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Tennessee State's Preston Brown To Get Bulk Of Carries
Tennessee State began the season with a four-man rotation at running back, but Preston Brown changed that — at least for one game — last week.
The senior from Antioch rushed for 218 yards on 33 carries in a 33-26 loss to Jackson State. He leads the Ohio Valley Conference with 258 yards rushing.
Brown is the seventh TSU back to rush for more than 200 yards, and it was the best rushing performance by a Tiger since Javarris Williams ran for 229 on Oct. 14, 2006, against Florida A&M.
If Brown, who is the starter, picks up the momentum early again Saturday against Austin Peay, he could again get a large majority of the carries.
“When you have a multiple-back system you run them, run them, run them, and see which one’s hot and the one that’s hot you ride them till they can’t go anymore,'’ TSU Coach Rod Reed said. “If the first guy is hot, that’s the one you run. Then you put another one in, give that first guy a rest, and then you bring him back and ride him again.”
Brown was happy to carry the offense in what he called his best game since high school. The most yards he’d rushed for in a college game was 75 last season against Florida A&M.
“That was the game I’ve been wanting to have throughout my college career,'’ said Brown, who transferred from Arkansas State in 2008. “I saw a lot of difference in my line. They made a few corrections that really worked out for us.”
“I told Preston it was going to be a better week for him,” said left tackle Gershom Jordan, a senior from Whites Creek. “We made some improvements, basic stuff, just with our lining up. It made a difference last week, and it’s going to make an even bigger difference this week.”
Reed said the linemen simply moved closer to the line of scrimmage.
“A lot of zone blocking teams sit off the line of scrimmage,” Reed said. “We’re more of an aggressive zone blocking team, so stepping up closer helped.”
Brown was named the Football Championship Subdivision co-running back performer of the week by the College Football Performance Awards.
But the OVC offensive player of the week award went to Southeast Missouri quarterback Matt Scheible, who ran for 134 yards and passed for 140, including a TD, in a 30-17 win at Murray State.
The OVC players of the week are determined by a vote of the sports information directors from each team.
“Evidently the sports information directors weren’t in tune with our game and didn’t see the kind of individual effort that kid had,'’ Reed said. “It’s hard for anybody to rush for 200 yards and not be player of the week in their conference. The good thing is he was recognized nationally.”
The fact that Scheible led his team to a league win probably helped him earn the conference award, said OVC assistant commissioner for media relations Kyle Schwartz, who collects the ballots each week.
“His team won its game, and did so in an OVC contest, as opposed to Tennessee State, who came up just short in its game,” Schwartz said. “But both were outstanding performances.”
By Mike Organ, The Tennessean