NASHVILLE — Tennessee State football opens its 2023 campaign on Saturday at #13 Notre Dame. Kickoff between the Tigers and Fighting Irish is set for 3:30 p.m. ET from historic Notre Dame Stadium. This trip to South Bend, Ind, marks the first time that Notre Dame has taken on a team from the FCS. This will be TSU’s first time taking on an FBS opponent in the season opener since 2017.
The Tigers will be under the leadership of third-year head coach Eddie George, whose team was picked fourth in the newly formed Big South-Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll. TSU finished 4-7 (2-3 OVC) in George’s second season a year ago. ND is coming off a 9-4 campaign that saw a trip to the Gator Bowl in 2022. The Fighting Irish are 1-0 this season after defeating Navy 42-3.
Tennessee State (0-0, 0-0) vs. Notre Dame (1-0, 0-0)
Date: Sat., September 2
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. CT
Location: South Bend, Ind.
Venue: Notre Dame Stadium (77,622)
Paul Burmeister (pxp)
Jason Garrett (analyst)
Zora Stephenson (Sideline)
Radio: WNSR — 560 AM, 95.9 FM (Nashville), 107.9 FM (Smyrna)
Sirius XM: Ch. 85 (NBC Sports) Stream: TSU Tigers App, WNSR.com, Alexa (Play WNSR)
Greg Pogue (pxp)
Albert Dawson (analyst)
SERIES INFORMATION: This is the first meeting between Tennessee State and Notre Dame.
WHERE TO WATCH & LISTEN: TSU Football can be heard on WNSR’s flagship network, 560 AM, 95.9 FM (Nashville), 107.9 FM (Smyrna), and WNSR.com. Globally, the broadcast can be heard on Sirius XM. Additionally, WNSR will offer in-depth pregame and postgame analysis, exclusive interviews with coaches and players, and behind-the-scenes content to engage fans on a deeper level. “The Voice of the Tigers” Greg Pogue returns for his 12th season behind the mic and will be joined by former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Chris Sanders. Nashville broadcasting legend Albert Dawson will fill-in for Sanders. The action can also be heard on the TSU Tigers app..
TSU BY THE NUMBERS
207: The number of yards head coach Eddie George rushed for against Notre Dame in 1995. George’s three touchdowns helped Ohio State defeat the Fighting Irish 45-25.
39: The number of players from Tennessee that are on the roster this year after having 35 in 2022. 26 of those players are local products that played their high school ball in Nashville.
17: The number of players on TSU’s roster who have already completed their bachelor’s degrees.
14: The number of FBS transfers on TSU’s roster. The Tigers picked up two SEC transfers this summer in defensive back Tyler Jones (Missouri) and wide receiver Lucien Brunetti (Tennessee). Former Michigan State product Trenton Gillison arrives from the Big Ten and is expected to contribute in big ways this season.
TSU IN SEASON OPENERS: TSU is 51-31-4 in season openers dating back to the 1933 season. The Tigers’ largest margin of victory in a season opener came in 1966 when they took down North Carolina A&T 58-0 to open the season. John Merritt’s team would finish that season 10-0 and take down Muskingum 34-7 in the Grantland Rice Bowl. TSU’s 55-19 loss to Middle Tennessee to open 1987 is the worst opening-day loss that the Tigers have suffered. TSU has posted 17 shutout wins in season openers since 1933, with the last one coming in the 2016 opener as the Tigers shutout Arkansas-Pine Bluff 44-0.
THE BIG STAGE: Tennessee State is 1-5 against FBS teams dating back to 2006. The Tigers have taken on Vanderbilt twice, Georgia State, Middle Tennessee Twice, and Mississippi State in that span. The Tigers picked up their first-ever FBS victory in the 2017 season opener as they defeated Georgia State. The Tigers have dropped their last four games against FBS opponents including two in the Eddie George area, a 49-6 loss to MTSU last season, and a 55-10 loss in 2021.
OUT EAST: The Tigers will play three games in the Eastern time zone this season. The last time TSU played in the Eastern Time Zone was in the 2021 season opener against Grambling State in Canton Ohio, as Eddie George made his coaching debut in a 16-10 loss. After opening up the season against Notre Dame in South Bend, the Tigers will also travel to Charleston S.C., and Kennesaw, Ga., for their other games in the Eastern Time Zone.
KEEPING IT 100: The Tennessee State defense has four players with 100+ career tackles heading into 2023, with three more players on the brink of reaching the century mark. Josh Green leads the team with 225, followed by Monroe Beard III who transfers into TSU with 141 career tackles that he tallied at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. James Green has notched 131 tackles, while Jalen Bell made 113 stops at Mississippi Valley State before transferring to TSU for his final year. Terrell Allen (87), Kenyon Garlington (77), and Jeremiah Josephs (70) will all look hit the 100 mark this season.
ELITE EIGHT: Eight true freshmen have made the travel roster for the season opener and will look to make their college debuts live on NBC against Notre Dame. Hadine Diaby (OL), Delanie Majors (WR), Jason Hoath Jr. (TE), and Ryder Hagan (QB) represent the offense, while Eriq George (DL), Terrence Carpenter (DL) and Sammy Taylor (LB) made the bus as defensive freshmen. Kicker Ahmed Mohammed will also travel as the backup kicker.
OLD HEADS: With redshirt years, injury redshirts, and extra years of eligibility from Covid, teams across the country have an abundance of 5th, 6th, and even 7th-year players. TSU has a combined 25 guys that are in their 5th-7th year of playing college football. James Green leads the in years in college football as he enters his 7th season. When James was a freshman at TSU in 2017, the current TSU freshmen were in the 7th grade. The Tigers have 10 6th years guys and 14th players in their 5th season.