NASHVILLE – Powered by 525 yards of total offense and an impressive defensive performance, the Tennessee State football team earned a 34-3 victory over Bethune-Cookman on Friday night at Nissan Stadium in the 20th annual John Merritt Classic.
Chris Rowland, who was voted offensive MVP, finished with 154 yards on seven receptions. He added 64 yards on four punt returns and one rush for eight yards for 226 all-purpose yards.
Micheal Hughes and DeMarco Corbin had rushing touchdowns, while DeVon Johnson had a touchdown catch.
DaJour Nesbeth added the exclamation mark with a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown with just over five minutes to play in the game for a 34-3 lead. LaQuarius Cook picked up an interception earlier in the game for the defense. Blair Edwards won defensive MVP after registering seven tackles, one sack and one pass breakup.
Freshman kicker Antonio Zita hit two field goals on the night in his collegiate debut.
TSU is back in action on Sept. 8 in Memphis for the Southern Heritage Classic versus Jackson State.
First-time starters for Tennessee State included Demry Croft, Anthony Geter, Raekwon Allen, Mekhi Brown, Christion Abercrombie, Dante’ Ferguson Jr., Te’kendrick Roberson and Nick Harper Jr.
Captains for TSU were Micheal Hughes, Demry Croft, Thomas Burton, Dell Porter and LaQuarius Cook.
TSU won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff.
Tennessee State is now 8-2 in the all-time series versus Bethune-Cookman.
TSU improves to 13-6 all-time in the John Merritt Classic.
Rod Reed is 21-4 in his TSU head coaching career versus HBCUs.
Reed secured his 50th career win as TSU’s head coach.
The last time TSU had 200-plus yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground was in the 2017 season opener at Georgia State.
TSU’s 525 yards of total offense are the most for the program since posting 577 on Nov. 22, 2014 at Murray State.
Courtesy: TnState Athletics