By Mike Patton
Special to the Tribune
MEMPHIS, TN — The Tennessee State University Tigers came out to the bright lights and energetic fans at the Liberty Bowl for the Southern Heritage Classic on Sept. 3 with the intent of taking down one of the top teams in FCS football _ Jackson State University Tigers. And although TSU was right there with Jackson State for majority of the game, Jackson State would salt the game away in the end after a Shadeur Sanders touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter put Jackson State up 16-3, the final score.
The Tigers are now sitting at 0-2, exactly the same record at this time last season, but there is optimism about this team and how they are going to be as the season goes on. For starters, both teams they have faced this season were ranked in the FCS Top 25. And in both games, Tennessee State had a chance to win.
Another good thing is the Tigers, and quarterback Draylen Ellis, are learning things from the start of the season.
“Never get too high or never get too low. Because you never know what could happen. Just stay the course and play the game. Whatever the gameplan is, just follow it and execute,”he said.
The team is growing but in growth, there are also some things that take time. Consistency within the first two games has been an issue. In the first game, the offense was rolling and the defense didn’t have its best game. In the second game, the offense struggled and the defense was spectacular. TSU head coach Eddie George understands and knows there will be bumps along the road to getting better.
“I have to remind myself that we have 22 new guys on our team and we are still learning to gel and learning each other and it is a growing situation. So we have to learn through these situations in order to grow,” George said.
The good thing is next week the Tigers do not have to travel far to get their next opportunity to learn and grow. “They head to Murfreesboro to take on the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders at 6 pm CST on Saturday night. It will be worth watching to see the next step in the growth of this team.