TSU freshman finds niche in returning kicks

TSU’s Weldon Garlington scored a special-teams touchdown for the second Saturday in a row.

In the fourth quarter, the freshman from Brentwood Academy returned a punt 94 yards in the Tigers’ 55-3 win over Southeast Missouri.

Last week against Austin Peay, he returned a kickoff 100 yards on the first play of the game.

“We had been talking about it all week, that this may be my opportunity to take a punt return back,” Garlington said. “I found a crease and I was led by Harold Watson, made a couple moves and I ended up in the end zone.

“When I broke that last tackle, then I started getting confidence that I was going to get in. I just looked straight forward and kept running.”

Thomas starts: TSU senior Dante’ Thomas started at running back in place of sophomore Trabis Ward.

Thomas finished with 16 carries for 90 yards and a 27-yard touchdown. Ward led TSU with 135 yards on 17 carries and two TDs as TSU rushed for 270 yards.

Injury report: TSU defensive end Lamar Wallace injured his right ankle in the first quarter and was in a boot at the end of the game.

“I’m OK, it’s only a sprain,” Wallace said.

Tyler Lusk, a senior from Riverdale, replaced Wallace.

TSU junior tight end London Davis injured his left knee in the second quarter after making a 10-yard catch for a first down. Davis had two catches for 27 yards before leaving the game. After the game London wore a knee brace.

Coach Rod Reed said he did not know the severity of London’s injury.

Timely scoring: TSU ended the first quarter up 28-0 — the most points TSU has scored in the first quarter this season.

Two of TSU’s four TDs in the first quarter came in the final 1:47 and just 22 seconds apart. Mike German hit Calvin McNairl with a 25-yard TD pass at the 1:47 mark.

After SEMO fumbled, German then hit McNairl again with a 30-yard TD pass at the 1:25 mark.

First punt: For the second consecutive game TSU did not punt until the second half. The Tigers’ first punt Saturday came after they failed to pick up a first down on their first possession of the second half. Freshman Matt Moseley punted 41-yards with 9:36 left in the third quarter.

Later in the game TSU lined up for a field goal. The ball was snapped to kicker Jamin Godfrey who punted. It was TSU’s only other punt.

Almost a shutout: TSU’s last shutout was a 31-0 win over Southeast Missouri in 2006.

On Saturday, SEMO didn’t score until there was 6:51 left and Drew Geldbach kicked a 30-yard field goal.

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