Scotty Walden made sure his team remembered Tennessee State’s celebration in October.
The Tigers pulled off a 24-22 upset at Austin Peay on Oct. 2, and they celebrated as such; players ran from one side of Fortera Stadium to the other and even celebrated on the logo.
Walden and company had the last laugh on Saturday, Nov. 13. The Governors (5-5) defeated TSU 36-7 at Nissan Stadium.
“We went out and got some redemption against a team that got the best of us,” Walden said. “Our guys played with a chip on their shoulder. We had a chip on our shoulder from when they came to our place and got that win.
“When I walk off the field, I want to always feel like our team played extremely hard, and I felt like we played extremely hard tonight. I thought our guys wanted it.”
If not for a score with six seconds left, the Govs would have pitched a shutout to Tennessee State. The Tigers, who juggled three quarterbacks after Geremy Hickbottom was stretchered out in the first, were limited to 194 yards of offense.
Jerry Rice Watch List recipient Drae McCray blocked a punt in the first quarter and returned it for a touchdown to get the scoring started. From there, quarterback Draylen Ellis and kicker Maddux Trujillo scored six times to extend the advantage.
Ellis was 18-of-31 passing for 293 yards, and McCray and fellow receiver Baniko Harley combined for 218 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Jack McDonald and Troy Henderson, Jr. each added an interception on defense.
The win gives APSU its first winning streak of the year. After falling to 2-4 against Southeast Missouri, a victory in the finale to Tennessee Tech would finish their season at 6-5.
“It’s all about how you finish,” Walden said. “I think that says a lot about who you are as a program and who you are as a team.
“Having that three-game losing streak in the middle of the year with an opportunity to go on a three-game winning streak at the end of the year, I think it’s a big-time deal.”