ATLANTA — Dajour Nesbeth intercepted a pass with a minute remaining in the game to give Tennessee State a victory over Georgia State in Atlanta on Thursday. The Tigers earned a 17-10 win to pick up the first collegiate football win in Georgia State Stadium (formerly Turner Field).
The win was also the first win as an FCS team over an FBS opponent. TSU defeated Louisville in 1981 and in 1984 as an NCAA DI-A Independent squad. The Tigers transitioned from an NCAA DI-A team to an NCAA DI-AA team in the early 80s.
The defense stood tall the entire game, holding GSU to 81 yards in the first half. The Tigers kept the pressure on forcing four turnovers, recording three sacks and stopping GSU on two fourth down attempts.
- The Tigers outrushed Georgia State 238-49 and outgained the Panthers 383-273
- TSU won the time of possession holding on to the ball for 34:59 opposed to the Panthers 25:01
- The defense forced four turnovers, three fumbles and an interception
- Chris Collins, Neiman Armstrong and Jason Morrow each earned sacks in the opening contest
- Collins had a game high 12 tackles, nine solos and three tackles for loss
- Vincent Sellers recorded 10 tackles, seven solos, in his first collegiate game
- The Tigers had three runners with 70-plus yards rushing; Treon Harris had 11 carries for 91 yards, Seth Rowland carried nine times for 76 yards and Sabree Curtis went for 73 yards on 17 touches
- Harris and Rowland each crossed the end line for their first touchdowns of the season
- Patrick Smith caught six passes for 70 yards
- Harris finished 12-of-25 for 145 yards
- After a TSU Three-and-Out, Chris Collins forces a fumble on GSU’s second play from scrimmage; Justin North recovers giving the Tigers the ball at the TSU 27
- Treon Harris rushed for 17 yards on his first carry as a Tiger to the Tigers 45
- Harris followed with his first completion, a 20 yard gain to Patrick Smith
- Tigers continued down the field and received an eight yard scamper by Harris to the Panthers three yard line
- TSU would have to settle for an 18 yard field goal by Lane Clark to take a 3-0 lead with 6:05 remaining in the first quarter
- The Tigers first drive went 72 yards on 13 plays, taking up 6:42 seconds
- Harris hit Steven Newbold for 21 yards to start the Big Blues third possession
- The Tigers entered the Panthers half of the field on a 31 yard dash by Sabree Curtis
- The drive ended as GSU got a piece of Clark’s 38 yard field goal attempt
- The quarter with the Tigers outgaining the Panthers, 121-36
- The Tigers continued to move on the Panthers as Harris connected with Smith for nine yards to keep the drive alive on a third and long
- Curtis and Harris followed with runs of 15 and 21 yards, respectively, to enter GSU territory
- The Tigers capped off the series with a four-yard plunge by Seth Rowland to extend the lead to 10-0
- The touchdown drive took nine plays and traveled 64 yards in 4:11
- The Panthers got on the board with a 20 yard field goal with 4:07 remaining in the half
- The Tigers again went on a lengthy drive just before half
- TSU opened the 62-yard drive with an 11 yard pass from Harris to Andrew Knox
- Two plays later Harris teamed with Smith for a 16 yard gain, crossing midfield to the 47
- The Tigers took advantage of a penalty and a 10 yard run by Harris to enter the red zone
- After a holding call on a big run by Curtis, Harris went back to the air hitting Smith for 10 yards and Miles Cavitt for another 12
- Clark missed his second field goal (30) of the night with six seconds to go before the break
- The Tigers led the Panthers in total yardage at halftime, 247-81
- The defense continued to shine in the third period as they recorded two stops on fourth down attempts
- The Panthers were halted on the opening drive of the second half as they tried a run on fourth and two at the TSU 47
- Justin North stopped Kyler Neal for no yards to end the drive, one play after he stopped Neal at the line of scrimmage
- The Panthers moved out of the shadows of their own goal posts with a 59-yard pass play; a TSU penalty on the play added to the gain moving GSU to the Tigers 13
- Georgia State gambled on fourth and one from the Tigers four, but Chris Collins stuffed Neal inches from the line to gain and forcing a turnover on downs
- The Tigers reversed roles on GSU as Seth Rowland busted up the middle for a 59 yard run to the Panthers 37
- The run was the biggest play on the Panthers in two years
- Seven plays later, Harris rolled around the left side and rushed 12 yards into the end zone to put the seal on the 96-yard drive and pushing the lead to 17-3
- The defense continued its strong play on the next GSU series as Jason Morrow recorded a sack and LaQuarius Cook forced a fumble, allowing Blair Edwards to pick up the ball for the Tigers
- After three-quarters, the Tigers had 368 yards of total offense, 236 coming on the ground
- GSU entered the end zone early in the fourth stanza as they converted on a fourth down play, cutting into the Tigers lead, 17-10
- TSU relied on the defense in the fourth as the offense was held to 16 yards in the final quarter
- Dell Porter forced a fumble, allowing Ebenezer Ogundeko to fall on the ball, stopping GSU’s attempt to even the score
- Dajour Nesbeth sealed the win for the Tigers as he intercepted a pass and returned it 32 yards with less than a minute pla
The Tigers will travel to Memphis, Tenn. to take on Jackson State in the Southern Heritage Classic on Saturday, Sept. 9
- Captains for TSU were Lane Clark, Ebo Ogundeko, Patrick Smith and Chris Collins.
- Georgia State won the coin toss and deferred the opening kickoff.
- Weather at the time of kickoff was 82 degrees and mostly sunny.
- TSU was facing Georgia State for the first time in program history.
- Thursday was the first-ever collegiate game at the new Georgia State Stadium, formerly Turner Field.
- The official attendance for the game was 24,333, which is a sellout crowd.
- TSU was squaring off with an FBS program for the second season in a row after taking on Vanderbilt during the 2016 season.
- TSU is now 1-3 versus FBS opponents
- The Tigers have gone 7-1 in season openers under Head Coach Rod Reed.
- Senior All-American kicker Lane Clark scored the team’s first points on a 19-yard field goal in the opening quarter.
- Sophomore running back Seth Rowland scored TSU’s first touchdown of the season. The touchdown was a four-yard rush in the second quarter.
- With nine minutes left in the 3rd quarter, TSU picked up a 59-yard rush by Seth Rowland, which was the longest play allowed by Georgia State since the 2015 season.
- Thursday’s game aired live on ESPN3
Junior Offensive Tackle Christian Morris
— On beating an FBS Team
“First of all, this is a huge win. We’re an FCS team, and we came out there and beat an FBS team. They were very talented, but we handled business.”
— On the offensive line
“The Offensive line played phenomenal tonight. We had a couple mishaps, but we played phenomenal.”
Senior Linebacker Chris Collins
— On winning the opener
“It means a lot to the team. We felt like we wanted to start off the season strong. We feel like we played a great defensive game. Offensively, we played well too. I feel like we played a great game and now we just have to get ready for Jackson State.”
— On beating an FBS Team
“I don’t think many people outside of us thought we would win, but it’s good to prove people wrong. In our heart, we felt like we’re the best, so we expect to do things like that.”
Sophomore Running Back Seth Rowland
— On the win
“It means a lot to us. Coming into this game, I wanted to do it for the alumni and for our school. The alumni are what started this. Before the game, I tweeted, ‘keep the tradition alive,’ and that’s what we wanted to do.”
— On scoring a touchdown
“That was my first touchdown so I was really excited, but I have to give the credit to Sabree (Curtis) for getting us down there in the first place, and the line for blocking as well as they did. Treon (Harris) had a great drive, and it just played out for us.”
Freshman Safety Vincent Sellers
— On getting the win
“It feels good. It’s been a long camp, and we’ve been working very hard. Coach (Garry) Fisher has been on us every single day and it got us better. I just want to thank God because it’s a true blessing.”
— On winning his first college game
“I have my mom and dad here supporting me. They’ve been waiting to see me play my first college game. It was a total team effort. (Laquarius) Cook taught me everything I know right now, and we’re just going to keep pushing from here on.
Courtesy: Tenn. State Athletics