100 Moments: Tigers Play the Classics
Friday, October 19, 2012
100 Moments: Tigers Play the Classics

The 100 Moments of TSU Athletics presented by Taco Bell® series continues by remembering a handful of moments in Tennessee State football history.

One of the staples of the TSU football program over the years has been playing in "Classic" games against other HBCUs. The Classics are like bowl games during the season that are usually played at a neutral site.

TSU is 63-44-3 all-time in the Classics, and even won 21 straight Classics from 1954-1982.

The Tigers' most played opponent all-time has been Jackson State. The two squads play every year in the Southern Heritage Classic, and TSU typically has gotten the better of JSU, posting a 14-10-1 record against their long-time foe. TSU's 14 wins include this year's 38-12 drubbing of JSU.

The Tigers' first appearance in a Classic was in 1946 when they traveled to Washington, D.C. to take on North Carolina College in the Capitol City Classic. TSU lost the game 6-14, but a new tradition was born. TSU played in the Capitol City Classic off and on until 1978.

In 1947, the Tigers added the Bluff City Classic in Memphis, Tenn. to their schedule and they immediately found success. TSU beat Arkansas A&M 26-0 in its first Bluff Classic and posted a 13-2-2 record all-time in Memphis.

TSU's second most played in Classic behind the Southern Heritage is the Atlanta Classic. The Tigers didn't find much success in Atlanta, but they did win their first game (14-0 over Morgan State) and their last appearance (29-18 against Florida A&M).

In 1999, TSU got a Classic of its own in the John Merritt Classic. The JMC honors the legendary Tiger coach and is played in LP Field. The Tigers are 10-4 all-time in the game and the JMC is only one of two Classics that are hosted by a single FCS institution. The Tigers extended their winning streak to three this season when they beat Florida A&M 17-14.

Overall, TSU has played in 21 different Classics in 19 locations across the country including Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

The 100 Moments of TSU Athletics presented by Taco Bell® highlights some of the greatest moments in honor of Tennessee State's centennial celebration. A new moment will be released each weekday for a total of 100. These moments were chosen by the TSU 100 Moments committee, which consists of alums from various departments. TSU has so many great moments, not all can be represented in these 100.

Sports Information Assistant Alex Mitchell contributed to this article.

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