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Tigers back in the Circle City Classic to collide with North Carolina A&T
Thursday, September 30, 2010


Nashville, Tenn. - The Tigers' will play their final HBCU Classic of the season when Tennessee State University Football travels to Indianapolis, Ind. to play North Carolina A&T in the Circle City Classic.

The match-up is scheduled for Saturday, October 2, inside Lucas Oil Stadium, with game time scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.


Radio: Big Blue Sports Network (WVOL 1470 AM - Nashville, Tenn. / WOJG 94.7 FM - Jackson, Tenn. / WMRB 910 AM - Columbia, Tenn.)

Sirius XM Satellite Radio: Heritage Sports Radio Network (HSRN)

*Links will be available on game day


The Tigers (2-2) of Tennessee State University and the Aggies (0-4) of North Carolina A&T will meet for the 25th time in the programs' history. TSU leads the series 17-6-1 but have loss the last four meetings against NCA&T after defeating them 31-15 in 1985.

The last time the Tigers met the Aggies was in 2005 at the Circle City Classic losing 16-3. TSU responded to 16 straight points by the Aggies with a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter by Eric Benson.


TSU holds a 1-5 record in the Circle City Classic making their first appearance on October 5, 1985 with a 28-13 defeat to Mississippi Valley State. The Tigers have met Howard (1-0), Jackson State (0-1), Central State (0-1), South Carolina State (0-1) along with NCA&T (0-2) in the Classic.


The Tigers hold a 65-37-1 record against schools currently in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and will face their second team from the conference when they meet the Aggies. TSU defeated one of MEAC's top teams with a 29-18 win over Florida A&M last week in the Atlanta Football Classic.

In addition to North Carolina A&T (17-6-1), they have played Bethune-Cookman (5-1), Hampton (2-0), Howard (1-0), Morgan State (4-0), Norfolk State (1-0), Florida A&M (25-25-1), North Carolina Central (7-2), and South Carolina State (5-3).


TSU snapped a two-game skid on the season and ended an eight-game losing streak to long-time rivals Florida A&M in the Atlanta Football Classic with a 29-18 win. 

It was the first time since 2001 the Tigers captured a win against the Rattlers in the AFC with fans, alumni, and students on hand at the end of the game to soak in the victory at the Georgia Dome.

TSU racked up a season-high, 413 yards, 304 on the ground, averaging 6.7 per play. On defense, TSU posted 11 sacks and held FAMU to 24 rushing yards.



In the highly recognized Sheridan Broadcasting Network Black College Football Poll, TSU moved back into the top ten after their win over FAMU and is ranked number nine. The Tigers fell out of the rankings after their loss to Austin Peay State when they were ranked 5th among HBCUs. TSU was not ranked at the beginning of the season.

In the Heritage Radio Sports Network, TSU leaped from number nine to the third spot as a result of last week's win while breaking into the HBCU FCS Coaches Top 10 Football Poll at number nine.


TSU leads the OVC in total defense (303.0) rushing defense (97.0), kick-returns (23.7) and sacks (17).


The Aggies have started the season 0-4 suffering loses to Winston-Salem State (21-14), Norfolk State (23-14), Hampton (35-21) and including a defeat to North Carolina Central (27-16) in their last time out. NCA&T has loss by an average of 10.2 ppg while averaging 16.2 points on offense giving up 26.5 points to their opponents on the year. On defense the Aggies lead the MEAC with 11 sacks.


Preston Brown leads TSU's attack after notching his second 200-plus yard performance on the year. He busted through FAMU's defense for a career-high and Classic record of 233 yards on 28 carries and was named the game's MVP.

He currently leads the Ohio Valley Conference and ranks second in the nation (FCS) averaging 153.8 yards per game (5.8 yards per carry). His six touchdowns also rank first in the conference.

For week four of the season, Brown was named OVC Tri-Offensive Player of the Week as well as garnering national recognition; earning honorable mention on the CFPA D-I FCS Performer of the Week list. He was also named College Sporting News All-Star of the Week and's National Player of the Week.

The success of the ground game spotlights the offensive line. The rotation of Gershom Jordan, Alex Davis, Sherman Carter, Kadeem Edwards, Anthony Woods, Justin Ridgeway and Roger Gaines have paved the way for 797 rushing yards on the season; second best in the OVC.

All-OVC defenders, Eugene Clifford and Rico Council, lead the defense and are the Tigers' top tacklers combining for 55 stops thus far.

Clifford leads the OVC in passes defended, averaging two per game, while tallying two interceptions. Council was named the OVC's Defensive Player of the Week after keying the Tigers' defense last week (11 sacks) with seven tackles and a league leading three sacks.

For the Tigers' special teams, Rayshawn Weatherspoon holds the league's top spot in kick-off return yardage with 28.2 yards per return. He was named OVC Special Teams Player at the end of week one.

Freshmen Jamin Godfrey and newcomer Julian Mallory have sparked other facets of the special teams with stellar performances last week. Godfrey connected 3-of-4 field goals including a career long of 37 yards and Mallory posted a team record of five punt returns recording 111 yards for a 20.2 average.

The Aggies are headed by MEAC Preseason selections: defensive backs Quary Long and Justin Ferrell (1st Team), along with running back Mike Mayhew (2nd Team), defensive lineman Micah Standfield (2nd Team) and punter Alex Grubb (2nd team).

Mayhew is coming off a career best, 183 yards, in the loss to NCCU and is averaging 96.8 yards per game (4.7 yards per carry) while scoring a team best 18 points thus far. 

Other notable Aggies include: Alonzo Lee and Jeremy Graham. After week three, Lee was named MEAC Special Teams Player of the Week and CFPA D-I FCS Returner of the Week for his 85-yard return against Hampton. It was his second kick-return of the year. Graham is the only Aggie to rank atop of the conference in a statistical category recovering a league high, two fumbles.