The Tennessee State Tigers fell short in Eddie George’s head coaching debut, losing 16-10 to the Grambling State Tigers in the Black College Hall of Fame Classic.
The Black College Football Hall of Fame was established in 2009 by Grambling State alums and former NFL quarterbacks James Harris and Doug Williams. It is presented in association with the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The Black College Hall of Fame Classic was established in 2019 seeing the Morehouse Maroon Tigers play against the Alabama A&M Bulldogs.
Grambling State entered this game coming off a disappointing spring season in which they lost all four contests and had lost their last five games total dating back to the 2019 season.
Tennessee State looked to make a good impression in the debut of head coach and former Heisman trophy winner Eddie George. George was hired to become the coach of Tennessee State on April 13, adding former NFL head coach Hue Jackson as his offensive coordinator and former NFL assistant coach Brandon Fisher as his defensive coordinator.
The Tigers played in seven games during the spring, finishing 2-5. That includes losses in three of their final four contests. Tennessee State is looking to finishing the season with a record above .500 for the first time since 2017.
Grambling State quarterback Elijah Walker led the way for the offense, recording 43 passing yards on 4-of-11 passing while adding 77 yards and a score on the ground.
Senior linebacker Bryan Powell anchored the Grambling State defense with three tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack. Sophomore defensive lineman Sundiata Anderson finished with four tackles and two tackles for loss while junior linebacker Joshua Reed had six tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup.
Tennessee State was led on offense by freshman running back Devon Starling, who tallied 88 rushing yards on 18 attempts while scoring a touchdown of his own. Meanwhile, senior quarterback Geremy Hickenbottom completed 8-of-10 passes for 65 yards.
Junior defensive lineman Nate Sutton and freshman defensive lineman Chris Walker each recorded four tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss in the game.
Grambling State will travel to Mississippi next week to face Southern Mississippi while Tennessee State will play Jackson State in the Southern Heritage Classic.