NASHVILLE — Tennessee State University football second-year head coach Eddie George has officially released the 2022 football schedule as his Tigers will play five home games, the first under George’s leadership.
TSU will return to Hale Stadium for the first Fall game since the 2020 season as they will host Lane College in the annual John Merritt Classic on Oct. 1.
Tennessee State’s schedule will feature three teams that were ranked in last season’s final FCS Coaches Poll and two that qualified for the FCS Playoffs. The Tigers will face Eastern Washington (9th), UT Martin (12th), and Jackson State (19th).
Big Blue’s slate also features three HBCU programs and the first for a Homecoming since 2014.
Week 1 — Sept. 3
TSU at Eastern Washington
Roos Field // Cheney, Wash.
All-Time Series: First Meeting
The Tigers will start the season out West for the first time since Sept. 15, 1967, when they visited San Diego State University. Eastern Washington finished last season with a 10-3 overall record and fell in the second round of the FCS Playoffs to Montana. The Eagles are led by 5th-year head coach Aaron Best.
Week 2 — Sept. 10
TSU vs. Jackson State
Liberty Bowl // Memphis, Tenn.
All-Time Series: TSU, 30-22-2
The 33rd installment of the Southern Heritage Classic will pit the Tigers and Jackson State at the Liberty Bowl. TSU is 17-14 all-time in the SHC while Jackson State is 12-17. The Tigers faced Mississippi Valley State in 1991 and Grambling in 1993. TSU is looking to get back in the win column after dropping the last two contests. Jackson State is led by Deion Sanders.
Tickets for the Southern Heritage Classic go on sale on April 8. Tickets are $53, $38 and $23 plus service charges.
Week 3 — Sept. 17
TSU at Middle Tennessee State
Floyd Stadium / Murfreesboro, Tenn.
All-Time Series: MTSU, 10-9
Former OVC foes will get back on the gridiron as the Battle of I-24 will be played up the road in Murfreesboro. TSU and MTSU have not met since 2019. Prior to that, TSU and MTSU were members of the OVC before the Blue Raiders made the jump to the FBS level in 1999. MTSU is coming off a Bahamas Bowl victory over Toledo to end the 2021 campaign.
Week 4 — Sept. 24
Week 5 — Oct. 1
Lane College at TSU
Hale Stadium / Nashville, Tenn.
All-Time Series: TSU, 5-0-4
The Lane College Dragons of the SIAC will make its first trip to Nashville since 1996 and only the second meeting in the last 84 years. The Dragons finished 6-4 last season under second-year head coach Vyron Brown.
Week 6 — Oct. 8
Bethune-Cookman at TSU
Nissan Stadium / Nashville, Tenn.
All-Time Series: TSU, 8-2
Tennessee State will welcome fellow HBCU institution Bethune-Cookman to Nissan Stadium for the 2022 edition of Homecoming. TSU last hosted an HBCU for its homecoming back in 2014, when Florida A&M was sent back to the Sunshine State after a 27-7 thumping at the hands of the Tigers. A member of the SWAC, BCU struggled last season with a 2-9 mark.
Week 7 — Oct. 15
TSU at Tennessee Tech
Tucker Stadium / Cookeville, Tenn.
All-Time Series: TSU, 15-20
Also read: Eddie George believes Deion Sanders would be ‘good fit’ for NFL coaching job
The OVC opener has the Tigers on the road once again for the sixth straight season. Last year, the Tigers defeated the Golden Eagles, 20-13 in overtime at Nissan Stadium behind 376 total yards. TSU sent the game to the extra frame with five seconds remaining on a 24-yard field goal before Dayron Johnson caught a 13-yard TD pass from Geremy Hickbottom to complete the comeback victory. Since 2015, TSU is 6-2 against its State of Tennessee foe.
Week 8 — Oct. 22
Eastern Illinois at TSU
All-Time Series: EIU, 15-11
28-0. That was the final score last season as the Tigers picked up their first D1/OVC defensive blanking since 2013, a 31-0, win over SEMO. The last overall shutout was a 60-0 win over Virginia Lynchburg in 2017. Hickbottom ran for two TDs and RB Devon Starling finished with 122 rushing yards and one TD. Eddie Graham and James Green each secured interceptions for the Tigers.
Week 9 — Oct. 29
TSU at Murray State
Roy Stewart Stadium / Murray, Ky.
All-Time Series: Murray St, 18-14
In last season’s Homecoming contest, Hickbottom ran for three touchdowns and threw for another in the win in front of 8,627 fans. The win snapped a five-game winning streak for the Racers. This season will be Murray’s last as a football member of the OVC.
Week 10 — Nov. 5
SEMO at TSU
All-Time Series: SEMO, 15-14
SEMO picked up a 47-14 victory last season and is riding a four-game winning streak over the Tigers. Over the past 10 seasons, the Tigers and Redhawks have split the season series.
Week 11 — Nov. 12
UT Martin at TSU
All-Time Series: TSU, 18-13
The defending OVC Champions return to Nashville for Senior Day. Last season, the Skyhawks defeated the Tigers 41-20. Starling finished with 78 rushing yards and 117 reception yards.
Week 12 — Nov. 19
TSU at Texas A&M Commerce
Memorial Stadium / Commerce, Texas
All-Time Series: First Meeting
As part of the OVC/Southland Conference scheduling alliance, the Tigers and Lions will meet for the first time. TAMC is transitioning to the Southland in 2022 after competing in the D2’s Lone Star Conference.
Courtesy: Tennessee State Athletics
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