After suffering a 12-9 loss at home to Bethune Cookman University of the MEAC in the 15th John Merrittt Classic in Nashville’s LP Field, the TSU Tigers traveled to Tallahassee, Florida to face archrival FAMU. A suffocating defensive attack allowed the Tennessee State football team to pick up its first win of the season with a 27-7 victory at Florida A&M. The TSU defense held FAMU to just 156 yards of total offense, forced two turnovers (with one being returned for a touchdown), and the Rattlers were 2-of-12 on third down conversions.
Senior Tim Broughton led the Tigers with 124 yards on 17 carries, for a 7.3-yard per carry average. Sophomore Telvin Hooks was not far behind, gaining 77 yards on the ground on 12 attempts (6.4 ypc).
FAMU quarterback Damien Fleming fired a short out pass to the wide side of the field, and TSU safety David Van Dyke jumped the route, picked the ball off and brought it back 46 yards for a Tiger touchdown. Van Dyke’s interception was his second in as many games and the first touchdown scored by the Tigers in 2013. It was also the first TSU defensive touchdown since Sept. 8, 2012 when Daniel Fitzpatrick scooped up a fumble and scored against Jackson State.
Tennessee State went to work on offense and executed an eight play, 65-yard drive that Broughton finished off with a 10-yard touchdown. The score put TSU up 14-0 with just under seven minutes to go in the first quarter.
Fleming found Lenworth Lennon wide-open in the end zone on a second and goal from the TSU 36-yard line for a FAMU touchdown that brought the Rattlers within seven with 14 minutes left to go before halftime. On the ensuing kickoff, redshirt junior Martine Stevenson received the ball and raced right up the middle of the field. Ninety-five yards later, Stevenson was standing in the end zone with TSU’s first kickoff return for a touchdown since Weldon Garlington’s 100-yard return on Oct. 1, 2011 versus Austin Peay—bringing the first half to a close with TSU in control, 21-7. Stevenson, of Detroit, Mich. was named OVC Co-Specialist of the Week. Stevenson’s 51.3 yards/kickoff return average for the season currently ranks first nationally.
Hooks found the end zone from 14 yards out at the eight-minute mark of the third quarter, which gave the Tigers a commanding 27-7 lead, as Godfrey’s PAT was blocked.
TSU will look for win number two next Saturday when the team travels to Memphis for a date with Jackson State in the Southern Heritage Classic. TSU is ranked number 2 in the Boxtorow Coaches’ Poll and Media Poll, while Jackson State is ranked number 4 in the Coaches’ Poll and number 5 in the Media Poll. Game time in the Liberty Bowl is 6 pm, CDT. Listen live on FM 102.1 The Light.