Can Tennessee State bounce back against SE Missouri?

Saturday Tennessee State will meet Southeast Missouri in a game that could shuffle the leaderboard in the Ohio Valley Conference.

The #20 Redhawks enters the contest fresh off a 28-23 defeat at the hands of Eastern Kentucky last week, despite the efforts junior wide receiver Ryan Flournoy, who had a career day hauling in 15 receptions for 256 yards and a touchdown. FLournoy’s was the second most prolific receiving game in SEMO history, behind Kristian Wilkerson, who piled up 263 yards October 27, 2018 against UT Martin. Geno Hess ran for 81 yards on 16 carries; quarterback Paxton DeLaurent threw for 375 and a touchdown, but 2 interceptions , including the game sealing turnover on the potential go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter. For the Redhawks, it was the third quarter that did them in, a period in which Eastern Kentucky scored 22 points.

Tennessee State had the unfortunate pleasure of being Murray State’s first victory of the season, as the Racers defeated the Tigers 19-3. Murray State dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball , running for 194 yards( 99 from Damonta Witherspoon and 88 from Cortezz Jones), while holding the Tigers to just 77 yards on the ground and sacking Draylen Ellis 5 times. On a recent media call, Coach Eddie George said in a recent media call that the team was “not locked in” last week and it showed in the numerous pre and post snap penalties Tennessee State was hit with.

Why SEMO can win:

The RedHawks have the top-ranked rushing attack in the Ohio Valley Conference, averaging 196.4 yards per contest. Gino Hess is a big reason for that, as he averaging 114.8 yards per game. The passing game is no slouch, ranking third in the conference at 283.0 yards per game. Receivers Johnny King and Ryan Flournoy have both topped 650 yards on the season . SEMO brings an attack that will force Tennessee State to honor both the run and the pass and that will lead to opportunities for Hess in the running game and DeLaurent and those receiver through the air. The Redhawks offensive line is adept in both pass and run blocking, which could spell a long day for the Tennessee State defense. On the other side of the ball. Southeast Missouri also boasts the no.1 run defense in the OVC, allowing 107.1 yards per game and they are second in sacks with 20 which means the will be able to potentially stuff Jalen Rouse, Devon Starling and the TSU run game and they can get to quarterback Draylen Ellis.

Why Tennessee State can win:

For Tennessee State they will have to get back to the formula that served them so well in the three-game winning streak- running the ball effectively and playing solid and opportunistic defense. The Tigers have the best scoring defense in the OVC, only allowing 24.5 points per game; the defense also ranks no.1 in total defense, pass defense, and defensive pass efficiency. The TSU defense is also third most proficient at getting to the opposing quarterback with 19 sacks on the season and they allow the least amount first downs with 18 per contest. If the defense can get back to playing fast, physical and aggressive as in the three games prior to the Murray game they can slow down the SEMO offense. The Tigers must win the battle up front on both sides of the ball, to slow down Hess, but open up lanes for Starling and Rouse and protect Draylen Ellis.


Tennessee State : 24
SEMO : 21

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