Tennessee State’s season-opening home victory over Florida A & M on Saturday offered plenty of obvious positives.
The Tigers held off the Rattlers, 17-14, with a dramatic goal-line stand in the final minute, marking the first time they’ve managed back-to-back victories over FAMU since 1986-87. TSU gained 401 total yards, with 263 passing from quarterback Michael German and 124 rushing from running back Trabis Ward.
But one glaring negative led people to ask an obvious question when the game was done: How good can the Tigers be if they avoid some of the school-record 20 penalties that cost them 178 yards against FAMU?
“We’ve got to iron out the penalties,” said TSU coach Rod Reed, whose team will face Jackson State at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Southern Heritage Classic at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. “We had over 13 penalties in the first half, and that’s unacceptable. That’s an undisciplined football team. It’s my job to correct those things.”