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September 23, 20171st2nd3rd4thFinal
Tennessee State097016
UT Martin1777031
1st Quarter
2nd Quarter
3rd Quarter
TSUTD09:10HARRIS 1 Yd Run (CLARK kick)
Stats at a GlanceTSUUTM
1st Downs1521
3rd Down Conversions6-135-13
4th Down Conversions0-10-1
Passing (Comp-Att)159 (13-26) 140 (20-32)
Rushing (Att)100 (35) 100 (35)
Total Yards259240
Fumbles Lost20
#20 TSU Tripped up at #24 UT Martin, 31-16
Saturday, September 23, 2017
#20 TSU Tripped up at #24 UT Martin, 31-16
Photo By Sam Jordan - TSU Athletics


Game 4:
 #24 UT Martin 31, #20 Tennessee State 16
Records: TSU (3-1, 0-1 OVC), UTM (3-1, 1-0 OVC)
Venue: Hardy M. Graham Stadium
Location: Martin, Tenn.
Attendance: 6,484
Weather: Mostly Sunny, 90

MARTIN, Tenn. --- The #20 Tennessee State football team battled to the end in a 31-16 road loss to #24 UT Martin at Graham Stadium on Saturday evening in the Ohio Valley Conference opener for both teams.

UT Martin (3-1, 1-0 OVC) sprinted out of the gate to take a 24-0 lead in the second quarter.  The Tigers (3-1, 0-1 OVC) responded with 16 unanswered points to trim the Skyhawks’ edge down to 24-16 with 9:10 left in the third.

UT Martin tacked on another touchdown with 3:02 left in the third for a 31-16 edge before both teams went scoreless in the fourth quarter.

TSU’s defense was led by Justin North’s 11 tackles, including five solos. Vincent Sellers and Chris Collins added eight tackles apiece for the Tigers.

TSU quarterback Treon Harris rushed for a third-quarter touchdown, while DeVon Johnson returned a kickoff 96 yards in the second quarter for a score.

The Skyhawks claimed the first game in the Sgt. York Trophy series.


  • Tennessee State outgained UT Martin, 259-240
  • After the Skyhawks totaled 130 yards in the first quarter, the Tigers held UTM to 110 yards over the final three periods
  • TSU became the first team to rush for 100 yards against UT Martin this season
  • This marks the third time this season the defense held a team to under 300 yards
  • Jackson State gained 303 yards at the Southern Heritage Classic


  • Seth Rowland led the Tigers in rushing with 66 yards on 12 carries (5.5 yards per rush)
  • Patrick Smith caught five passes for 63 yards
  • Smith moved past Tyrone Butterfield (1997-98, 131 receptions) into seventh in career receptions at TSU with 134
  • The senior moved into seventh in career receiving yards for the Big Blue with 2,181 yards, ahead of Chris Johnson (2004-08, 2,155 yards)
  • Steven Newbold went for 61 yards on three catches
  • Treon Harris completed 10-of-18 passes for 118 yards
  • Harris added 25 yards and a touchdown on the ground
  • DeVon Johnson crossed the goal line for the first time as a Tiger with a 96 yard kickoff return in the second quarter
  • Justin North collected 11 tackles, five solo, two for loss and forced a fumble
  • Chris Collins and Vincent Sellers added eight tackles a piece
  • Collins moves into a tie for 10th on the TSU career tackle list with 206
  • The senior linebacker matched Lee Smith who accomplished 206 stops from 1987-90


  • A pair of Tiger penalties helped UT Martin to an 11 play, 76 yard opening drive for a touchdown
  • A Treon Harris fumble led to a UTM 32-yard field goal to take a 10-0 lead
  • The Skyhawks added a touchdown with two seconds remaining in the quarter to take a 17-0 lead
  • UTM outgained TSU 130-18 in the opening period
  • The Skyhawks held the ball for 12:49


  • UTM extended its lead to 24-0 with a blocked punt for a touchdown with 9:49 remaining in the half
  • DeVon Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to put the Tigers on the board
  • The Tiger defense forced a three-and-out on the following possession
  • TSU added two-points on a safety as the UTM punter kicked the ball out of the end zone after a bad snap, to cut the lead to 24-9
  • The Tigers held UTM to four yards in the second quarter
  • The Skyhawks led in total yards, 134-61


  • The Tigers opened the second half with a one-yard rushing touchdown by Treon Harris
  • The drive covered 69 yards on 11 plays, taking 5:44 off the clock
  • Seth Rowland carried three times to open the drive for 39 yards, including a 29 yard rush to the UTM 30
  • The Tigers kept the drive alive as Harris hit Steven Newbold for 30 yards to the Skyhawks one on a 3rd and 23
  • Newbold made a diving catch off a deflected pass, which was reviewed and confirmed
  • UTM scored a touchdown two possessions later to regain the 15 point advantage
  • TSU outgained UTM 95-53 in the quarter


  • TSU's offense found its rhythm with seven first downs in the quarter but was never able to find the endzone in the fourt
  • The Tigers held on the Skyhawks first series of the final stanza
  • TSU took over on their own 27 and started the drive with a Harris to Newbold connection for 17 yards
  • The Tigers followed with seven consecutive rushes for 40 yards, moving to the UTM 16
  • Three plays later Harris left the game after being hit on an incomplete pass
  • Michael Hughes entered on 4th and six at the UTM 12
  • Hughes missed Newbold in the end zone to turn the ball over on downs
  • The Tigers would get the ball back on their own 12 with 1:15 remaining in the game
  • TSU moved 42 yards down the field before the clock ran out

The Tigers will play at home for the first time this season as they host Eastern Illinois in the John Merritt Classic. The contest is set for 6 p.m. at Nissan Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 30.


  • Tennessee State is ranked 20th in the STATS Top 25 and the FCS Coaches Top 25 this week
  • UT Martin is ranked 24th in the STATS Top 25 and receiving votes in the FCS Coaches Top 25
  • UT Martin won the coin toss and decided to receive the opening kickoff
  • Weather at the kickoff was 91 degrees and sunny
  • DeVon Johnson’s second quarter kickoff for a touchdown was TSU’s first kickoff return for a touchdown since Nov. 1, 2014 by Darion Hall versus Eastern Kentucky
  • TSU is now 16-11 in the all-time series versus UT Martin
  • In road games versus the Skyhawks, TSU is 5-9
  • The Tigers are 12-10 in Sgt. York Trophy Games under Head Coach Rod Reed

Junior Safety LaQuarius Cook

“I thought we played alright. We can always play better when there’s 31 points on the board. We’ve got to do better.”
- On the defense

“EIU, I haven’t really looked at them yet, but we’ll know by tomorrow.”
- On moving on to next week


Junior Defensive End Dell Porter

“It will be very nice to go home and play in front of our fan base there. It’s going to be exciting.”
- On playing at home next week

“During non-conference games, we’re trying to see what tools we have and what we can work with. In conference games, everyone’s just trying to play to the best of their abilities. Fourth and goal – that’s the mentality.”
- On opening Ohio Valley Conference play


Junior Wide Receiver DeVon Johnson

“We went over a lot of films on special teams this week. They gave me an opportunity and I just hit the hole.”
- On affecting the game on special teams

“It feels the same. I’ve been playing football for a long time, but I’m happy to be able to help the team today.”
- On scoring his first TSU touchdown


Sophomore Running Back Seth Rowland

“We didn’t really play our A Game today. The defense has been playing great for us, but we need to help the defense out by going out and having long drives. We have to hold the ball. We can’t just let the defense have to go back out there. We have to get our groove back on.”
- On the offense today

“Losing is the worst feeling in the world. I don’t take losing very well. It’s a terrible feeling. We’ve just got to regroup and come together. We need to pick ourselves up.”
- On moving on