By Nick Guerriero, Sports Information Tennessee State
NASHVILLE — The Tennessee State football team took down Gardner-Webb 27-25 in the John Merritt Classic on Saturday evening for their first Big South-OVC win of the year.
The Tigers improved to 2-1 on the year and 1-0 in Big South-OVC Conference play, while the Runnin’ Bulldogs fell to 1-2 and 0-1.
Jalen Rouse totaled 53 yards to lead the Tigers’ ground attack and added one touchdown in the game. Deveon Bryant also tacked on 53 yards and one touchdown on the ground, picking up 7.6 yards per carry.
Defensively, Tennessee State held up fairly well against the Gardner-Webb rushing attack, holding the Bulldogs to 145 yards on the ground.
How It Happened
After falling behind 7-0, Tennessee State fired back with a touchdown with 2:16 remaining in the first quarter to tie it at 7-7 as Bryant took one 24 yards to the house. Gardner-Webb scored to go ahead 14-7 before the Tigers responded with a score of their own to tie things up at 14-14 as Draylen Ellis found Da’Shon Davis on a 55-yard TD pass.
Gardner-Webb then grabbed a 17-14 lead, but Tennessee State got on the scoreboard again at the 6:40 left mark in the third quarter with a seven-yard touchdown run from Jalen Rouse to jump back in front 21-17. The Tigers continued to add to their lead after Gardner-Webb closed the gap to 21-19, scoring again to go up 24-19 as Lowery connected on a 49-yard FG.
After a 16 yard passing TD from GWU to go up 25-24, the Tigers, led by kicker James Lowery would tack on three more points with 12 seconds left as he connected on a career-long 50-yard FG to put TSU in front 27-25. GWU connected on a pass on the final play of the game and tried a lateral, which was stopped by the Tiger defense to close out the win.
» Gardner-Webb outgained Tennessee State 364-341 in the contest.
» Tennessee State converted 7 of 20 third downs while Gardner-Webb was successful on 5 of 22.
» Monroe Beard III led the Tigers with 12 tackles.
» Tennessee State won the time of possession battle 31:08 to 28:52.
» Matthew Caldwell led the Bulldogs passing attack, completing 20 of his 49 attempts for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
» Narii Gaither led the Gardner-Webb rushing attack with 152 yards and one touchdown.
TSU will be off next weekend for their bye week.