The Tennessee State football team put up a valiant effort, which was derailed by miscues, but ultimately came up short in the waning minutes against Eastern Washington in the first meeting of the two schools, 36-29.
It was fireworks in the first quarter, with 29 points scored between the two teams. Tennessee State got things going right away, scoring on their first play from scrimmage via a 47-yard run from Zach Dobson that displayed determination and speed that put the Tigers up 7-0. Eastern Washington would claim the head later in the quarter, ending a 7-play, 80-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Gunner Talkington to Nolan Ulm, and subsequent successful two-point conversion made the score 8-7.
Tennessee State struck back on their very next drive – jumping back out front when Draylen Ellis connected with Cam Wyche on a 57-yard touchdown pass, the PAT was unsuccessful, leaving the score at 13-8. It was EWU’s to answer back, and that they did needing only 5 plays and just 99 seconds to travel 75 yards lending on Talkington’s second scoring pass of the game and quarter,this one a 22-yard pass to Robert Mason III to put the Eagles up 15-13, with the successful PAT. TSU answered back with a 7-play, 80-yard drive, over half of which came on Devin Starling’s 43-yard td scamper. A failed two-punit conversion left the score at 19-15 and closing out an explosive first quarter.
With 6:56 left in the second quarter, EWU recovered a Draylen Ellis fumble deep in TSU territory and took advantage of the turnover 5 plays later when Talkington connected with Blake Gobel from 14 yards out for his third TD pass of the afternoon to put the Eagles up 22-19. Late in the quarter Brock Harrison sacked Ellis, causing a fumble that Caleb Davis recovered setting up the Eagle offense at the TSU 48 yard line. Five plays later the EWU offense found the end zone once again when Talkington hit Efron Chism III from a yard out, to put Eastern Washington out front 29-19 headed into the half.
The offenses were silent in the the third quarter with neither able to put together any drives that was able to pick up multiple first downs much less threatened to score. A 55-minute lightning delay with 3:12 remaining aided the ineffective offensive play in the period.
Tennessee State used a 12-play, 78 yard drive that ended in a Kaleb Mosley 32-yard field goal to put their first points on the board since the first quarter and cut the Eastern lead to seven at 29-22. A second march down the field (11 plays, 72 yards) that ended in a Houdini-esque 4-yard from Ellis that knotted the game at 29. Unfazed by the evaporation of their ten point lead, Eastern Washington mbarked on an 11 play, 75-yard drive that would put the Eagles back up by 7 when Talkington tossed his fifth touchdown of the afternoon – a well-placed bull to Chism III, his second score of the day, giving EWU a 36-29 advantage. Talkington had himself a day , completing 29 of his 46 passes for 348 yards and 5 touchdowns.
An aspiration game-tying drive from TSU I was hindered by questionable clock management and a general lack of urgency that would culminate in a turnover on downs, effectively ending the game.
In a long effort ‘Draylen Ellis played well, completing 17 of 27 passes for 1257 wo touchdowns, but he had three turnovers (2 fumbles and an interception). Devin Starling was a problem Eastern Washington was unable to solve I Starling ran wild on the Eagles, racking up 208 yards on the ground and a touchdown
Up next for TSU is a meeting next week with Jackson State in the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis, TN Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00pm CST.
|13:38 – TSU – Dobson,Zack 67 yd pass from Ellis,Draylen (Mosley,Kaleb kick) 1 plays, 67 yards, TOP 00:15||7||0|
|08:01 – EWU – Ulm,Nolan 7 yd pass from Talkington,Gunner (Carpenter,Jett pass) 7 plays, 80 yards, TOP 02:07||7||8|
|05:18 – TSU – Wyche,Cam 57 yd pass from Ellis,Draylen ( ) 6 plays, 87 yards, TOP 02:35||13||8|
|03:39 – EWU – Mason III,Robert 22 yd pass from Talkington,Gunner (Harrison,Seth kick) 5 plays, 75 yards, TOP 01:39||13||15|
|00:51 – TSU – Starling,Devon 43 yd run ( ), 7 plays, 80 yards, TOP 02:38||19||15|
|05:40 – EWU – Gobel,Blake 14 yd pass from Talkington,Gunner (Cleaver,Jackson kick) 5 plays, 26 yards, TOP 01:16||19||22|
|00:45 – EWU – Chism III,Efton 1 yd pass from Talkington,Gunner (Cleaver,Jackson kick) 5 plays, 41 yards, TOP 00:57||19||29|
|13:09 – TSU – Mosley,Kaleb 32 yd field goal 12 plays, 78 yards, TOP 04:43||22||29|
|06:32 – TSU – Ellis,Draylen 4 yd run (Mosley,Kaleb kick), 11 plays, 72 yards, TOP 04:47||29||29|
|02:39 – EWU – Chism III,Efton 13 yd pass from Talkington,Gunner (Cleaver,Jackson kick) 11 plays, 75 yards, TOP 03:53||29||36|