NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee State quarterback Michael German scored on a one-yard sneak with eight seconds remaining to give the host Tigers a hard-fought 23-20 victory over the Eastern Kentucky University football team Saturday afternoon at Hale Stadium.
With the win, TSU improves to 6-0 overall for the first time since 2001. The No. 24 Tigers are also 2-0 in the OVC. The Colonels, ranked 16th nationally, fall to 4-2 and 2-1.
Eastern Kentucky took a 20-10 lead early in the fourth quarter thanks to a 30-yard field goal by junior Luke Pray. However, Tennessee State responded with touchdowns on its last two possessions to earn the win.
TSU running back Trabis Ward notched a three-yard touchdown run with 8:49 remaining to cut the deficit to 20-16. The Tigers missed the extra point. On that drive, Tennessee State converted a 3rd-and-17 with a 28-yard pass to Weldon Garlington.
The Colonels tried to run out the clock on their next drive, but failed to convert a 4th-and-9 at the Tennessee State 32-yard line with 2:44 on the clock.
From there, the Tigers quickly moved the ball down the field. Two pass plays from German, one to Travis James and one to Ward, helped TSU reach the Eastern 12-yard line. Tennessee State then converted a 4th-and-1 at the EKU three-yard line with 12 seconds left. One play later, German pushed the offensive line into the end zone for the winning score.
Tennessee State capitalized on a couple of EKU special teams mistakes to take a 10-7 lead into halftime. The Colonels missed a 24-yard field goal attempt early in the second quarter that would have given Eastern a 10-0 edge. A few minutes later, senior defensive back Justin Bell fumbled a Tennessee State punt at the EKU 24-yard line. The Tigers turned that miscue into a touchdown to level the game at 7-all.
Eastern Kentucky scored on its first three touches in the second half to regain the lead at 20-10. Senior running back Matt Denham tallied a four-yard scoring run while Pray added two field goals (21, 30 yards).
Denham reached 100 yards rushing for the 12th time in the last 14 games with 114 yards. He also added a 32-yard reception. Quarterback T.J. Pryor was 12-for-23 through the air for 230 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
For Tennessee State, German went 17-of-27 for 228 yards and a score. Ward notched 113 yards rushing on 24 carries.
Eastern Kentucky returns to Roy Kidd Stadium next Saturday, Oct. 13 to host Austin Peay as part of Homecoming weekend. Kick-off is set for 3 p.m.
--Tennessee State has now won three of the last four meetings between the two teams. Two of those three victories have been by three points.
--Defensive lineman David Carter tallied his first career interception in the third quarter. That play led to an EKU field goal which put the Colonels ahead, 20-10.
--Eastern Kentucky scored just two touchdowns on five red zone possessions.