By Chris McGee
The Colonels football team (4-2 2-1 OVC) had the Tigers of Tennessee State (6-0 3-0 OVC) by the tail Saturday, but let them go.
Eastern took a 20-10 lead into the fourth quarter on a Luke Pray field goal, but was not able to stop Tennessee State from scoring on its last two possessions to win the game.
Tennessee State quarterback Michael German put the game out of reach for the Colonels with a touchdown on a one -yard quarterback sneak with eight seconds left in the game.
Coach Dean Hood is not placing the blame for the loss on anyone but the team.
“We put ourselves in this position,” Hood said. “We have to go out there and execute and we didn’t do that.”
Perhaps one of the most telling statistics in the loss is the fact the Colonels made five trips to the red zone and scored only two touchdowns.
But Coach Hood said the team will watch film and see what they did wrong and improve on it.
Senior offensive lineman Aaron Adams had one word for the team’s attitude after the game: hungry.
“We are hungry to get back on the field and back to work so that we can try and get a win Saturday,” Adams said.
Adams has had to change roles since senior offensive lineman Patrick Ford went down with a knee injury. Prior to Ford’s injury, Adams was playing right tackle. After the injury, the coaches moved him to left tackle.
Coach Hood said he is proud of how “the next guy up” players have responded.
“In our conference, two or three injuries can be devastating to a team,” Hood said. ” If you go back to the summer and think about all the guys we’ve lost to injury, for the season, or academic eligibility, the list is pretty extensive. These next in line guys have really stepped up and answered the call for their team.”
The Colonels opponent for the Homecoming game Saturday, Oct. 13 will be familiar one-Austin Peay State University.
Eastern is 2-2 against the Governors, but last year’s last second loss is still lingering with some players, such as junior defensive lineman Shawn Shuperd who experienced his first loss against Austin Peay last season.
“I remember the awful feeling I had after last year’s loss,” Shuperd said. “There were a lot of things the defense did wrong; we beat ourselves because I felt like we could have won that game. I’m ready to get back out there and show them this year.”
Although this is the Homecoming game for the Colonels, Coach Hood said he has stressed to the team the order their priorities should be in.
“I told the team it was good that their families are coming out to watch them play, but that their first responsibility is to the team,” said Hood.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13.