Tennessee State Tigers
Location: Nashville, TN
Coach: Rod Reed (49-42)
Stadium: Hale Stadium (Capacity: 10,000) and Nissan Stadium (69,143)
192nd: Division I
2017 In A Sentence: The Tigers got an impressive victory over an FBS school in Georgia State to start the season, but a promising 3-0 start ended with a disappointing 3-5 stretch run to barely finish above .500.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: The heart and soul of the Tiger defense, LB Chris Collins (13 tackles for loss) and DL Ebenezer Ogundeko (4 sacks), leave two very big holes in the defense.
Key Player: QB Michael Hughes started the last five games of the season, taking some lumps along the way but gaining valuable experience, completing 15 TDs and racking up 1,304 yards passing. In 2018, Tennessee State will be relying even more on him to get the season going.
Fearless Prediction: A tough opening schedule against a perennial rival (Jackson State), a MEAC title contender (Bethune-Cookman), a tough conferene road assignment (Eastern Illinois) and a Power 5 school (Vanderbilt) seems like too tough a challenge for a team that needs to discover some major production on both sides of the ball. If the Tigers can weather that storm they can finish above .500 and perhaps more.