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September 22, 20181st2nd3rd4thFinal
Tennessee State013131541
Eastern Illinois1777940
1st Quarter
EIUTD02:50BRANTLEY 2 Yd Run (BRUNO kick)
2nd Quarter
TSUFG13:36ZITA 37 Yd
EIUTD11:55GOOCH 71 Yd Pass From BRANTLEY (BRUNO kick)
TSUFG06:13ZITA 36 Yd
TSUTD00:19ROWLAND 18 Yd Pass From HARRIS (ZITA kick)
3rd Quarter
EIUTD10:46JOHNSON 32 Yd Run (BRUNO kick)
TSUTD08:01HARRIS 30 Yd Pass From CROFT (ZITA kick)
4th Quarter
TSUFG08:46ZITA 37 Yd
Stats at a GlanceTSUEIU
1st Downs3120
3rd Down Conversions7-155-14
4th Down Conversions0-00-0
Passing (Comp-Att)349 (28-42) 393 (30-49)
Rushing (Att)195 (46) 73 (20)
Total Yards544466
Fumbles Lost21
Tigers to Resume Play at Eastern Illinois
Thursday, September 20, 2018
Tigers to Resume Play at Eastern Illinois

Tennessee State Game Notes | Eastern Illinois Game Notes
2018 Tennessee State Media Guide | Live Stats

Social Media: #BigBlueRising

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Game 4: Tennessee State (1-0) at Eastern Illinois (0-3)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018
Location: Charleston, Ill.
Stadium: O'Brien Field (10,000)
Time: 2:00 p.m. CT
Audio: 102.1 FM
Live Stats: Sidearm

Series Information: This marks the 23rd meeting between the two teams. EIU leads the series, 14-8, including winning 11 of the last 14 contests. TSU won the first three games of the series, starting with a 20-19 decision in 1982. The Panthers first gained a win over the Tigers in 2000, 33-19. TSU last defeated EIU in 2011 with an 18-17 victory in Charleston. The win for the Big Blue is the lone victory for Rod Reed against the Panthers during his tenure as head coach.

Last Meeting: The No. 24 Tigers dropped a heartbreaker to EIU, 19-16, in double overtime in the John Merritt Classic. The Big Blue trailed 10-0 in the second quarter and fought back to force overtime. TSU led 16-13 in the second overtime, EIU scored the game winner on a Scotty Gilkey 1 yard run. The Panthers scored first with a 9-yard touchdown run from Gilkey 2:35 into the game. Nick Wilson’s 32-yard field goal midway through the second quarter extended the lead to 10-0. TSU responded with a one-yard touchdown run by Earl Harrison late in the first half. Lane Clark evened the score at 10-10 with a 51-yard field goal late in the contest 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 before Gilkey’s leap. Justin North recorded his first career interception, while Terrence Summers and Chris Collins finished with 10 tackles apiece.

Head Coach Rod Reed is in his ninth season at the helm of the Tigers and holds a 50-42 record. Coach Reed earned his 50th victory against Bethune-Cookman and became just the third coach in Tiger history to reach the milestone. John Merritt tops the list with 174 victories in his 20 years (1963-83) for a .806 winning percentage (174-35-7), while Harry Kean spent 10 years in charge of TSU from 1944-54 and compiled a 93-15-3 record (.838). The Big Blue is 8-1 in season openers under Reed, including a 17-10 win at FBS opponent Georgia State in 2017. The lone opening day loss came at the hands of Bethune-Cookman, 12-9, at the 2013 John Merritt Classic. The Tigers are 7-2 under Reed in the John Merritt Classic with the only other loss coming last year, a 19-16 double overtime decision to Eastern Illinois. Reed dropped his first two encounters against Jackson State, but has rebounded with six straight wins.

Tennessee State: The Tigers have been dealt two cancellations since the opening weekend. Tennessee State won on opening day for the fifth consecutive year, defeating Bethune-Cookman, 34-3. TSU held B-CU to nine first downs, not allowing a third down conversion until the fourth quarter. Blair Edwards and Dajour Nesbeth led the Tigers with seven tackles. Edwards was named Defensive MVP, recording one of the Tigers five sacks and 1.5 of the 9.0 tackles for loss. Nesbeth closed out the game with a 39-yard pick-six. The Big Blue tallied 525 yards, with Chris Rowland accounting for 226 all purpose yards. Rowland earned Offensive MVP honors setting career highs in receptions (7) and receiving yards (154). Micheal Hughes threw for 170 yards and a touchdown, completing 11-of-18 passes. Demry Croft finished 8-of-14 for 154 yards.

Eastern Illinois: EIU totaled 501 yards of offense during a 55-41 loss to Indiana State. Johnathan Brantley completed 37-of-49 passes for 443 yards and four touchdowns. Brantley ranks fifth nationally in passes completed at 71.9 percent. Alexander Hollins caught 10 passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns against ISU. Hollins ranks first nationally with six receiving touchdowns, third with 8.7 receptions per game and 14th with 122.7 receiving yards per game. Aaron Gooch also hauled in 10 catches in the game, finishing with 110 yards receiving. Defensively, Joe Caputo leads the team with 24 tackles, just ahead of Mark Williams with 21. Williams tops the squad with 17 solo stops.

Last 10 Results:
2017 - Eastern Illinois 19, Tennessee State 16 2ot
2016 - Eastern Illinois 35, Tennessee State 34
2015 - Eastern Illinois 25, Tennessee State 22 ot
2014 - Eastern Illinois 28, Tennessee State 3
2013 - Eastern Illinois 51, Tennessee State 10 *
            Eastern Illinois 34, Tennessee State 16
2011 - Tennessee State 18, Eastern Illinois 17
2010 - Eastern Illinois 31, Tennessee State 28 ot
2009 - Tennessee State 21, Eastern Illinois 10
2008 - Tennessee State 45, Eastern Illinois 24
* - NCAA Second Round Game

TV: ESPN+. Mike Bradd will serve as play-by-play along with Jack Ashmore who will provide analysis.

Radio: 102.1 FM will carry the game live with Greg Pogue (play-by-play), Albert Dawson (analyst) and Gary Dawson (sideline). Pregame will begin at 1:30 p.m.

(on his team not playing last two weeks)
“We’ve been off a couple of weeks. It’s been really frustrating, but it gives you an opportunity to heal up for what we had injured. It’s been frustrating not being able to play, but I think the guys have handled it really well. We had some really good practices. We were able to kind of go back into camp mode. You start preparing for a team last week and then Wednesday the game is cancelled, so it gives you an opportunity to refocus on some things and clean up some things.”

(on recent matchups with Eastern Illinois)
“It’s been tough. We’ve lost a couple of them in overtime. Obviously Kim (Dameron) has a well-coached team. They’ve been really physical on defense. Offensively, I thought it was kind of a stalemate on both sides. I thought both defenses played really well, but they’re explosive on offense.”

(on scouting Eastern Illinois)
“They are who they are for the most part. They’re going to spread the ball around. They’re a little different than they were last year, but they’ve got some capable running backs. They’ve got two really good running backs. They give you a lot of personnel grouping that they can do a lot with. Anytime you’ve got an option team, you’ve got to be able to cover all three phases.”

(on last week’s game versus Indiana State)

“I’m disappointed in the loss. I thought going into the game we’d be able to win here at home with our home opener and all that. Offensively, we are much improved. Johnathan Brantley had a big day. Alexander Hollins had a big day. Aaron Gooch had a really good day. We didn’t run the ball for many yards, but sometimes when people decide they’re not going to let you run it, then you just throw it. That’s what we did. I can’t remember the last time we scored 40 points here. We’re really improved offensively. Defensively, kind of the same song. Poor execution, poor physicality, a lot of missed tackles. We just looked like we were kind of walking around out there. It’s got to get fixed.”

(on facing TSU)
“We’ve got a heck of a team coming in here – Tennessee State. I know they haven’t played in a couple of weeks due to weather and things like that, but they’re a very talented football team. They always are. Our games with them always go down to the wire it seems. It just seems that when our two teams get together, it’s back and forth and it goes down to the wire. I don’t expect anything different this year.”

(on improving the defense)
“We look at personnel more than anything. Obviously, I can’t go out and sign Khalil Mack. That’s not going to happen. We’re not going to go get new people or anything like that, so we have to do it with the people that we have. What we have to do is become better tacklers, number one. We’ve got to get better fundamentally, because it doesn’t what scheme you line up in. If you’re not going to take on blocks, get off blocks and tackle people when you have the chance to tackle them it doesn’t matter.”