CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- Ronald Butler nailed Patrick Smith on a 14-yard scoring strike with 16 seconds remaining in the game as Tennessee State battled back to beat Southeast Missouri 32-31 on Saturday.
Butler engineered an 88-yard scoring drive in nine plays, hitting Smith for 23 and 28 yards until the Tigers (7-4, 4-3 Ohio Valley) were on Southeast Missouri's 14.
The Redhawks (3-8, 3-5) had taken the lead earlier when JJ Flye recovered a fumbled punt return on the Tigers' 16. Four plays later Will Young ran it in from the 4 with 7:13 left in the final quarter. Jesse Hosket passed to Stephen Dunn for two extra points and a 28-25 advantage. Ryan McCrum later booted a 26-yard field goal with 2:48 remaining.
Butler threw for 279 yards and four touchdowns and Earl Harrison rushed for 168 yards on 23 carries for the Tigers. Smith caught 11 passes for 166 yards and two scores.
Southern Mississippi and Appalachian State had discussed options to reschedule the game canceled by Hurricane Florence, but instead chose not to play later this season.
USC coach Clay Helton is stressing the need for better practices after a 1-2 start. "If you don't provide that leadership," Helton said, "they are not going to do it."
Wake Forest QB Kendall Hinton, who was in line to start prior to a three-game ban, will instead serve as the backup to freshman Sam Hartman vs. Notre Dame.
A close win or bad loss against a quality cross-conference opponent early in the season could be the difference between No. 4 and No. 5 come playoff time.
In normal times, the Big Ten would own this week's Bottom 10. But friends, when FSU gets dominated by Syracuse and squeaks by Samford, we are not in normal times.
OK, the 2020 NFL draft is still a long ways out, but Mel and Todd already are thinking about two promising underclassmen quarterbacks who could be the No. 1 overall pick.
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