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Tennessee State ends OVC playoff drought
Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Tennessee State put an emphatic end to a 13-year drought for Ohio Valley Conference teams in the FCS playoffs, routing Butler, 31-0, in the first round Saturday.
Junior quarterback Michael German threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns to spark Tennessee State (10-3) into the second round at No. 2 seed Eastern Illinois next Saturday.
That game will guarantee the OVC another win. EIU (11-1), the OVC regular- season champion, won the regular-season meeting, 34-16.
OVC teams had lost 19 straight playoff games since 2000. But coach Rod Reed's Tigers dominated a Butler squad making the first playoff appearance by a Pioneer Football League team. It was the Tigers' first shutout since 2006, but the fifth time they limited an opponent to 10 or fewer points this season.
"Tennessee State's got a heck of a football team. They made plays when they had to and we couldn't get anything consistently going on offense," Butler coach Jeff Voris said.
German, who completed 14-for-24 pass attempts, threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Mitchell to give Tennessee State a 7-0 lead with 1:38 left in the first quarter. Jamin Godfrey kicked a 45-yard field goal in the second quarter before German added a 17-yard TD pass to Wesley Samuels with 41 seconds left to push the lead to 17-0 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Daniel Fitzpatrick intercepted Butler quarterback Matt Lancaster and returned the ball 26 yards for a touchdown. He added another interception to give him an FCS-high seven this season.
Tigers backup quarterback Ronald Butler then threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell.
Lancaster was intercepted three times and finished 15-for-39 for 122 yards. He led Butler (9-4) with 74 rushing yards, while Trae Heeter added 64 on the ground.
Tennessee State, which turned the ball over three times on fumbles, had a 415-257 advantage in yards.
11/30 21:17:41 ET