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September 30, 20171st2nd3rd4th1OT 2OT Final
Eastern Illinois73003619
Tennessee State07033316
1st Quarter
EIUTD12:25GILKEY 9 Yd Run (WILSON kick)
2nd Quarter
TSUTD02:17HARRISON 1 Yd Run (CLARK kick)
4th Quarter
Stats at a GlanceEIUTSU
1st Downs1414
3rd Down Conversions5-203-14
4th Down Conversions1-21-2
Passing (Comp-Att)46 (11-26) 195 (17-30)
Rushing (Att)191 (52) 83 (37)
Total Yards237278
Fumbles Lost03
TSU Falls 19-16 in Double Overtime to Eastern Illinois in the John Merritt Classic
Saturday, September 30, 2017
TSU Falls 19-16 in Double Overtime to Eastern Illinois in the John Merritt Classic


Game 5:
 Eastern Illinois 16 - #24 Tennessee State 16 (2OT)
Records: TSU (3-2, 0-2 OVC), EIU (3-2, 2-0 OVC)
Venue: Nissan Stadium
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Attendance: 11,013
Weather: Partly Sunny, 78

NASHVILLE --- The No. 24 Tennessee State football team dropped a heartbreaker to Eastern Illinois by a 19-16 final score in double overtime on Saturday night at Nissan Stadium in the John Merritt Classic. The Tigers trailed 10-0 in the second quarter and fought back to force overtime.

TSU (3-2, 0-2 OVC) had a 16-13 lead in the second overtime before EIU (3-2, 2-0 OVC) scored the game winner on a Scotty Gilkey 1 yard run.

The visiting Panthers got on the board first with a 9-yard touchdown run from Gilkey 2:35 into the game for a 7-0 lead. TSU’s deficit grew to 10-0 on Nick Wilson’s 32-yard field goal with 9:30 left before halftime.

TSU responded with a one-yard run up the middle for a touchdown from Earl Harrison with 2:17 to go in the second quarter to trim EIU’s lead down to 10-7.

Lane Clark’s 51-yard field goal with 3:18 left in the fourth quarter pulled TSU even at 10-10. The game remained deadlocked at 10-10 to force overtime.

In the first overtime, EIU hit a 42-yard field goal before Clark answered with a 36-yarder to force a second overtime.

Clark again was good from 40 yards in the second OT for a 16-13 lead. Gilkey capped the game for EIU with a one yard touchdown run. 

On the defensive side of the ball, Justin North came up with his first career interception in the third quarter. Terrence Summers and Chris Collins finished with 10 tackles apiece for TSU.


  • The Tigers outgained EIU, 278-237
  • The Panthers rushed for 191 yards against the Tigers
  • The Big Blue defense allowed 46 yards through the air
  • TSU committed a season high four turnovers


  • Lane Clark’s 51 yard field goal is tied for the fifth longest in FCS play this season
  • The distance is tied for sixth best in TSU history; matching Jamin Godfrey at EIU in 2011
  • Justin North recorded his first interception of his career
  • Patrick Smith passes Tyrone Butterfield (1997-98) in career receiving yards in TSU history; Smith now has 2,241 (Butterfield - 2,182)
  • Chris Collins moved past Elliott Pilton (1990-91) and Lee Smith (1987-90) in career tackles at TSU
  • Collins has amassed 216 stops, while Pilton finished with 210 and Smith at 206
  • Treon Harris completed 12-of-17 passes for 119 yards; he rushed for 67 yards on 11 carries
  • DeVon Johnson led the Tigers with five receptions, which resulted in 57 yards
  • Collins and Terrence Summers each recorded 10 stops
  • Blair Edwards notched seven solo tackles, ahead of Summers (6) and Collins (5)


  • The Tigers fumbled on the first possession of the game
  • It was the fifth fumble lost of 2017
  • The Tigers lost five fumbles during the 2016 season
  • EIU took a 7-0 advantage four plays later on a nine yard touchdown run
  • The Panthers outgained the Tigers 50-46


  • The teams traded possessions until EIU added a 32 yard field goal with 9:30 remaining in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead
  • The Tigers responded with a 12 play, 79 yard drive
  • Earl Harrison capped off the series with a one yard run for his first touchdown of the season
  • Treon Harris completed his first five passes of the drive for 68 yards
  • Harris opened with a five yard pass to Steven Newbold before hitting Chris Rowland for 21 yards
  • The junior quarterback completed his next two passes to DeVon Johnson for seven and 15 yards, respectively
  • Harris’ final pass was to Patrick Smith for 20 yards to the EIU 33
  • Michael Hughes entered the game, spelling Harris who departed after a face mask infraction on EIU
  • Hughes hit Smith on his first play, taking the Tigers to the two yard line
  • After a defensive stop, the Tigers had a chance to even the score; the drive was halted on an interception at the EIU 21 with six seconds on the clock
  • TSU entered the half outgaining the Panthers, 179-97


  • The Panthers entered the Tigers territory on two drives, but the Tigers held on both occasions
  • Justin North intercepted a Scotty Gilkey pass at the Tigers 18 with 4:39 on the clock
  • EIU outgained the Tigers 82-18 in the third
  • TSU ran nine plays in the period


  • Michael Hughes entered at quarterback with 6:03 remaining in the game and engineered a game tying drive
  • On the second play of the series, Hughes completed a 28 yard pass to Smith, entering EIU territory
  • From the EIU 46, Hughes found Mazio Rhodes for a 12 yard pass
  • The Tigers added two more yards over the next three plays, setting up a Lane Clark field goal attempt
  • Clark split the uprights from 51 yards out to even the score 10-10 with 3:18 on the clock
  • The Tiger defense stood tall, as two TSU fumbles in the final two minutes gave the Panthers an opportunity to win in regulation


  • TSU did not allow a yard of offense by EIU
  • Matt Severino put the Panthers up 13-10 with a 42 yard field goal
  • Clark evened the score at 13-13 with a 36 yarder
  • The Tigers would get a first down, but could not get any closer


  • Clark was good from 40 yards, giving TSU a 16-13 advantage
  • EIU took advantage of a pass interference call on a fourth down play to continue its drive
  • Panthers quarterback, Scotty Gilkey, leaped over the line and broke the plane of the goal line for the victory, 19-16

The Tigers hit the road once again as they venture to Richmond, Ky. for an OVC matchup with Eastern Kentucky. TSU will square off versus the Colonels at 6:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. CT.


  • Tennessee State is ranked 24th in the STATS Top 25 and the FCS Coaches Top 25.
  • EIU won the coin toss and elected to defer the opening kickoff.
  • Captains for TSU are Lane Clark, Ebo Ogundeko, Chris Collins and Patrick Smith.
  • Weather at the time of kickoff was 73 degrees and sunny.
  • Saturday marked the first home game of the season for TSU after four games on the road to start the season.
  • Today was one of two games at Nissan Stadium for the Tigers on the season.
  • Official attendance for the John Merritt Classic was 11,013.
  • TSU’s last overtime game was on Nov. 7, 2015 versus Murray State.
  • TSU’s record in the all-time series is now 8-14.
  • TSU is 21-13 in home games under Head Coach Rod Reed.