Tennessee State FCS Football 2012 Playoff Capsule

Tennessee State Tigers
Ohio Valley


Tennessee State has had some highs and lows during the 2012 campaign. The team started with seven straight wins and was eyeing an Ohio Valley regular season title. A couple losses to Jacksonville State and Murray State put an end to those hopes pretty quickly. The Tigers had to sweat it before the selection show, but this is a pretty good squad that is capable of winning a playoff game or two.

2012 Record: 8-3, 4-3
Coach: Ron Reed

Big Wins: 9/22 at Behune-Cookman (21-14), 10/6 Eastern Kentucky (23-20)
Bad Losses: 10/20 at Jacksonville State (28-31), 11/3 at Murray State (28-49)

The Ohio Valley Conference is known for their offense. Tennessee State has a good offense, but their defense separated them from most others in the conference. The Tigers ranked first in the OVC in pass defense, total defense and scoring defense. The unit is talented across the board. Linebacker Nick Thrasher is a tackling machine and easily led the Tigers in that department. Safeties Daniel Fitzpatrick and David Van Dyke are extremely versatile and can come up and help in the run defense or stay back and swat away passes. Fitzpatrick is a big hitter too. The secondary gets even better when one looks at the corners. Steven Godbolt is the best of the bunch. Not only is he a pretty good tackler for a cornerback, but he is a big hitting ball hawk who averages over an interception every other game. Tennessee State even has a handful of proven pass rushers. Coach Ron Reed can send blitzes from anywhere on the field. And even when it is just the front four, the Tigers can get into the backfield.

The offense is hardly a weakness, but there were times this group had trouble keeping up with some of the other OVC teams. Trabis Ward is an absolute work horse. The 5-10, 200 pound running back fell just short of the 1,000 yard mark in 2011, but he easily surpassed it in 2012. If the opposition worries too much about Ward, quarterback Michael German will take over. German is just a sophomore, but he is a two year starter now. He built off his OVC Freshman of the Year campaign and has developed into a more consistent and smarter quarterback. Tennessee State would prefer to work from the ground game to open up the pass, but it does not always work out that way in conference play and that is when the Tigers have run into trouble. German is a fine quarterback with even better days yet to come, but Ward is the player who can get Tennessee State to the next round.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Trabis Ward, RB, 1,422 yards
Passing: Michael German, QB, 2,751 yards
Receiving: A.C. Leonard, TE, 733 yards
Tackles: Nick Thrasher, LB, 105
Sacks: Anthony Bass, DT, 4.0; Antonio Harper, DE, 4.0
Interceptions: Steven Godbolt, CB, 6

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 181.10 (34th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 240.50 (33, 5)
Total Offense: 421.60 (27, 6)
Scoring Offense: 29.10 (41, 7)
Rushing Defense: 158.50 (67, 3)
Pass Defense: 201.80 (45, 1)
Total Defense: 360.30 (48, 1)
Scoring Defense: 21.60 (31, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.50 (28, 3)
Sacks: 1.90 (56, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 1.50 (29, 4)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
1999    First Round    Lost to North Carolina A&T
1998    First Round    Lost to Appalachian State
1986    First Round    Defeated Jackson State
1986    Quarterfinals    Lost to Nevada
1982    Quarterfinals    Defeated Eastern Illinois
1982    Semifinals    Lost to Eastern Kentucky
1981    First Round    Lost to South Carolina State

*all team stats through 11/10


Playoff Central