Clarksville, TN–Despite the odds, the Tennessee State Tigers have always found a way to come together and play for a bigger cause, even if the results don’t add up in their favor.
Saturday night was full proof of that in a 49-34 road loss to Austin Peay. Before kickoff, both TSU and Austin Peay joined each other at midfield for a quick prayer in honor of Christion Abercrombie who suffered a near-fatal head injury last week at Vanderbilt. TSU traveled with Abercrombie’s jersey and helmet and displayed it on the bench to signal that he was still there in spirit.
“They gained a lot of respect from me. They didn’t have to do that, but they cared about our player. Anytime you do that it’s bigger than football,” said TSU receiver Chris Rowland.
Despite the loss, Rowland had a career day across the board with 11 receptions for 179 yards and three touchdowns. As the game progressed emotions ran high for both teams. Austin Peay broke a Fortera Stadium record with 12,201 fans in attendance and scored 49 points, the most in program history against Tennessee State.
As the game slowly slipped away from the Tigers the dejected faces and cluttered minds were in full effect.
“I don’t think we played well enough to win. I did a poor job getting this team prepared. We didn’t play TSU defense and we gave up too many yards rushing” said coach Rod Reed.
When asked about the pre-game prayer coach Reed told reporters “You can never have too many prayers for a situation like ours.”
Dante’ Ferguson Jr. a TSU linebacker also had Abercrombie on his mind Saturday.
“We see Christion as a brother, we might not be blood, but we built a bond over the summer as teammates. We’re losing a part of the team with our brother in the hospital.”
Saturday’s loss drops the Tigers to 2-2 and 1-1 in the OVC. Next week TSU travels to Murray State to play the Racers.
An NCAA sanctioned GoFundMe account was created for Christion Abercrombie for all who would like to make a donation.