The Tennessee State University Tigers (4-1, 1-1 OVC) will host the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (2-3, 1-1 OVC) for Homecoming on Saturday, October 15 at Nissan Stadium. TSU suffered its first loss of the season, falling 35-34 at Eastern Illinois in Ohio Valley Conference action on Saturday night, October 8 at O’Brien Field in Charleston, Illinois. It was the Tigers’ first game of the season that the TSU Aristocrat of Bands were not on hand. That will not be the case this weekend.
Against EIU, senior quarterback Ronald Butler passed for a career-high 303 yards with touchdown passes to Patrick Smith and Steven Newbold. Smith finished with seven receptions for 160 yards, while Newbold pulled down four passes for 121 yards. Defensively, Chris Collins registered 12 total tackles and his first interception of the season.
For the second consecutive game the Tigers found themselves down by double digits early in the first quarter.
Eastern Illinois used a 66 yard kickoff return to the TSU 24 to setup a four play drive resulting in a nine-yard touchdown pass. EIU increased their lead to 14-0 on Devin Church’s first of three touchdowns on the evening.
Chris Rowland jump started the Tigers with a 65 yard kickoff return, allowing the offense to start at the Panthers 30. TSU stalled after six plays, setting up a 37 yard field goal by Lane Clark to cut the lead to 14-3. The Tigers got the offense going midway through the second quarter, and Butler called his own number to bring TSU back to within four, 14-10.
Trailing 21-10, Clark connected on a 57-yard field goal for the second consecutive week, but the play was whistled dead as the defense jumped offside causing the TSU linemen to move. Clark’s attempt from 52 yards was good sending the Tigers to the locker room trailing 21-13 at the break.
TSU’s Earl Harrison powered in from three yards out bringing the Tigers to within one at 21-20. EIU scored again to regain their eight point lead. Down 28-20, the Tigers scored back to back touchdowns to take a 34-28 lead with 10 minutes to play. Smith opened the scoring with a spectacular one armed reception when Butler hit the junior wide out in stride down the sideline for a 56 yard TD.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Newbold dived into the end zone to secure the third touchdown of his freshman campaign. Newbold was named OVC Newcomer of the Week for his efforts.
EIU’s Devin Church scored his third touchdown of the game with 9:00 left in the fourth quarter to put the Panthers up for good at 35-34.
“We just came up just short, said TSU Wide Receiver Patrick Smith after the game.” We just have to go back to the drawing board, start fresh with EKU and try to go 1-0.”
Listen live on FM 102.1 The Light, or watch on ESPN3. Kickoff is set for 6 pm CDT.