In a thrilling showdown at the Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium on Saturday night, September 9th, 2023, the 34th Southern Heritage Classic showcased a riveting battle between Tennessee State University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). Under the guidance of Coach Eddie George, TSU was victorious with a final score of 24-14, marking George’s first Classic win since 2021. Despite some defensive challenges, the Tigers managed to maintain their lead and secure a significant early-season triumph.
The Game’s Key Moments
From the onset, the Tigers took control of the game. Tennessee State scored their first touchdown with 7:10 remaining in the first quarter, putting them ahead 7-0. They continued to dominate, adding another touchdown just before halftime, extending their lead to 14-0. However, UAPB refused to back down. They put points on the board with a field goal, narrowing the gap to 14-3 in the third quarter.
Photo Cred: The Commercial Appeal
The game’s intensity heightened as the Golden Lions launched a determined comeback in the fourth quarter, capitalizing on a faltering Tennessee State defense. They scored two touchdowns, bringing the score to a suspenseful 14-17 in favor of UAPB, with hopes of forcing an overtime showdown. Yet, the Tigers had one final play up their sleeves. With just 53 seconds left, Brent Rowe delivered a crucial block, allowing James Green to make a remarkable 92-yard return, securing the game for Tennessee State.
Lead Scorers Shine
Several key players stood out in this thrilling encounter:
- Deveon Bryant, Tennessee State’s quarterback, showcased his precision with a 73.7% completion rate, going 14-for-19 in passes. He averaged an impressive 9.2 yards per attempt and contributed significantly on the ground, amassing 80 rushing yards at an average of 8 yards per carry.
- Jalen Rouse led the rushing yards for the Tigers with a remarkable 91 yards, averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
- The receiving corps also played a pivotal role, with Dayron Johnson completing four catches for 64 yards and Trenton adding five catches for 57 yards.Photo Cred: The Commercial Appeal
This win elevates Tennessee State to a season record of 1-1, providing them with a boost of confidence early in the season. Meanwhile, UAPB is 0-2, looking to regroup and bounce back in the upcoming games. The 34th Southern Heritage Classic showcased the resilience and determination of both teams, providing fans with a memorable night of college football in Memphis. Coach Eddie George and the Tennessee State Tigers celebrated a hard-fought victory, while UAPB demonstrated their capacity to rally against adversity. As the season progresses, both teams will continue to captivate football enthusiasts across the nation.