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September 29, 20181st2nd3rd4thFinal
Tennessee State0137727
2nd Quarter
TSUTD14:47NEWBOLD 5 Yd Pass From CROFT (ZITA kick)
VANDYTD11:23Jared Pinkney 4 Yd Pass From Kyle Shurmur (Ryley Guay kick)
TSUTD06:32HARRIS 31 Yd Pass From CROFT (ZITA missed kick)
VANDYFG00:00Ryley Guay 20 Yd
3rd Quarter
VANDYTD11:10Kalija Lipscomb 38 Yd Pass From Kyle Shurmur (Ryley Guay kick)
VANDYTD09:06Ke'Shawn Vaughn 78 Yd Run (Ryley Guay kick)
TSUTD06:35CORBIN 2 Yd Run (ZITA kick)
4th Quarter
TSUTD08:02KNOX 1 Yd Pass From CROFT (ZITA kick)
VANDYTD06:20Kalija Lipscomb 68 Yd Pass From Kyle Shurmur (Ryley Guay kick)
Stats at a GlanceTSUVANDY
1st Downs2023
3rd Down Conversions7-146-12
4th Down Conversions1-20-1
Passing (Comp-Att)269 (22-31) 297 (22-30)
Rushing (Att)104 (35) 256 (34)
Total Yards373553
Fumbles Lost00
Tigers Return to Nashville, Travel to Vanderbilt
Thursday, September 27, 2018
Tigers Return to Nashville, Travel to Vanderbilt

Tennessee State Game Notes | Vanderbilt Game Notes
2018 Tennessee State Media Guide | Live Stats

Social Media: #BigBlueRising

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Game 5: Tennessee State (2-0) at Vanderbilt (2-2)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Stadium: Vanderbilt Stadium (40,350)
Time: 3:00 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Alternate
Audio: 102.1 FM
Live Stats: vucommodores

Series Information: This is the third meeting between Tennessee State and Vanderbilt.  Vanderbilt earned a 35-17 win in 2016. This will be the third FBS opponent for Tennessee State in three years. TSU defeated Georgia State, 17-10, in 2017. The Tigers are 3-3 in games with FBS opponents.

Last Meeting: Tennessee State jumped out to a 14-7 fi rst quarter lead, but was not able to keep the, falling 35-17 to Vanderbilt. Ronald Butler totaled 325 yards - 40 rushing, 285 passing - and two touchdowns. Khari Blasingame ran for 100 yards and scored three touchdowns for Vanderbilt. The SEC opponent outgained the Tigers 501-410. Patrick Smith caught two scoring passes; the fi rst came on the second play of the game as Smith caught a 93 yarder from Butler. With the score 7-7, Smith hauled in his second touchdown of the game on a two-yard reception. Smith finished with seven receptions for 170 yards, averaging 24.3 yards per catch. Lane Clark kicked a 37 yard field goal, putting TSU in front 17-14. The lead was the last for TSU as Vanderbilt took a 21-17 advantage with 1:46 remaining in the half. Defensively, Antonio Justice, Jr. tallied a team-high eight tackles, while fellow linebacker Chris Collins added seven solo tackles. David Kamara collected six tackles and earned a pair of pass breakups. Ebenezer (Ebo) Ogundeko had two tackles, including a sack and a quarterback hurry.

Head Coach Rod Reed is in his ninth season at the helm of the Tigers and holds a 51-42 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.

Tennessee State: The Tigers experienced no delays or cancellations for the first time in 2018 in their contest at Eastern Illinois. TSU trailed 24-3 midway through the second quarter before outscoring the Panthers 38-16. The Tigers first two scores came from the leg of Antonio Zita who finished 3-for-3 on the day. The turnaround began, when Mekhi Brown strip-sacked EIU's quarterback with 30 seconds remaining in the half. On the first play for TSU, Chris Rowland caught an 18-yard pass from Treon Harris cutting the score to 24-13. Demry Croft finished 14-of-20 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns to help guide the comeback. Croft teamed with Harris for a 30-yard touchdown and later with DeVon Johnson on a 49-yard scoring pass. The Tiger running game crossed the goal line twice, including the game-winner, a four yard run by Earl Harrison. The win was the first over EIU since 2011. For the second-straight game the Tigers had 500 or more yards of total offense, finishing with 544. Chris Rowland leads the team with 15 receptions and 236 yards. Rowland is averaging 21.2 yards per punt return, which tops the OVC and is second in FCS play. The Big Blue ranks sixth nationally in total offense with 534.5 yards per game and are 15th in scoring offense at 37.5 points per game. The defense ranks seventh nationally in rushing defense at 69.5 yards allowed per game. Dajour Nesbeth leads the team with 14 tackles, 11 solos, four breakups and five passes defended.

Vanderbilt: The Commodores is coming off a loss at South Carolina in their SEC opener. Ke’Shawn Vaughn tops Vanderbilt with four touchdowns and 214 yards rushing on 39 attempts. Kalija Lipscomb and Jared Pinkney lead the receiving corps. Lipscomb has hauled in a team high 34 receptions for 306 yards and has entered the end zone four times. Pinkney has a touchdown and is averaging 17.7 yards per catch (16-283). At quarterback, Kyle Shurmer is 77-for-130 on the season for 934 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Through four games, Jordan Griffin leads the defense with 31 tackles. Josh Smith has 29 stops and a team-best 5.0 tackles-for-loss.

Last 10 Results:
2016 - Vanderbilt 35, Tennessee State 17
2006 - Vanderbilt 38, Tennessee State 9

TV: ESPN Alternate. Mike Morgan will serve as play-by-play along with John Congemi who will provide analysis and Alex Corddry on the sidelines.

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 last week’s win over Eastern Illinois)
“We knew it was going to be a tough task going up to EIU. It’s been a tough place for us to play in the past. They’re a well-coached football team, and we saw how explosive they are on offense. We didn’t slow them down. We had a bad start. We played about as bad a first half as we could have, but credit to them, they capitalized on every mistake we made. We looked like we’d been off for 21 days, and we played like it in the first half. After not playing for so long, we really didn’t know where our football team was. It was a character game for our kids.”

(on having a big offensive line)
“We try to recruit guys that are long and athletic and try to put weight on them when they get here. It’s a recruiting philosophy. We target those kinds of guys. We’ve got four or five freshmen in here that fit that mold that are redshirting this year. I think we’ve done a good job of identifying talent along the front.”

(on wanting to establish the run)
“I think any defensive coach wants to run the football because you know how being able to run the ball is kind of demoralizing to a defense when they can’t stop it. Once you’re able to run the ball, you invite more people into the box and then it opens something outside for you. That’s a huge task that we have this week in front of us is having to stop the run of Vanderbilt. They have three really good running backs and a huge offensive line. It’s going to be a tall task for us.”

(on facing Vanderbilt)
“It’s a big game. Make no bones about it, but at the end of the day, it’s an opportunity for our kids to go play in an SEC environment and compete at a high level. We’ll let the chips fall where they may.”

(on facing TSU)

“TSU’s always going to be athletic. I congratulated Rod (Reed) on Sunday – sent him a text. Russ Ehrenfeld and I coached together at Bucknell, so I gave Russ a shout. He’s a good friend. I follow those guys and they follow us. We get a chance to play one another on Saturday. I know this, they’ve got athletes, they’re putting up points, they’re athletic as all get-out on both sides of the ball. It’s always a ballgame. We’re going to get their best ballgame, so we’ve got to play ours.”

(on his relationship with TSU Coach Rod Reed)
“When I first got here, I think a week in, Rod Reed came over to the office, grabbed me and we went over to the Bound’ry and had some food. Since then, we’ve just had a chance to get out to dinner, a concert every once in a while. I love Rod. I love what he is. I love what he preaches. He’s trying to do the right thing by his kids. We’re two men in a city trying to coach football teams and get young men from where they need to be. With that being said, we have similar issues. We talk about those from time-to-time. Whether you’re talking about disciplining, whether you’re talking about coaching your teams, whether you’re talking about leading your teams, we find ourselves in the same city working to do some of the same things. With that being said, I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for Rod Reed.”

(on scoring a touchdown for the second-consecutive game)
”I felt like I started off slow, and I just wanted to make sure I got off my blocks. I missed a few plays. We go the momentum in the second half, and that really helped. We had a hitch play called, but the corner jumped the hitch so I just stayed vertical and Demry (Croft) gave me a great ball. I just caught it and stayed up the sideline.”

(on how the win over EIU gives the team confidence heading forward)
“It actually gives me a lot of confidence, especially on special teams. I really should have scored on the kickoff return, but I ran out of room. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to play.”

(on facing Vanderbilt)
“Vanderbilt is the best team we’ll face all year. We can learn a lot from that game – from what we do well and what mistakes we make against them. Then we’ll come back and play some tough OVC teams.”

(on game winning touchdown at Eastern Illinois)
“We were all huddled up and we said we have to get in there. We ran the same play twice and the second one popped.”

(on EIUs last scoring drive)
“We were just happy to get the ball back. We knew we could do something special if the ball is in our hands.”

(on preparing for Vanderbilt)
“We need to start out fast. We cannot start like we did in our last game.”

(on playing EIU and first start since 2016)
“We were a little rusty on the tackling, but that’s because we had a two week break. But it felt great to back on the field. I just need to stay healthy and keep working. Hopefully we can keep making progress and keep moving up.”

(on adjustments to prepare for Vanderbilt and the rest of OVC play)
“I feel like we are back in a groove now. We just need to stick to our game plan, remember to stay disciplined and execute.”

(on playing his fi rst game of the season)
“It felt real good. We practiced real hard this week and we got this conference win. I was just happy to be out there and help our team win.”

(on adjustments to prepare for Vanderbilt and the rest of OVC play)
“This is a real big game. We play an SEC team, so we just have to play our football and continue to just make plays on our side of the ball. We have to make tackles on the defensive side and just key in on our assignments.”