The Big Blue scored 17 unanswered points in the second half to complete a 26-24 win against the league leading Austin Peay State Governors (4-3, 2-1) this past Saturday night at Nissan Stadium. It was Tennessee State University’s homecoming, so, all around the premises, inside and outside, was rocking. The #19 ranked Governors looked as if they would run the Tigers off the field early, but Cameron Rosendahl had other plans, rallying his troops back from obscurity, as he threw two second-half touchdown passes to Steven Newbold as the Big Blue snapped a six game losing streak.
The Governors came out on fire, as JaVaughn Craig and Kentel Williams only needed two plays to get into the end zone to start the game. Baniko Harley and Logan Birchfield got involved on the next possession.
The next thing you knew, Austin Peay had a 17-3 lead midway through the first half. Antonio Zita, who could have easily been the player of the game, kept the Tigers within striking distance, with two more field goals, making it 17-9 at the half.
The tide would slowly begin to turn in the second half, as the Big Blue defense tightened up. They forced three-and-outs, held Craig and Williams in check, and forced Birchfield into two chip-shot misses, from 34 and 32 yards. The last miss was with a little over a minute left in the contest. The game was over. The Big Blue faithful went bonkers.
“Our kids went out and executed the game plan,” said Coach Rod Reed.
Craig finished the game 18 of 35 for 291 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Governors. Williams caught four balls for 47 yards and a TD.
He had 45 yards rushing on 13 carries, and was one for one passing for 17 yards. Harley had six receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Rosendahl went 22 of 39 for 220 yards throwing the ball. Chris Rowland had 12 receptions for 113 yards. He now has 82 receptions on the year. Zita made four huge field goals of 43, 22, 36, and a career-long 50 yarder.
This win couldn’t have come at a better time for the Tigers (2-6, 1-3), as they head into their bye-week.
Their next opponent is #20 Southeast Missouri (SEMO), who they face at home in ‘The Hole’ on November 2. Game time is 2 pm. Get there!