Tigers storm back before dropping season opener, 27-20

Wide Receiver Cam Wyche had 75 reception yards against Austin Peay. (photo by Jawuan Williams, Tennessee State Athletics)

Tennessee State gave a valiant effort trying to overcome a large first quarter deficit before falling to Austin Peay 27-20 at Fortera Stadium on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

The Tigers found themselves down 20-0 midway through the first quarter as Austin Peay scored on the first play of each of its first three drives. Despite the deficit, the Tigers started to find a rhythm on both sides of the ball.

The defense stepped up after giving up 186 yards on the Govs first three plays and held them to 181 yards for the final three and a half quarters.

The offense would get going as redshirt sophomore Deveon Bryant registered his first collegiate touchdown pass late in the second quarter, finding Vincent Perry in the end zone to make the score 20-7 at halftime.

Antonio Zita cut the score in half with a 35-yard field goal midway through the third quarter, but the Govs responded with a touchdown to extend the lead to 27-10.

The Tigers fought back with another Zita field goal and a six-yard scoring pass from Isaiah Green to Cam Wyche.

The Big Blue made one final stop to get the ball back with 1:32 remaining on the clock.

Green completed three passes on the final drive to move down to the AP 24. The final pass attempt as the clock hit zero fell short of the end zone, securing the win for the Govs.

The game versus Austin Peay marks the first game for Tennessee State in 463 days. The Tigers last played on Nov. 23, 2019, in Cookeville, Tenn.

TSU earned a 37-27 win at Tennessee Tech. The Ohio Valley Conference postponed all fall sports on Aug. 14 due to concerns and the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tigers were scheduled to play on Sunday, Feb. 21, against Jacksonville State but a winter storm through the middle Tennessee area forced postponement delaying the 2021 spring season.