The calendars have changed but week one continues with the final OVC team taking the field tonight and it could see the OVC take down a number one team.
#23 Bethune-Cookman at Tennessee State ( 7 p.m. CDT) ESPN3
Tennessee State kicks off a schedule that has no bye weeks, at all. That’s right twelve straight games for the Tigers that return all eleven starters on the defense. The first test tonight is at LP Field against the number one ranked HBCU in Bethune-Cookman in the 15th annual John Merritt Classic. Tennessee State isn’t far behind in the rankings, as the Tigers were slotted third.
Ronald Butler makes his first start for the Tigers who return three offensive lineman and A.C. Leonard is a great target for the young signal caller. The question for the Tigers is the offense and more importantly will they run that ball as a many times as they did last year. Ron Reed called a run for a former RB Trabius Ward over 300 times last year, with Ward gone the Tigers are expected to split the carries between Telvin Hooks and Adam Davenport.
The defense is back and will be more important especially in the first two games as the offense goes through growing pains. Nick Thrasher said that Tennessee State would win the OVC and he gets to start the journey tonight against a very good Wildcat offense.
Bethune-Cookman returns their quarterback, Quentin Williams and their leading rusher Isidore Jackson who is their do everything player. On the stat sheet the Wildcats averaged 29 points a game last season while only allowing 18. The defense returns seven players including leading tackler, lineback Jarkevis Fields.
The Wildcats are 3-0 under Head Coach Brian Jenkins in season-openers.
Stat of the Day: Tennessee State will retire their first ever football jersey at halftime tonight as honor goes to HOF Richard Dent. Dent joins former TSU basketball star Richard Barnett, as the only two Tigers with their numbers retired.