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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee State is back on the road with a trip to Richmond, Ky., for an Ohio Valley Conference matchup with Eastern Kentucky. The Tigers (3-3, 0-3) and Colonels (4-2, 3-0) are set to kickoff at 3:00 p.m. ET, at Roy Kidd Stadium for the 27th meeting in the series.
The game can be seen on the OVC Digital Network and heard on WVOL 1470 AM. Greg Pogue (play-by-play), Albert Dawson (analyst) and Gary Dawson (sideline) will provide coverage beginning with the pregame show at 1:30 p.m. CT.
EKU has won the last two meetings and leads, 21-5, though the Tigers are 3-3 during the past six meetings. The Tigers first met the Colonels in the NCAA playoffs, a 13-7 loss in 1982, and earned its first win in 1998, 31-21.
EKU claimed the 2014 meeting at LP Field (Nissan Stadium), 56-42, as the Tigers surrendered the most points since 2011. Mike German keyed the offensive attack, completing 22-of-43 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns. Isaiah freeman was German’s main target, catching seven passes for 98 yards and three touchdowns. Nick Thrasher led the defense with 17 tackles, while EKU rushed for 286 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Tigers are coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to Eastern Illinois, 25-22. In the contest, kicker Lane Clark drilled a 50-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 22-22. The sophomore kicker matched Jamin Godfrey’s 2013 kick, tying the two for third all time in program history. The boot is also the longest field goal in the OVC this season and ninth in the country.
Ronald Butler has played in five contests, starting two, and has a 50 percent (39-of-78) completion rate amassing 591 yards and six touchdowns, while tossing five picks. Butler has played in 24 games during his career and has started 12 - eight as a freshman, two as a sophomore and two as a junior. The Tallahassee, Fla., native is currently ranked 10th in the country averaging 15.15 passing yards per completion.
Telvin Hooks is making his way up the TSU record books. The running back is sixth on the all-time list for attempts with 363. Hooks surpassed Antonio Heffner (2006-08), Melvin Waters (1987-90) and Steve Griffin (1983-86) this season. The senior has totaled 1,602 yards in his career and is just outside of the top 10 in TSU history. Hooks is within 72 yards of three members of the list; Lee Derricks (1,641), Nathaniel Simpson (1,655) and Larry Kinnebrew (1,673).
Red-shirt sophomore Patrick Smith continues as the TSU quarterbacks favorite target with 537 yards on 26 catches, averaging 20.7 ypc and 89.5 ypg. Smith has six touchdown receptions on the year, ranking second in the OVC and 11th in the country.
Defensively, Chris Collins leads with 52 tackles, 24 solo, while Rodney Edwards tops the Tigers with 7.5 tackles for loss and has totaled 25 tackles, a sack, a pass break-up and a quarterback-hurry. Edwards leads the OVC, and is ranked sixth in the country, with two fumble recoveries.
EKU enters at 4-2 and is ranked 13th in the country. Their losses came at North Carolina State and in overtime at Kentucky. The Colonels have been productive in its four wins versus FCS opponents averaging 44.5 points per game.
Bennie Coney guides the offense throwing for 1,302 yards and 12 touchdowns while completing 63 percent (115-for-181) of his passes. Joel Brown and Devin Borders have each caught 22 passes on the season; Brown has gone for 203 yards and two touchdowns while Borders has 201 yards with three scores. On the ground, Dy’Shawn Mobley and Ethan Thomas have carried the load. Mobley leads the team with 70 attempts to go along with Thomas’ squad leading 262 yards.
The Colonels have recorded 19 sacks this season and are led by Noah Spence with 7.0. Spence has 31 tackles, one behind Tyrell Curry, and has registered 12.0 tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries, forced two fumbles and recovered one.