November 10, 20181st2nd3rd4thFinal
Jacksonville State20701441
Tennessee State700714
1st Quarter
JSUTD12:59HESTER 14 Yd Pass From COOPER (STINNETT missed kick)
TSUTD05:53ROBERSON 58 Yd Run (ZITA kick)
2nd Quarter
4th Quarter
TSUTD07:46MCCOLLEY 70 Yd Run (ZITA kick)
Stats at a GlanceJSUTSU
1st Downs2419
3rd Down Conversions8-144-9
4th Down Conversions1-10-0
Passing (Comp-Att)272 (20-30) 164 (15-29)
Rushing (Att)148 (39) 178 (23)
Total Yards420342
Fumbles Lost00
Tigers Return Home to Face #8 Jacksonville State
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Tigers Return Home to Face #8 Jacksonville State
Photo by Sam Jordan

Tennessee State Game Notes | Jacksonville State Game Notes
2018 Tennessee State Media Guide | Live Stats

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Game 10: Tennessee State (3-4, 2-3) vs. #8 Jacksonville State (7-2, 6-1)
Date: Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Stadium: William J. Hale Stadium (15,000)
Time: 2:00 p.m. CT
Audio: 102.1 FM
Live Stats: StatBroadcast

Series Information: This is the 13th meeting with the Gamecocks leading the series, 10-2. Seven of the 11 contests have been played in Jacksonville, Ala. where the Tigers are 2-5. The series began in 2003 when the Gamecocks became a member of the Ohio Valley Conference. JSU won the very first meeting, 34-7, in 2003. The Tigers first win came in 2006, 38-31. TSU last won in 2013 with a 31-15 victory at JSU.

Last Meeting: TSU closed out the 2017 regular season with a 36-6 loss at No. 2 Jacksonville State. The contest started as a defensive battle, before JSU broke it open in the second half. The Tigers were held to 97 total yards and seven first downs in the contest. The yardage was the lowest amount for a Tiger offense since 2010. TSU’s lone touchdown came in the third quarter as Michael Hughes found Chris Rowland for a 17 yard touchdown strike. TSU was held to 15 yards rushing behind seven sacks totaling 60 yards. Sabree Curtis led the Tigers running game with 57 yards on 12 carries. Micheal Hughes was held in check throwing for 82 yards. The defense spent over 34 minutes on the field and gave up 493 yards of total offense. The Tigers were able to combine for six tackles-for-loss.

Head Coach Rod Reed is in his ninth season at the helm of the Tigers and holds a 52-46 record. Coach Reed earned his 50th victory against Bethune-Cookman and became just the third coach in Tiger history to reach the milestone. John Merritt tops the list with 174 victories in his 20 years (1963-83) for a .806 winning percentage (174-35-7), while Harry Kean spent 10 years in charge of TSU from 1944-54 and compiled a 93-15-3 record (.838). The Big Blue is 8-1 in season openers under Reed, including a 17-10 win at FBS opponent Georgia State in 2017. The lone opening day loss came at the hands of Bethune-Cookman, 12-9, at the 2013 John Merritt Classic.

Tennessee State dropped its final road game of the season at No. 24 Southeast Missouri, 38-21. The Tigers gained 508 yards in the contest, including 253 on the ground. Te’kendrick Roberson rushed for 137 yards on 13 carries, while Earl Harrison ran for 105 yards on 11 touches.  Roberson and Harrison became the first Tiger duo to each run for over 100 yards in a game since Oct. 2, 2010. Dante’ Thomas and Preston Brown accomplished the feat in the Tigers 37-7 win over North Carolina A&T at the Circle City Classic in Indianapolis, Ind. Thomas finished with 186 yards, ahead of Brown’s 145. The Big Blue offense is ranked 18th in the nation, averaging 470.1 yards per game. Blair Edwards led the Tigers with 10 tackles and is second on the team for the season with 43. Terry Straughter added eight, five solo, and recorded a game high four quarterback hurries. Mekhi Brown and Khalil Jones recorded sacks for the defense. DeMarco Corbin crossed the goal line for the sixth time this season. Malik Abdul-Haqq notched his second blocked field goal of the season. Abdul-Haqq ranks ninth in the nation in blocks. Dajour Nesbeth tops the defense with 44 stops and is ninth in FCS play with 1.4 Passes Defended.

Jacksonville State is coming off a 21-14 win over UT Martin. Trailing 14-13, the Gamecocks scored with 29 seconds remaining in the game to claim the win. JSU enters the meeting with TSU ranked fourth in the country in total defense and sixth in total offense. The defense is holding their opponents to 261.9 yards per game, while the offense is gaining at a 514.2 clip. Josh Pearson leads the nation with 15 receiving touchdowns. Pearson has caught 46 passes for 769 yards. Zerrick Cooper leads the offense completing 160-of-259 attempts for 2,136 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. On the ground, Jaelen Greene has carried the ball 87 times for 467 yards with four scores. Defensively, Jalen Choice leads JSU with 56 tackles, 28 solos and 9.5 tackles for loss. Connor Christian is second on the team with 8.0 TFLs, powered by a team high 5.5 sacks totaling 27 yards.

Last 10 Results:
2017 - Jacksonville State 36, Tennessee State 6
2015 - Jacksonville State 48, Tennessee State 13
2014 - Jacksonville State 27, Tennessee State 20
2013 - Tennessee State 31, Jacksonville State 15
2012 - Jacksonville State 31, Tennessee State 28 (OT)
2011 - Jacksonville State 38, Tennessee State 16
2010 -Jacksonville State 24, Tennessee State 0
2008 - Jacksonville State 26, Tennessee State 21
2006 - Tennessee State 38, Jacksonville State 31
2005 - Jacksonville State 33, Tennessee State 3

TV: ESPN+. Howard Gentry, Jr. will provide play-by-play and Derick Fleming brings analysis.

Radio: 102.1 FM will carry the game live with Greg Pogue (play-by-play), Albert Dawson (analyst), Gary Dawson (sideline) and Craig Ladd (Scoreboard). Pregame will begin at 1:30 p.m.

(on performance at Southeast Missouri)
"Last week, I thought our football team was fired up. We got behind the eight ball real quick. We got down 17-0, but were able to climb back in it. We had the opportunity to get that halftime to cut it to a 3-point lead. They had a big second quarter, scoring 21-points. We came out on the first play of the third quarter, had a big run, we got down and didn’t get much out of it. Our biggest thing has been turnovers. If we don’t turn the ball over, I think it’d be a much different ball game. We got some stuff figured out there, but the two turnovers and the one where we turned it over on downs inside the red zone really hurt us. We have to do a better job at protecting the football, when we have protected the football this year, we have done a pretty good job. We’ve got to get better defensively. They have a really good quarterback, don’t get me wrong, they’re a really good football team. With Terry back at 100 percent, and the Wilkerson kid gave us fits all night. There are things we have to get better at, but I still think that if we don’t turn the football over, that would’ve been a much better football game."

(on posting a winning record this season)
"That’s a huge goal. We’re still in the running for the York trophy, and things of that nature, but going from SEMO to Jacksonville State is like jumping out of a frying pan and into the fire. You’ve got two ranked teams, but we feel like, if we can play our best game, we can play with anybody. We’re pretty good at home this year, we’ll have an opportunity to be successful. But, we know that this team (Jacksonville State) is well-coached. They have a lot of weapons. They’ll throw three-or-four running backs at you. They’ve got some big, physical receivers. Defensively, they’re always good. We have our work cut out for us, but our kids are up for the challenge, our coaching staff is grinding it out daily trying to figure it out, but we’re going to be ready to play this Saturday."

(on Earl Harrison and Te’Kendrick Roberson’s running game)
"We had a game plan. We rushed for over 250 yards – I don’t think anyone had done that all year against them. I think we played well on the offensive line up front. It was great to see those guys run, especially against a defense like SEMO. You have to give credit to the offensive line up front. They created some space for them to run, and Earl and Te’Kendrick did a really good job at finishing. Shawn McColley came in and had a 17-yard run, too. Our backs did a really good job and our line did a really good job blocking. We have to continue that trend if we want to be successful."

(on the win over UT Martin)
“We were very fortunate to come out with a win Saturday. It’s nice to play at home. The day was a great defensive day for both clubs. I think we played really good defense and I think they played great defense. Besides the last minute and a half of the game, the offenses just didn’t do a whole lot. I think it was an exciting game at the end. I think the last minute and a half, everyone in the stadium got their money’s worth, and we were just fortunate to come up with a win.”

(on facing TSU)
“We go on the road this week and play a really good Tennessee State team. Kind of just like UT Martin, this TSU bunch is really good. Coach Reed does a great job with his guys. They play really hard. They’re physical on both sides of the ball – front seven-wise. You look at them and they’re kind of like us. When they don’t turn the ball over, they can beat anybody. The problem in their losses is that they’ve turned the ball over and they’ve had issues there. When they don’t turn the ball over, they’re leading Vandy with seven minutes in the game and Vandy has to hit a deep ball to beat them 31-27. That’s what kind of team they’ve got. I think our guys are fully aware of that. We have to have a great week of prep."

(on improving the run game)
“We’re more balanced offensively because we can throw the football a little bit better than we have in the past. I think our run game has been pretty sporadic. We’re really good at times and we do some good things and at times we’re not. Anybody can tell you offense is continuity. It’s everyone doing their job. It’s everybody executing well at the same time. It doesn’t take but one guy to get a ‘minus’ on a play and it’s not a very good play. We had way too many of those plays on Saturday. UT Martin had something to do with it. They whipped us at point of attack and we weren’t able to hold the point. We have to correct our consistency. Some of that is youth. We’re young up front and we’re having play some young guys and they’re doing the best they can.”

(on 500+ yards)
"It means a lot to the offensive line. It means me and my boys are out there eating, blocking together, good vibes, it means we’re dominating on front and tail and in the trenches."

(on continuing to produce for offense)
"It’s all about execution. Coach "E" does a good job of giving us looks and we go out there and execute in practice. When it comes to game day, it’s so easy because we’re used to it."

(on key factor that helped the line be successful)
"It’s all about trust. Trust is a big thing, communication – saying we’re four down, five down."

(on how to build off loss)
"We’ve got to fix all of our mistakes, and build off of it. We don’t like losing. We have to continue to win and get back on the winning track."

(on last two games as a Tiger)
"Don’t quit because if they were in my position, they wouldn’t quit as a senior. It’s very important. I would like to win my last two games at home, have a winning season."

(on taking on Jacksonville State as an Alabama native)
"I take a lot of pride. Growing up, everyone used to watch Jacksonville State where I’m from, and to beat them would be a great deal to me."

(on getting two Tigers over 100+ yards)
"These past couple of weeks, we took a lot of time to put in the running game, to make sure we could get the running game going."

(on key things to prepare for next week’s matchup)
"We have to be on defense a little tougher in practice. We need more contact in practice so the defense can be ready to play. On [the offensive] end, we had too many mistakes and we need stay on blocks."

(on regrouping for final two games of the season)
"Just keep everyone’s heads up. Learn from our mistakes, and everyone needs to play hard to finish the season."

(on performancea in last two games at Hale Stadium)
"We’re going to be playing in front of our home crowd. Senior night is going to be one of those nights. We have to go out, fight hard and not give up."

(on what legacy he wants to leave)
"The legacy I wish I would have left is a national championship, or at least an OVC championship, but we can’t always get what we want out of life.