#32 Tennessee State FCS Football 2013 Preview

Tennessee State Tigers

Overall Rank: #32
#2 Ohio Valley

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The 2012 season started out great for Tennessee State. The Tigers won their first seven games. Yet, five of those games were at home and the stretch run included three road games, which the Tigers lost. In the end they finished with a paltry 4-3 mark in Ohio Valley Conference play and missed out on the playoffs with an 8-3 record. With a wealth of talent returning, Tennessee State will be hoping to get over the hump and make the playoffs in 2013. Once again, it could be extremely close.

2012 Record: 8-3, 4-3
2012 Postseason: None
Coach: Rod Reed (16-17 at Tennessee State, 16-17 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Jones
Defensive Coordinator: Osita Alaribe, Justin Roberts

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Telvin Hooks, RB, 425 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

Other Key Returnees: LB Gregory Barksdale, WR Joe Bowens, OL Kadeem Edwards, DT Samquan Evans, S Daniel Fitzpatrick, K Jamin Godfrey, OL Robert Myers, OL Demetrius Rhaney, CB Andrew Taylor, S David Van Dyke, WR Devin Wilson

Key Losses: OL Sherman Carter, OL Roger Gaines, WR Travis James, RB Trebis Ward

The Tennessee State defense ranked first in the conference in total yards allowed. For the first five games the team did not give up more than 14 points. The only time the Tigers allowed more than 30 points was in the three losses. That is going to happen against some offensively prolific teams in the OVC so the schedule can certainly be blamed for part of the drop off in defensive production towards the end of the year, but the defense was not able to keep it up. A lack of overall depth was part of the problem, but it will not be anymore. The Tigers are absolutely loaded on defense. The line returns end Antonio Harper and tackles Anthony Bass and Samquan Evans. All three can consistently get into the backfield. Linebacker Nick Thrasher led the squad with 105 tackles and should do so again. Gregory Barksdale will support the line by coming up from his linebacker spot and get into the backfield. Yet, it is the secondary that has the biggest superstar on the Tennessee State defense. Steven Godbolt is one of the best corners in the FCS. He intercepted six passes in 2012. While he may not tally quite as many this year, it will only be because the opposition is now smart enough to throw to the other side of the field. That is perfectly fine for Andrew Taylor, who is more than capable of making big plays of his own. Safeties Daniel Fitzpatrick and David Van Dyke are back and have proven very effective and versatile.

With running back Trabis Ward gone, the Tennessee State offense has reason for concern. Ward rushed for 1,422 yards and 15 scores in 2012. He created space for the rest of the offense to operate and now that may be gone. Quarterback Michael German had a promising sophomore season, throwing for 2,751 yards and 18 touchdowns. He increased his completion percentage compared to his freshman campaign and became a signal caller who could make big plays instead of just attempting to avoid mistakes. Tight end A.C. Leonard will be one of his favorite targets again. Leonard is one of the most productive tight ends in the collegiate ranks and is a nice, big target in the end zone. Travis James, who led the team with 55 catches, is gone, but Joe Bowens and Devin Wilson are ready to pick up the slack.

The Bottom Line:
The offensive line will feel the pressure to keep the run game moving effectively without Ward. Sherman Carter and Rogers Gaines are gone, but the line will be in good shape with Kadeem Edwards, Demetrius Rhaney and Robert Myers leading the way. If speedy back Telvin Hooks can manage more carries and Coach Rod Reed can find a productive big back to carry the load, the offense will be fine. Meanwhile, they can rely on the defense.

Projected Postseason: None

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 175.73 (36th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 250.91 (26, 4)
Total Offense: 426.64 (25, 4)
Scoring Offense: 28.82 (44, 7)
Rushing Defense: 153.09 (54, 2)
Pass Defense: 208.55 (52, 1)
Total Defense: 361.64 (50, 1)
Scoring Defense: 22.82 (41, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.18 (45, 4)
Sacks: 1.82 (71, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 1.55 (29, 4)

Madness 2013 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#21 Dantwaun O'Neal
#75 Patrick Smith
#90 Chris Sanders-McCollum


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