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October 29, 20161st2nd3rd4thFinal
Tennessee State31701131
Murray St.14314738
1st Quarter
2nd Quarter
TSUTD12:31SMITH 20 Yd Pass From BUTLER (CLARK kick)
TSUTD06:11CURTIS 16 Yd Pass From BUTLER (CLARK kick)
3rd Quarter
4th Quarter
TSUTD07:23SMITH 13 Yd Pass From BUTLER
Stats at a GlanceTSUMUR
1st Downs3221
3rd Down Conversions4-137-14
4th Down Conversions1-20-0
Passing (Comp-Att)329 (27-42) 398 (27-35)
Rushing (Att)226 (39) 59 (28)
Total Yards555457
Fumbles Lost00
#25 TSU Drops Road Test at Murray State
Saturday, October 29, 2016
#25 TSU Drops Road Test at Murray State
Photo By Sam Jordan - TSU Athletics

MURRAY, Ky. --- Despite 555 yards of total offense, the No. 25 Tennessee State football team could not hold off Murray State’s second half surge in a 38-31 road defeat on Saturday at Roy Stewart Stadium in an Ohio Valley Conference matchup.

For Tennessee State (5-3, 2-2 OVC), Ronald Butler set career highs for passing yards (329) and rushing yards (109) in defeat. The Tigers held a 20-17 halftime lead over Murray State (3-5, 3-2 OVC), but the Racers outscored TSU by a 21-11 margin in the second half to pick up the win.

Laquarius Cook tallied 11 total tackles to pace the defense. Patrick Smith picked up two more receiving touchdowns to bring his season total to 10.

The Tigers opened the game with their longest drive to start a game. TSU drove 64 yards in 14 plays, setting up a 31-yard field goal by Lane Clark to take a 3-0 lead. The running game was on showcase early as Erick Evans rushed for 11 and nine yards on back-to-back plays to move the Tigers into Racers territory. Sabree Curtis took over with runs of 15 and five yards putting TSU just outside the red zone to allow Clark to give the Tigers the advantage.

After trading three-and-outs, Murray State jump started its on offense as they used a pair of KD Humphries touchdown passes to take a 14-3 after one quarter of play.

The Tigers responded with a score to open the second stanza. Smith picked up his first touchdown of the day on a 20-yard pass from Butler to bring the Big Blue back within four at 14-10.

After Murray State extended the lead to 17-10, the TSU offense would take over to outscore the Racers 10-0 for the remainder of the quarter. Butler and Curtis supplied the ground game with runs of 12 and 14 yards, respectively, while Mahlon Medley and Steven Newbold pulled down receptions of 12 and 10 yards. The first drive was capped off as Butler found Curtis in the clear, allowing the freshman running back a free path, 16 yards, to the goal line.

The Tigers closed out the half with the second of his three field goals, this one coming from 25 yards out as time expired.

The Racers came out fast in the second half scoring on their first two possessions to take a 31-20 lead. MSU held that lead until Clark connected on a 20-yard kick to cut the lead to 31-23 with 9:09 remaining in the game.

Murray State needed just 13 seconds to get back on the scoreboard as Humphries hit Jordan Gandy for a 75-yard pass play. Gandy found himself uncovered down the left sideline and outran the TSU defense to the end zone.

The Tigers punched back on their next series, as Butler hit Newbold and Mazio Rhodes to enter Racer territory. Three plays later, Butler found Smith in the middle of the field, at the goal line to bring the Tigers to within nine. TSU added the two-point conversion, this time with Smith throwing to Butler.

After a defensive stand, the Big Blue would get one more chance as they began their final drive needing to drive 78 yards with 5:21 remaining in regulation. Butler used his legs to gain 21 yards out to the TSU 43. After Butler scampered for another first down, he went to the air teaming with Smith, Chris Rowland and Newbold on consecutive plays to move down to the MSU 16. That would be as close as the Tigers would get after losing yardage on the Racers second sack of the game.

Facing a fourth and 19, the Tigers attempted to chip into the MSU lead, but Clark’s 42 yard field goal attempt missed wide left.

The Tigers will look to snap a two-game losing streak as they travel to Clarksville, Tenn. to face Austin Peay.

GAME NOTES: TSU’s captains versus Murray State are Collins, Clark, Burton, Butler … TSU won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff… Patrick Smith caught two touchdowns on the night. He now has 20 career touchdowns in 18 career games. His 20 receiving touchdowns are tied for sixth on TSU’s all-time list. … TSU scored first for the fifth time this season… Tennessee State entered the game ranked 25th in the STATS Top 25 and the HERO Sports Top 25… Murray State’s lead in the all-time series is now 15-13… TSU has gone 7-10 in games in Murray, Ky… Lane Clark made three field goals to bring his career total to 28, tying him for second on TSU’s all-time list with Eric Benson. Jamin Godfrey holds the record with 59… Ronald Butler moved to 10th on TSU’s career completions list with 339 for his four-year career… Butler also jumped to a tie for eighth place on TSU’s career passing touchdowns.

TSU Quarterback Ronald Butler
“The offense played well. We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times with a couple pre-snap penalties and things like that. I feel like we did a good job driving the ball down the field and put ourselves in position to score some points. We just need to capitalize on every drive.”
- On the play of the offense

“We fought. Week in and week out, we’ve got a group of guys who fight really hard. My O-Line, I’m proud of those guys. They fight every play, every drive. They give it their all.”
- On positives from the game


TSU Tight End Mahlon Medley
“We started fast, but just like the last two games after the second half, we have to finish strong. The defense has been getting stops and we need to capitalize on the opportunities.”
- On how the offense played

“We’ve proven that we can do it in the first half of the season. We played great second halves during the first half of the season. I think it’s just a thing where we need to focus.”
- On the second half performance


TSU Defensive End Latrelle Lee
“We didn’t play up to our standards tonight. We let them score 38 points. That’s not acceptable for this defense. I feel like we’ve got a lot of talent on this defense and we didn’t play up to our abilities.”
- On the play of the defense

“That wasn’t really a factor tonight. I think it was more their big plays that hurt us. Big chunk plays and stuff like that. I don’t think tempo was a factor.”
- On Murray State’s up-tempo offense


TSU Defensive Back Terrell Bonds
“We didn’t play to the level that we wanted to play. We gave up too many points. We gave up points fast, but the offense kept us in the game because they kept scoring. We had a chance to win it at the end and we just didn’t come through. I would put this game on the defense.”
- On the defense

“Their offense has always been like that. They were snapping the ball like every 15 seconds. We had trouble getting lined up and they exploited the defense. They made big plays and that’s on us. We have to come back next week stronger.”
- On Murray’s State’s up-tempo offense