The Tennessee State University Tigers are on the road this weekend to face an old familiar opponent in their final game against another HBCU football team this (regular) season. A victory against the Rattlers of Florida A & M University in Tallahassee this Saturday, September 26, would be a welcome tonic for the team after running into a buzzsaw in Alabama last Saturday, September 19. The Tigers had traveled to Jacksonville, Alabama to take on the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks, the number one team in all of FCS football.
JSU claimed a 48-13 win on Saturday afternoon in front of 23,413, the largest crowd ever to witness a game at Burgess-Snow Field. Just exactly how many off them had turned out primarily to watch the battle of the bands between the phenomenal TSU Aristocrat of Bands and the JSU Marching Southerners can be debated, as the both the bands and teams are among the OVC’s finest — TSU’s marching band and JSU’s football team that day.
The Tigers had a solid start defensively, but the Jacksonville State offense held the upper hand for the remainder of the game. Offensively, the top ranked Gamecocks took control of the game as they outgained TSU 576 yards to 208 total yards.
“We’ve got to learn from this and move on,” TSU head coach Rod Reed said after the game. “I’m focused on Florida A&M right now. You can’t let one game beat you twice. There’s a reason Jacksonville State is the number one team in the country. We got beat by a better football team today, and it will be my job to get this team going back in the right direction and go down to Tallahassee and try to get a win at Florida A&M.”
The Tigers will compete out of OVC play for the last time this season as they face Florida A&M in Tallahassee. The TSU Aristocrat of Bands will travel to play at the game, although FAMU declined to bring their Marchin 100 band to Nashville last year; TSU defeated FAMU in Nashville 27-7 in TSU’s Homecoming Game on Sept. 27, 2014. FAMU’s last victory in the series was 31-12 on Sept. 26, 2009. TSU holds a 28-25 lead in the all-time series.
Florida A&M is off to a 0-3 start under new head coach Alex Wood. Wood took over in Tallahassee after spending four years as the offensive coordinator at the University of Buffalo (including time as the interim head coach). Wood was also previously the head coach at James Madison from 1995-98. The Rattlers lost to FBS South Florida (51-3) to open the season before losses to FCS opponent Samford (58-21) and South Carolina State (36-0). Through three games quarterback Carson Royal has passed for 320 yards while Kenneth Coleman has passed for 177 yards. Devin Bowers is the team’s leading rusher, averaging 72.0 yards/game.
Follow the game live on WVOL – 1470 AM at 5:00 p.m. CDT on September 26.