Tennessee State holds of Murray State rally gets 27-21 win

Murray State Logo

21Murray State 3-5 , 0-3

Tennessee State Univ Logo

27 Tennessee State 5-3 , 3-1


The Tennessee State Tigers ran their current win streak to four with a 27-21 Homecoming victory over the Racers of Murray State.

After forcing a three-and-out on tsu’s first drive of the game, the Racers embarked on an 11 play, 41 yard drive that ultimately proved fruitless, as Aaron Baum missed a 33-yard field goal attempt, leaving the game still scoreless. The team would exchange punts for the game’s next three offensive drives and then Murray State took over following the last TSU punt at midfield, but was unable to turn that good field position into points as Baum missed his second field goal attempt of the half, this one from 49 yards out.

Tennessee State’s next drive would be stunted by two false start penalties forcing them to punt and the Tiger defense forced the racers to flounder on the subsequent possession, forcing a punt. The TSU offense finally put it in gear, marching 85 yards in 13 plays powered mostly by quarterback Geremy Hickbottom who completed 4 passes for 52 yards and ran it three times for 30 yards, including the 8 yards scamper that got the Tigers in the end zone and up 7-0 with the successful point-after. .

This is where the score would remain heading into halftime.

Hickbottom and the Tennessee State offense went right to work, scoring on their first possession of the second half on an electrifying 65-yard run from Hickbottom that put the Tigers up 14-0. The TSU defense forced a Murray State punt, giving the ball right back to the Tigers offense. A 32-yard Devon Starling run put the Tigers in Racer territory and three plays later they would find the end zone for the third time of the day when Hickbottom connected with Josh Trueheart on a 24-yard touchdown pass. The successful extra point would put Tennessee State up 21-0 and appeared to be on the path to a comfortable Homecoming victory.

Unfortunately for TSU and their fans, Murray State had other plans.

After the Hickbottom-to-Trueheart touchdown , Murray state answered with an 11 play, 70 yard drive that ended in a Preston Rice 6-yard touchdown run to bring the score to 21-7.

After another unproductive Tennessee State offensive possession that resulted in a punt, the Racers embarked on a 10 play, 78-yard drive that ended when DA Witherspoon hit paydirt from four yards out to draw Murray State to within seven at 21-14.

The game’s next three offensive possessions would bookended by Tennessee State punts and once Murray State obtained possession from that last punt they only needed one play, a 54-yard pass from Preston Rice to LaMarte Brooks to square things at 21.

Tennessee State showed mettle and responded with an 8 play, 62-yard drive that gave the lead back to the Tigers when Hickbottom scampered in from 7 yards out. The PAT was blocked, leaving the score at 27-21.

Now it was time for the Tigers defense to answer bell land that they did, forcing a turnover-on-downs to give back to the TSU offense who was able to run out the clock.

For Geremy Hickbottom this was another game where, offensively speaking, his handprints were all over. He completed 17 of his 29 passes for 159 yards and a score but also ran the ball nine times for 87 yards and another three touchdowns. Devon Starling enjoyed another productive outing, rushing for 77 yards on 14 carries.

Tennessee State, winners of 5 of their last 6 , including four straight in OVC play will head to Martin, Tennessee next week to take on the Skyhawks of UT Martin. Kickoff is scheduled for 2pm CST.

The Racers return to friendly confines of Roy Stewart Stadium next week when Tennessee Tech comes calling. That matchup is set to kickoff at 1pm.

Team Statistics

Game StatsMURTSU
Total Yards378321
Pass Yards193159
Rushing Yards185162
Penalty Yards7-6010-99
1st Downs2315
3rd Downs9-172-10
4th Downs0-11-1
TSU03:50 – TSU – HICKBOTTOM,Ger 8 yd run (ZITA, Antonio kick), 12 plays, 85 yards, TOP 3:2807
TSU12:27 – TSU – HICKBOTTOM,Ger 65 yd run (ZITA, Antonio kick), 3 plays, 67 yards, TOP 1:22014
TSU08:04 – TSU – TRUEHEART, Josh 24 yd pass from HICKBOTTOM,Ger (ZITA, Antonio kick) 5 plays, 64 yards, TOP 1:47021
MUR02:09 – MUR – Rice, Preston 6 yd run (Baum, Aaron kick), 11 plays, 70 yards, TOP 5:47721
MUR10:09 – MUR – Witherspoon, Da 4 yd run (Baum, Aaron kick), 10 plays, 78 yards, TOP 4:401421
MUR04:30 – MUR – Brooks, LaMarte 54 yd pass from Rice, Preston (Baum, Aaron kick) 1 plays, 54 yards, TOP 0:112121
TSU01:41 – TSU – HICKBOTTOM,Ger 7 yd run (ZITA, Antonio kick blocked), 8 plays, 62 yards, TOP 2:412127

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