Tennessee State coach Rod Reed believed his team took a huge step in the right direction Saturday.
Two days later the Tigers continued to take leaps — in the national rankings.
TSU moved up four spots to No. 20 in the Football Championship Subdivision coaches poll for the program’s highest ranking since 2008. This comes after the Tigers rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to score a game-winning touchdown with eight seconds left and upset then-No. 16 Eastern Kentucky 23-20.
The Colonels (4-2, 2-1 Ohio Valley Conference), who dropped to 23rd, won a share of the OVC title last year and reached the FCS playoffs.
“I’m really proud of these young guys,” Reed said on Saturday. “To go against a battle-tested team like Eastern Kentucky that’s huge for our program. That was a big step for us.”
The Tigers (6-0, 2-0) sit atop the conference standings with five games remaining. They’re off to their best start since 2001. They last won their first seven games in 1999, when they went 11-0 before losing to North Carolina A&T in the first round of the playoffs.
A tough final stretch, which includes four road games, begins at Southeast Missouri State on Saturday.
“We haven’t arrived,” Reed said. “We’ve got a tall task. We just got to chop wood one game at a time.”