TSU Tigers primed and ready for John Merritt Classic

TSU Tigers run drills in pratice for upcoming John Merritt Classic (photo by Sam Jordon)

TSU Tigers run drills in practice for upcoming John Merritt Classic (photo by Sam Jordan)

The Tennessee State University football Tigers open the 2015 campaign in the John Merritt Classic versus the Alabama State University Hornets. The game is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at Nissan Stadium on Sunday, September 6, 2015.

Hale Stadium played host to the second and final scrimmage of camp 2015 for Tennessee State football, with 300 spectators enjoying the eight series, 65 play contest Saturday evening, Aug. 23. The Tigers set the tone by rushing the ball and finished the night with 139 yards on 24 carries, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Ronald Butler led the way with 68 yards on five runs, including two for over 20 yards. Senior Telvin Hooks added to the success on the ground as he joined Butler with a rush over 20-yards.

Early on, Hooks burst loose around the left side on the second play of the contest for 21 yards giving the first unit a first down at their own 41. The first drive would stall as sophomore defensive end Latrelle Lee busted through for a sack and a seven yard loss, forcing the first punt of the night. After the change of possession, the first unit returned to the field for a second opportunity. The squad picked up back-to-back first downs as O’Shay Ackerman-Carter connected on a 14-yard pass to Mahlon Medley and a six-yarder to Archie Dennard.

Ronald Butler brought the second team on the field for their first series and struck immediately. The junior broke around the right end for 35 yards, crossing midfield to the 30. Butler broke loose on the next play for 10 yards, but the play was nullified by a holding penalty.

The scrimmage ended with each squad having a chance at a two-minute drive. Ackerman-Carter went back to the recipe from the second drive picking up two first downs with the help of Medley and Dennard. The defense would flex its muscle again as freshman defensive back Gabe Scott came down with an Ackerman-Carter pass for his first interception of camp.

Butler started the second units drive as he scrambled and found running room for 22 yards to the 42. Butler would continue to drive his squad down the field hooking up with Isaiah Jeffries-Freeman for a first down, followed by a pass to Dantwaun O’Neal for another new set of downs. The offense would settle for a 45-yard field goal from freshman Mitchell Boudreaux to make the final 7-3.

The football team held its annual Fan Day on Sunday afternoon in the Indoor Facility, and hundreds of fans came out to meet and support the 2015 Tigers. The day’s festivities began at 2:00 p.m. as the team was welcomed to the turf. The players took a seat to sign autographs on the new 2015 posters. After receiving signatures from the Big Blue, the kids in took advantage of inflatable playground and the open turf to play some football. Some of the Tigers even joined in with the kids for some fun.