CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Tennessee State football team trailed by three scores in the first half and could not mount a comeback, falling at Southeast Missouri 28-21.
Mike German started the game at quarterback for TSU (4-2, 1-1 OVC) and finished the day 34-of-59 for 362 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Nine of German’s passes were caught by Chris Sanders-McCollum who, in addition to setting a new career-high in receptions, set a new personal-best with 104 yards.
Telvin Hooks was TSU’s first option at running back and the redshirt junior gained 87 yards on the ground on 17 carries.
A week after notching 12 tackles for loss against Florida A&M, TSU had just four against SEMO and gave up a season-high in points.
The Redhawk offense started quickly as SEMO (4-2, 2-0 OVC) narrowly missed a touchdown on the team’s opening play when Kyle Snyder’s deep pass was dropped. Southeast was still able to go up, 3-0, when Ryan McCrum connected on a 55-yard field goal.
Snyder was able to find the end zone on SEMO’s next drive, running it in from five yards out and through the first six minutes of the game, the Tigers trailed, 10-0.
After just three yards on its first two series, the TSU offense found some production with a 42-yard rush by Telvin Hooks on the team’s third possession. However, the Tigers stalled in the red zone, and Lane Clark’s 25-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
Clark got a second chance early in the second quarter as TSU drove 75 yards down the field in 15 plays. Clark was unable to make this 25 yarder as his boot was wide right, keeping the score 10-0 with 12 minutes to go before halftime.
Snyder took advantage of TSU’s second miscue in the kicking game, and the redshirt senior architected an 80-yard drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown from Lewis Washington. The score put SEMO up, 17-0, the largest deficit TSU had faced this season.
The Tigers got one more chance before halftime, and converted a third-and-nine via a 20-yard screen to Hooks to put the ball at the SEMO five-yard line. The Tigers fumbled twice from that point, recovered both and Stephen Hopkins capped off the series with a two-yard fullback dive on fourth down. Hopkins’s score put TSU behind 17-7 heading into halftime.
The Tigers outgained the Redhawks during the first 30 minutes, 222 to 206 yards, but TSU mistakes (two missed field goals and 40 penalty yards) led to the SEMO advantage.
The TSU defense forced a three-and-out to start the second half and the offense responded by converting four first downs, making it down to the SEMO 17-yard line. Again, the Tigers stalled in the red zone and for the third straight time, Clark missed a field goal.
The Tigers forced another punt and the offense was finally able to find the end zone with a 10-yard pass from German to Chris Sanders-McCollum. German completed 6-of-7 passes on the drive for 72 yards and cut the SEMO lead to 17-14 with three minutes to go in the third quarter.
SEMO added a field goal early in the fourth and then took up six minutes en route to a touchdown, making the score 28-14 after a successful two-point conversion. The Redhawks rushed 18 times on their two scoring drives to help kill the clock.
TSU took over and marched 73 yards down the field in 11 plays and German found Weldon Garlington with a two-yard strike to make it a one score ball-game, 28-21.
With just 2:11 left in the game, the Tigers tried an onside kick, but Redhawks came up with ball. The good starting field position allowed SEMO to flip the field and the Tigers started their final drive at their own six-yard line with 1:46 to play.
A fourth-and-two call went to Tevin Spells with a running back sweep and the sophomore gained 30 yards. Three plays later, German’s pass was picked off, ending the Tigers’ rally.
Tennessee State will come home next week to square off against Jacksonville State at Hale Stadium. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN3 with kickoff scheduled for 2 p.m.
NOTES: SEMO’s three points to begin the game were the first surrendered by the TSU defense on an opening drive this season… SEMO’s 10 points in the first were the most by any TSU opponent this season… Tiger kickers are now 4-of-12 on field goal attempts and two have been blocked… Hook’s 42-yard rush in the first was the second-longest by any TSU back… Leon Holderhead matched his career-long with a 61-yard punt in the second quarter… Hopkins’s two-yard scamper before halftime was the first of his career… The last time TSU missed three field goals in a game was Nov. 15, 2008 against Jacksonville State… German’s scoring toss to Sanders-McCollum snapped a streak of 12 quarters without a passing touchdown… McCollum’s score was his first of the season… Garlington now leads the team with two receiving touchdowns… TSU did not force a turnover, the first time without one in nine contests… German is now third in career passing yards with 6,653 and second in attempts with 897