Despite getting off to a slow start this season, Tennessee State football has drawn crowds.
Through the first five weeks of the regular season, TSU (1-4) is averaging 16,892 fans in attendance. The Tigers played in front of 11,553 at Hale Stadium against Lane College and 22,231 on homecoming versus Bethune-Cookman a week ago.
It doesn’t stop there, Tennessee State is ranked second in the FCS in overall average attendance behind Jackson State at 28,378.
The revelation impressed second-year head coach Eddie George, who had pushed for more fan investment after a dip in interest in 2021.
“I am elated, I just wish we would have won all those games,” George Tuesday during the Ohio Valley Conference coaches media call. “Last year was eye-opening to see the Tennessee State faithful really not come out in droves, but this year they’ve come out and supported us. To see the Hale Stadium the way that it was exciting and to see Nissan Stadium with the lower half almost full was really exciting. It definitely makes a difference in terms of us having a home-field advantage.”
The turnaround has been a breath of fresh air a calendar year removed from George saying the team was playing home games with “literally nobody in the stands.”
“The size of the crowd can absolutely make a difference in the way that a team plays,” said George.”I played in some empty stadiums when the Oilers came to Tennessee and when they were still in Houston so I know it can definitely have an affect on you. Our players feed off of that energy.”
As OVC play begins on Saturday at Tennessee Tech, George is hoping the final home stretch for TSU — that includes games versus Eastern Illinois (Oct. 22), SEMO (Nov. 5) and UT Martin (Nov. 12) — will continue to feature large crowds.
“We just want to put a product on the field that our fans can be proud of and will want to come out and support each and every week,” said George. “And we want to be as close to the fans as possible.”
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