Football Bowl Subdivision

German returns, will serve as Tennessee State's backup QB

Memphis, TN ( - Tennessee State played its first two games of the season while two-year starting quarterback Michael German sat out due to a team suspension.

German is eligible to return Saturday night against Jackson State, a Southwestern Athletic Conference team coming off a win over Alabama State, but Tennessee State coach Rod Reed isn't ready to reinstate German as the team's starter just yet.

Reed told The Tennesseean earlier this week that redshirt freshman Ronald Butler, who has been the starter in German's absence through two games, will continue to start under center. Whether German will see the field Saturday at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium will depend on the play of Butler.

As for Jackson State, Reed said the SWAC program has done a solid job this year against very strong opponent. Jackson State opened the season with a loss at Tulane, and rebounded last weekend versus the Hornets.

"Our next opponent, Jackson State, is a tough opponent," Reed said. "It's been a tough game every year we've gone down there. Up until last year, it's come down to the last drive of the game, the last series. We don't expect anything less."

Reed's defense has been the staple of the program this season and he hopes that will continue against a formidable offense like Jackson State's. Last weekend, the Tigers held a powerful Florida A&M offense to a single touchdown.

Jackson State coach Rick Comegy is hoping his own Tigers can get through the Tennessee State defense. Receiver Zachary Pendleton hauled in 177 yards and two touchdown catches versus Alabama State, and could be a focal point Saturday.

"(Tennessee State) is a big, strong football team," Comegy said. "They've got a lot of guys that transferred in. ... As we plot and plan this week and look at them more and more, we've got to come up with a plan that is going to keep us in this ballgame."

Tennessee State leads the series 24-20-2 after dominating last season's matchup in Memphis, 38-12. Comegy said his squad is looking to avenge that embarrassing loss this time around.

09/13 05:49:00 ET