By halftime of yesterday's Tennessee State-North Carolina Central game, the ony issue that remained in doubt was which school had the better marching band.
The bands finished about even, climaxing their routines by dancing the "Freak" and "Rock." Meanwhile, the Tigers of State boogied all over Central for a 41-7 victory in the first edition of "A Touch of Greatness" at RFK Stadium.
Sophomore quarterback Joe (747) Adams passed for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the first half to help stake the Tigers (6-3) to a 20-7 lead. The State defense, anchored by 6-foot-7, 260 pound tackle Jesse Deramus and 240-pound end Maurice Fitzgerald was limiting the Eagles to 98 yards in the opening 30 minutes and allowing only 33 yards on 14 Eagle rushes.
"Our defense lost a lot of key people and we were forced to play freshmen," said Deramus. "We're finally putting it all together."
The State offense put it together before the crowd estimated at 7,000, 62 yards on its second possession for the game's first touchdown. The pattern of the game was established on that series when TSU's first three rushes gained seven, seven and 28 yards.
Running back Joe Foster bulled over from the four for the touchdown with 9:08 left in the first quarter. The Tigers struck again early in the second period as Adams completed seven passes during a 68-yard march that ended with his 12-yard payoff toss to Ralph Carnahan.
NCC, with the aid of two 15-yard penalties called on State, moved 81 yards for its only score midway through the second period.
But TSU retaliated with a 90-yard drive, the big play being Adams' 51-yard pass to tight end McDonald Oden on first down from the Tiger 10. Morris Harris's four-yard run capped the march.
Oden, who caught five passes for 103 yards, grabbed a 27-yarder from Adams to up the Tiger lead to 27-7.
The kick-coverage squads of TSU did their part to stifle the Eagle offense as they forced NCC to start six first-half drives inside its 20.
Tiger running back Larry Kinnerbrew, a 238-pound freshman, demonstrated his 9.6 speed to Central's defense when he broke through the middle for a 46-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Kinnerbrew, who ran our wood-be tacklers, picked up 94 yards on seven carries.
Kinnerbrew, Harris (10 carries for 99 yards) and Foster (15 for 66) ran between the tackles all afternoon. They benefited from the gaping holes opened by, among others, 325-pound freshman left tackle Curtis Mitchell, junior center Robert Johnson and 245-pounder right tackle Jimmy Carter.
Adams, who finished with an 18-for-26, 244-yard passing log, gave way to junior Mike Jolley in the fourth quarter. Jolley promptly took the Tigers on an 89-yard drive that ended with his 26-yard toss to Harris.
TSU finished with 264 yards while holding Central to 212. The loss dropped Central's record to 2-6. Yesterday's game was the first meeting between the two schools in 25 years.