Sunday, November 6, 2016
TSU Tigers Top Austin Peay, 41-40, in OVC Thriller
CLARKSVILLE, Tennessee -- Freshman Steven Newbold caught his second touchdown of the game with 1.7 seconds left and Lane Clark kicked the extra point to give the Tennessee State football team a 41-40 road win over Austin Peay at Fortera Stadium on Saturday night.
A six-play, 81-yard touchdown drive led by senior quarterback Ronald Butler turned out to be the difference for TSU, which improved to 6-3 overall and 3-2 in Ohio Valley Conference play. On the final offensive play for the Tigers, Butler eluded the pass rush, stepped up in the pocket and delivered a 21-yard strike to Newbold in the corner of the endzone.
Butler turned in another strong performance with four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns to go with 342 yards of total offense.
On the other side of the ball, Antonio Justice, Jr. led the Tigers’ defense with nine tackles, 1.5 for a loss and one sack.
Austin Peay used a double lateral which gained 42 yards to move to the TSU 24. The Governors needed six more plays to enter the end zone as they scored on the first drive of the game to take a 7-0 lead. This marked the first lead the Govs have held in a game since week one of the season.
The Tigers responded with touchdowns on three consecutive drives to take a 20-9 advantage. Ronald Butler found Steven Newbold at the nine yard line and the freshman did the rest avoiding three governor defenders before crossing the goal line for the Tigers first score. APSU earned two points as the snap on the extra point attempt slipped through the hands of holder Austin Rowley. The Governors picked up the ball and used a lateral to return the other way to make the score 9-6.
The Tigers needed just two plays on their next drive to hit pay dirt. Butler opened the series with a 12 yard run moving to the APSU 27. Butler dropped back on the next play and found Mahlon Medley across the middle for the sophomore tight ends first career touchdown. The score gave the Tigers their forst lead of the game at 13-9.
The Tigers put together their longest drive on the next possession. TSU used nine plays to travel 92 yards for the final TSU score of the first half. Earl Harrison, in his first action in three games, broke through the middle of the line for a 43 yard run to the APSU 49 on the first play. The Big Blue offense continued the drive by converting on a 3rd-and-18 as Butler found Chris Rowland streaking down the middle of the defense for a 25 yard reception.
Three plays later the Tigers were in another third and long, only to see Butler connecting on a 17 yard pass play to Mazio Rhodes for another first down. On the very next play, Butler scampered for the first of his two rushing touchdowns as he went 13 yards untouched. The score extended the TSU lead to 20-9.
Austin Peay charged back with 10 unanswered points to cut the TSU lead to one at 20-19 as the two teams entered the locker room.
The second half began with Erick Evans carrying on back-to-back plays of seven and 19 yards as the Tigers crossed into Governors territory. Butler teamed with Patrick Smith for the only time in the game on a 39 yard strike, making the score, 27-19. Smith scored his 11th touchdown of the season and the 21st of his two-year career.
Butler continued his six touchdown night with the longest run in his career. The senior quarterback opted to keep the ball and broke around the right side of the line and outran the defense 84 yards. The scoring play gave TSU its largest lead of the game, 34-19.
The Governors came storming back with 21 straight points, taking a 40-34 lead with 1:05 remaining, setting up the Tigers final drive.
Newbold finished the game with four receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns. The true freshman now has five scoring catches on the season.
Next up for TSU is a home game versus Tennessee Tech on Nov. 12 at Hale Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. and the game will serve as Senior Day for the Tigers.
GAME NOTES: TSU captains were Ebo Ogundeko, Thomas Burton, Chris Collins and Ronald Butler… TSU won the coin toss and chose to kick off to start the game… Opening kickoff was at 3:59 p.m. … Official attendance was 6,041… TSU leads the all-time series with Austin Peay, 13-6… TSU is 2-0 in Sergeant York Trophy games this season… Freshman Steven Newbold picked up his first multi-touchdown game… Redshirt junior Patrick Smith registered his 21st career touchdown reception… Sophomore tight end Mahlon Medley caught his first career touchdown… Ronald Butler’s 84 yard touchdown rush was the longest of his career. Butler rushed for a career-high 130 rushing yards… Austin Rowley recorded a season-long 53 yard punt in the third quarter. His previous best this season was a 49 yarder… Saturday’s victory was the first for TSU in a road Ohio Valley Conference game since Nov. 22, 2014 at Murray State.
Quarterback Ronald Butler
“Only God. He brought me through it and only He can bring you through it in every aspect of the way. All I can say is, I love this team. We fought together and stuck together.”
- On the feeling of winning
“I knew that we had to take care of the ball. We’ve still got a lot of guys outside who can make plays. The way their defense set up, I saw pre-snap reads that we could make plays. Those guys did a great job. On the last play, give credit to Steven Newbold just making a play.”
- On the last drive
Wide Receiver Steven Newbold
“Honestly, the confidence is always there. We know the offense has a lot of talent. On the final drive, we just executed. The coaches made some good calls on the final drive, and everything came together.”
- On the confidence of the offense with the game on the line
“On the last play, all credit to Ronald Butler. He made a good play and put it up there for me to go up and get it.”
- On the last play
Defensive End Ebo Ogundeko
“It’s just us growing up as a team. We did it together as a family and us playing our roles as a family. We continued to focus on what we had to do. Coach Reed talks about it all the time, and it starts the beginning of the week until game day.”
- On getting back to winning
“After Austin Peay’s last drive, Steven (Newbold) said ‘Ebo, big bro, I’ve got you.’ I didn’t really take it into consideration about what he said until after he scored the touchdown. We didn’t have much time on the clock, but I had a lot of confidence in our offense. That was just unbelievable.”
- On the offense’s last drive
Defensive End Dell Porter
“For us, we’re getting back on track. We hate to lose, but we love to win. We’re getting back on track and we’re winning. We just have to make it consistent and keep doing it.”
- On getting back to winning
“To be honest, with all my heart, I have all the confidence in the world that our offense is going to do what they have to do. I haven’t seen an offensive player give up yet this season, so I feel 100 percent sure that Butler and the wide receivers and the offensive line would do great.”
- On the play of the offense
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