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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
TSU Falls to Vanderbilt, 31-27, in Hard-Fought Battle
Saturday, September 29, 2018
TSU Falls to Vanderbilt, 31-27, in Hard-Fought Battle
Photo By Sam Jordan - TSU Athletics



Game 3: Tennessee State 27, Vanderbilt 31
Records: TSU (2-1), VU (3-2)
Venue: Vanderbilt Stadium
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Weather: Sunny, 63
Kickoff Time: 3:05 p.m.
Attendance: 27,340

NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State football team went toe-to-toe with SEC foe Vanderbilt, falling by a 31-27 final score in a game that went down to the wire on Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium. It was the first loss of the season for TSU.

Despite 269 yards passing and three touchdowns from junior quarterback Demry Croft, TSU (2-1) could not overcome the balanced attack of Vanderbilt (3-2).

TSU held a 13-7 halftime edge, but the Commodores bounced back by outscoring the Tigers, 24-14, in the second half.

The Tigers took a 27-24 lead with 8:02 to play on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Croft to Andrew Knox. On Vanderbilt’s ensuing possession, however, the Commodores took the lead for good with a touchdown pass with 6:20 left.

Dajour Nesbeth led TSU’s defense with 10 tackles and an interception. Terry Straughter also recorded an interception for the Tigers.


  • Vanderbilt outgained the Tiger offense, 553-373.
  • The total was the first under 500 yards this season.
  • TSU gained 104 yards on the ground, while throwing for 269.
  • The defense recorded two interceptions, combining for 75 yards on returns.
  • The Big Blue registered three stops behind the line of scrimmage.
  • The defense held Vandy to 6-of-12 on third down conversions and 0-for-1 on fourth down attempts.
  • The offensive line surrendered just one sack against the SEC opponent.
  • Time of possession slightly favored the Commodores, 30:04-29:56.


  • Treon Harris posted career bests with eight receptions and 109 yards receiving.
  • Harris highlighted his performance with a 31-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter.
  • Demry Croft completed 22-of-31 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Steven Newbold and Andrew Knox joined Harris with receiving touchdowns.
  • Terry Straughter earned his first career interception on a fourth down attempt during Vanderbilt’s opening offensive drive.
  • Dajour Nesbeth intercepted Kyle Shurmer in the end zone on Vandy’s second possession and returned it 65 yards, setting up the first touchdown of the game.
  • Nesbeth led the Tigers with 10 tackles and matched Neiman Armstrong with seven solos.
  • Five players had a part in a tackle for loss.
  • Nesbeth had a pass breakup, while Christion Abercrombie was credited with a quarterback hurry.
  • Major Bellamy averaged 34.5 yards on kickoff returns, including a 45 yarder.
  • DeVon Johnson’s lone kickoff return of the contest went for 36 yards.  


  • Tennessee State started with the ball and had some success until a penalty to stalled the drive.
  • The defense stood tall on Vanderbilt’s first possession as Terry Straughter intercepted a Kyle Shirmer fourth down pass attempt.
  • The Tigers have stopped their opponents on four straight fourth down attempts, dating back to the opening season win against Bethune-Cookman.
  • The Tigers moved down to the Commodores 25 on a pair of Te’kendrick Roberson runs and a 20 yard pass play from Demry Croft to Treon Harris.
  • Antonio Zita fell short on his 46 yard field goal attempt with 5:08 remaining in the quarter.
  • Dajour Nesbeth stepped in front of Shirmer pass in the end zone for an interception and returned it 65 yards to the Vanderbilt 35.
  • After a DeMarco Corbin eight yard run and a 10 yard dash by Croft, the Tigers moved to the five as Croft hit Stephen Newbold for 12 yards.
  • The quarter ended with The Tigers facing a second and goal from the five.
  • TSU outgained Vanderbilt 88-75 in the quarter.


  • On the second play of the quarter, Croft found Newbold in the end zone as the Tigers took a 7-0 lead.
  • The Commodores responded with a seven play, 75 yard scoring drive to even the score at 7-7 with 11:23 on the clock.
  • The Tigers came right back and scored in 4:51, to retake the lead at 13-6.
  • The drive opened with a 12 yard pass play from Croft to Newbold and a 12 yard rush by the signal caller.
  • Croft continued the drive with three passes to Harris for 12, seven and 31 yards, the last for a touchdown.
  • Vanderbilt drove back down the field on their next possession, but the defense forced a field goal attempt which sailed wide right.
  • The Commodores charged back down on their next series and kicked a 20 yard field goal just before half to cut into the Tigers lead, 13-10.


  • Vanderbilt opened fast in the second half as they capped off a 76 yard scoring drive with a 38 yard touchdown pass, taking a 17-13 lead.
  • The Commodores added another touchdown, a 78 yard rushing touchdown, two plays after stopping the Tigers at midfield.
  • The Tigers bounced back, using an acrobatic catch by Steven Newbold for 20 yards to keep the drive alive.
  • The play was called incomplete on the field and was overturned in review.
  • Croft completed back-to-back passes to Newbold and DeVon Johnson for 15 and 20 yards, respectively, moving the ball to the VU two yard line.
  • Corbin hit pay dirt on the next play, crashing through the middle of the line for a two yard touchdown blast.
  • The quarter ended with the Tigers trailing 24-20.


  • TSU took a 27-24 lead after traveling 72 yards in 10 plays.
  • The drive concluded on a one-yard touchdown pass from Croft to fullback Andrew Knox with 8:02 left in the game.
  • Early in the series, Croft hit Johnson on a 14 yard pass on a third-and-long and picked up another lengthy third down attempt with a 17 yard scamper.
  • After a Shawn McColley 11-yard run, the Tigers reached the Vandy one with a Croft to Johnson hookup of 24 yards.
  • Vanderbilt responded with a 68-yard touchdown strike from Kyle Shurmur to Kalija Lipscomb with 6:20 remaining.
  • Kyle Oliver hauled in a 12 yard pass on third-and-nine to keep the Tigers chances alive on the team’s final drive.
  • TSU used a nine yard run by Croft and an 11 yard connection to Harris to move down to the Vanderbilt 21.
  • The Tigers upset bid fell short as Croft was not able to complete a fourth down attempt.
  • The Big Blue outgained the Commodores in the final quarter, 112-72.


  • TSU’s captains were Demry Croft, Micheal Hughes, Thomas Burton and LaQuarius Cook.
  • TSU won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff.
  • Saturday’s game aired live on SEC Network Alternate.
  • Tennessee State is 0-3 in the all-time series versus Vanderbilt.
  • Treon Harris made his first start of the season at wide receiver. Neiman Armstrong (CB) and Jeremiah Caine (DL) also made their first starts of the season for the Tigers.
  • Tennessee State received votes in the most-recent STATS FCS Top 25 poll.
  • TSU’s defense has an interception in two of the first three games this season. It is the second time this season TSU has posted multiple interceptions.
  • TSU led at the half for the second time this season.

TSU travels to Austin Peay for an Oct. 6 game in Clarksville, Tenn. at 6:00 p.m. 

(on the fight shown from his team)
“I’m really proud of that team over there in that locker room right there. Once again they showed resilience, they showed toughness, and they showed a never quit attitude. We came out in the second half, and they scored and we were able to bounce back and come back and do some things. I was really proud of our football team. We did what we needed to do. We said we wanted to keep the game close coming into the fourth quarter and give ourselves the opportunity to win, and that’s exactly what we did.”

(on the toughness his squad displayed)
“Our kids won’t quit. You see it in practice every day …We scratch and fight, and these kids have really, really earned the right to be a really good football team. I think that this is another stepping stone in this program. For us we just have to continue to build on it and carry this back over into conference play.”

(on missed opportunities)
“To be able to move the ball up and down the field the way we did, and if you go back and really think about it we missed a field goal and an extra point. There’s four points right there. It could’ve been a lot different story.”


(on scoring in three-consecutive games)
“It’s been a good feeling. For the past few years in college football, this has been my job. When we get near the goal line, it’s time to go. I think I’ve shown (the coaching staff) that they can trust me, and hopefully I can continue to show them that.”

(on playing a close game with an SEC opponent)
“To me, that shows me this is a special teams. It shows we can do some big things if we all believe.”

(on the offense moving the ball)
“We do what we have to do all week. We watched Vanderbilt’s defense, and we believed we could match up with them and actually beat them. We kept what we were doing in practice and did it in the game.”

(on if the game gives him confidence)
“It gives me confidence moving forward because if we can play this way against OVC teams, it will be tough for them to match up with us.”

(on the defense getting take aways)
“It’s pretty cool that we could do that against an SEC opponent, but we still came out trying to be the best we can be and give them nothing.”

(on building confidence from the game)
“It’s alright to play a close game, but we came here to win. We didn’t come here to play a close game.”