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Tigers Look to End Regular Season on Winning Note
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Tigers Look to End Regular Season on Winning Note
Tennessee State University will close out the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 19 as they host Jacksonville State University on Senior Day. Game time on Fan Appreciation Day is set for 2 p.m. at LP Field.

The Tigers (5-5, 4-3 Ohio Valley Conference) have won four out of their last five games including a 35-30 comeback win against UT Martin last weekend. TSU is in a position to grab a share of the OVC title.

Tennessee State and Jacksonville State are meeting for the eighth time on Saturday. JSU holds a 5-2 series advantage over the Tigers, including a 24-0 decision in 2010. TSU last defeated the Gamecocks in 2006 by a score of 38-31.

The Tigers, who finished winless in the OVC last season, has a chance to claim a share of the conference title with a win over Jacksonville State. The Tigers would need help from other conference members to create a tie at the top. In a couple tiebreaking scenarios the Big Blue have an opportunity to secure the conference automatic bid and play in the FCS.

Quarterback Michael German was named OVC Newcomer of the Week for the fourth time this season for his play against UT Martin last week. The Pompano Beach, Fla., native completed 64 percent (16-of-25) of his passes for 263 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. Saturday marked the third time that German had reached 250-plus yards passing this season, becoming the first freshman quarterback at TSU to accomplish that feat.

The selection tied him with JSU running back Washaun Ealey for the most wins in the category in 2011. The two have claimed the honor eight of the 13 times it has been handed out. Today's game could possibly produce the front runner for conference Newcomer of the Year.

The win last week also assured the Tigers their first winning record in the OVC since 2008. TSU totaled 516 yards, reaching 500+ yards of offense for the third time this season. The offensive attack was balanced, totaling 263 passing yards and 253 rushing yards.

For the second consecutive week, tailback Trabis Ward set a career-high in rushing. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native carried the pigskin 26 times for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Ward also had two receptions for 20 yards.

Wide receiver Travis James caught four passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns, setting a new career high. Junior Devin Wilson brought in three catches for 72 yards.

Daniel Fitzpatrick led the Tigers in tackles for the fourth consecutive week. He tied a team-best nine tackles and a half tackle-for-loss. Senior linebacker Rico Council also had nine tackles and picked up 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Council is now just 5.5 TFLs away from reaching third all-time at TSU.

Through 33 career games, senior tailback Dante' Thomas has accumulated 1,773 rushing yards. Thomas is just 20 yards away from moving into number four all-time at TSU in rushing.

The receiving trio of Devin Wilson, Calvin McNairl and James has amassed 1,725 and 14 touchdowns on the season. Wilson, junior, has caught 44 passes for 550 yards and two touch­downs. McNairl, senior, follows with 37 receptions for 669 yards and a team-best seven touchdowns. Meanwhile, James, junior, has 25 recep­tions for 506 yards and five touchdowns.

TSU currently ranks 22nd nationally in total of­fense, averaging 422.7 yards per game. The Tigers' rushing attack is 26th in the nation with 188 yards per game, while the passing game is 36th (234.7 yds p/g). Once in the red-zone the Tigers have scored 92% percent of the time (35-of-38 attempts), which is tied for fourth in the NCAA.

Jacksonville State (6-4, 5-2 OVC) broke a three-game losing streak with a come from behind 22-21 win over Southeast Missouri State last week. The Gamecocks are second in the OVC in rushing offense averaging 222.9 yards per game.

Junior Washaun Ealey ranks second in the OVC averaging 111 yards per game on 163 attempts for 999 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games. Senior running back Calvin Middleton has eight touchdowns on the season with 152 carries for 681 yards, an average of 65.3 ypg.

Sophomore quarterback Coty Blanchard has rushed 95 times in ten games for 389 yards and has thrown for 1,499 yards and ten touchdowns, while completing 121 passes in 194 attempts and has thrown five interceptions.

Sophomore linebacker Rashad Smith leads the defense with 74 tackles, including 53 solo and 3.5 for loss, and one interception.

For tickets to Saturday's game, call the TSU Ticket office at 615-963-5841.