-yard touchdown screen pass finishing a five play 60-yard drive with 9:56 in the third.

Early in the fourth, Williams broke the TD rushing record on an 11-yard scamper ending a Tiger seven play 71-yard assault adding to the Tiger lead, 38-10.

TSU answered another EIU score when Belvin caught his third touchdown pass of the evening ending an eight play 69-yard drive with 4:40 left in the game. The Panthers scored again with less than a minute, but it was not enough as the Tigers held on for the 45-24 win.

The Tigers hit the road for the two remaining games of the season, making a stop next week  (11/15) in Jacksonville, Ala. to face the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State. Kick-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.