The Tigers took advantage of good field position to charge back and steal a win over rival Florida A&M on Saturday night. Tennessee State improved to 3-1 with a 30-14 win over the FAMU (0-4) in front of 18,020 at Bragg Memorial Stadium.
Coming out of halftime, the Rattlers went for the big play on the second snap from scrimmage. Carson Royal found Kareem Smith for a 46 yard touchdown toss giving FAMU a 14-7 lead with 12:05 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
The Tigers would respond in a big way, by scoring 23 unanswered points.
The tide started to turn when punter Austin Rowley pinned the Rattlers with a 48 yard punt to the 10. The defense held tight and forced FAMU to punt from their own end zone, creating strong field position for the Tigers.
TSU would need just six plays to move 47 yards for the game tying score. On a third and 15 from the FAMU 38, Ronald Butler launched a ball towards Dantwaun O’Neal, but a Rattler defender was there to break up the play. The ball bounded in a fortunate way for the Tigers and into the arms of Patrick Smith in the end zone.
Rowley would come through again on his next attempt. The freshman had his shortest punt of the evening at 37 yards, but the ball would be downed at the one yard line. Three plays later, Jason Morrow broke through the offensive line and hit running back Devondric Nealy behind the goal line to record a safety and gave the Tigers its first lead of the game at 16-14 with 44 seconds remaining in the third quarter.