TSU and MTSU win big in two Homecoming contests

QB Michael Hughes passes for TSU in 45-21 victory. (photo: Steve Fohl/EKU Athletics)

QB Michael Hughes passes for TSU in 45-21 victory. (photo: Steve Fohl/EKU Athletics)

Two of our local state universities racked up impressive wins over the weekend. MTSU won its Homecoming game and TSU won at EKU’s Homecoming. The teams won by more than 20 points in each contest.

The Tennessee State Tigers (4-2, 1-2 OVC) built a 17-0 lead over the Eastern Kentucky University Colonels (1-4, 1-2 OVC) by halftime. The TSU Aristocrat of Bands did not make the trip and did not play at half-time in Richmond. EKU roared out of the locker room and scored 21 unanswered points to seize a 21-17 lead at the start of the fourth quarter. The Tigers outscored the Colonels by a 28-7 margin in the fourth quarter to secure the 24 point victory.

TSU DB Vincent Sellers returned two interceptions for touchdowns, tying an NCAA record. One play after the Tigers retook the lead at 24-21 with a little over six minutes remaining in the game, Sellers stepped in front of a pass and covered 34 yards, evading several Colonels as he crossed the goal line. Three minutes later the true freshman from Sarasota, Fla. secured his second pick and dashed 44 yards untouched giving the Tigers a 38-31 lead.

Sellers became the 29th player in FCS history to record two pick-sixes in a game. The feat earned him the OVC Defensive and Newcomer of the Week awards. The award is the second Newcomer award for Sellers this season after also being named for his performance in the historic opening week win at FBS Georgia State. Sellers also had a team high eight tackles, seven solo, and added a pass breakup to his night.

Senior DB Terrell Bonds closed out the scoring with his 36 yard pick-six to help the Tennessee State football team put away Eastern Kentucky in the 45-21 victory on Saturday night in Roy Kidd Stadium before an announced crowd of 8,410. The win is TSU’s first in Ohio Valley Conference play this season, and only their third in 17 tries in Richmond.

Here’s how they did it: the Tigers scored four touchdowns in a span of 3:42 in the final quarter; the defense picked off four passes, including three returned for touchdowns; the Tigers committed just three penalties for only 24 yards in the contest; and Lane Clark tied for the 10th longest field goal in TSU history with a 49-yarder late in the first quarter.

“I’m glad we were able to click tonight,” TSU Quarterback Michael Hughes said after the game. “We did a great job preparing for the game this week, and I’m just glad we came out here and executed all of the plays that we needed to execute to get this win…. It started off a little rough, but I finally got into the groove of things. I took care of the ball and did what I had to do. I did my part – it was great.” Hughes was making his first career start at quarterback for TSU count, as he passed for two touchdowns and ran for another.

Next up for the Tigers, the surprising Austin Peay Governors (3-3, 2-1 OVC) will visit Nashville this weekend for TSU’s Homecoming at 6:00 pm on Saturday, October 14 in Nissan Stadium. These are not your dad’s Govs, After losing on the road at Cincinnati (14-26) and at Miami U of Ohio (10-31), they reeled off three straight wins, against Morehead State (69-13), at Murray State (27-7), and a shutout against UT Martin (7-0), before succumbing 14-34 to juggernaut Jacksonville State (4-1, 2-0 OVC).

Middle Tennessee enjoyed a happy Homecoming by knocking off Conference USA – leading Florida International University 37-17 at Floyd Stadium Saturday afternoon before an announced crowd of 15,527. The Blue Raiders (3-3, 1-1) used a dominating second quarter, in which they outscored FIU 14-0, to take a 17-3 halftime lead and never looked back.

Playing without quarterback Brent Stockstill for the fourth straight game, sophomore John Urzua stepped up with a solid game, going 25-of-31 for 250 yards, one touchdown and no turnovers. Freshman tailback Brad Anderson piled up a career-high 112 yards on 11 carries and also caught six passes for 47 yards including a 19-yard scoring pass. MTSU travels to UAB for a 5:30 kickoff on Saturday, Oct. 14.