NASHVILLE – Tennessee State closed out the 2021 spring season dropping a 46-23 decision to SE Missouri at Hale Stadium in what would be the last game coached by Rod Reed.
The Redhawks jumped out to a 9-0 lead on a safety and a touchdown five minutes into the game. The visitors from Cape Girardeau, Mo. continued to put pressure on the Tigers in all aspects of the game, gaining 507 yards and blocking two kicks.
The Tigers tried to fight back by amassing 367 total yards, including the third 100-yard rushing performance by redshirt freshman Devon Starling.
Quarterback Deveon Bryant finished the day with 88 yards on the ground and 154 through the air after completing 7-of-23 passes.
Trailing 9-0, Bryant hit Josh Trueheart down the middle of the field for a 39-yard touchdown. The lead was cut to three at 9-6 after the extra point attempt went off the left upright.
The Redhawks responded on their next drive and went on to build a 39-9 lead after three quarters.
On the final play of the third quarter, Bryant teamed up with Cam Wyche for the 10th longest pass play in program history.
Wyche found himself wide open in the middle of the field and made his way down to the SEMO seven yard line for an 80-yard pass play. TSU scored three plays later on a three-yard touchdown blast by Starling. The score stayed at 39-15 as the two-point conversion fell short.
Bryant capped off the scoring on the day with a 10-yard touchdown run. The Tigers produced the final score, 46-23, as Starling ran in the two-point play.
Postgame quotes by TSU head coach Rod Reed
On the game:
Again guys. This was a very disappointing loss. We knew coming into the game we were going to be short-handed. We had 22 guys available on defense and after the first series James Green went down and it started to go downhill a little bit. We had 22 guys on offense. Cam Durley got hurt early and we didn’t respond well. I talked to the team last night. I know a lot of the rumors that are going around are going to be addressed. I had to address that with my team. I can neither confirm nor deny any of those rumors. All I know is we had a job to do and I had to address it with my football team. We did that last night. I won’t be answering any questions on that. If you have any questions about that game, I can surely answer. At the end of the day, it’s my job to get the team ready to play. Personally, this will be the last time I coach this team. I will field any other questions relating to the game.
What was the game-changer today?
I said this is the last time I’d coach this team. We have another team coming back in the fall. It felt like any other game to me. We wanted to go out there prepared. We got a kicked blocked today which is very uncommon for us. We’ve got the best kicking game in the league. I was disappointed because we had two touchdowns over two botched kicks which blew the game open.
When will you address the coaching situation?
When the situation arises. I’m sure when something happens I or the media relations staff will let you guys know.
On the team and the year’s performance:
We played some impressive football this year. I think was like spring ball for us. We have a lot of young guys out there. This team only has six seniors on it. Guys that are making plays out there. The freshmen kids have been doing really well. I think that our sophomore and junior class is Grade A. I just told them that I see a great future for these guys. There’s some real talent on the team. If we can get everyone in the room playing at the same time, we had a kid out with COVID today. He did not get an opportunity to play. Jahsun Bryant is a kid who is probably the Defensive Player of the Year candidate at the linebacker spot that didn’t get a chance to play a snap this year. Raymond Horton didn’t play at all. Larry Wilhoite, Aaron Cauthen was one of our starting tight ends. He didn’t have a chance to play this year. The young guys. The James Greens, the Josh Greens, Kenyon Garlington of the world. Those guys I think the future is really bright for them. I think this team has a championship pedigree. This team is like the 2010, 2011 recruiting class that we had. Next year will be the year that they will really start to blossom.
Courtesy: Tennessee State Athletics