Tennessee State’s all-time records against FBS programs – Fighting Irish Wire

Notre Dame has announced that its 2023 home opener will be played against Tennessee State, a Historically Black College and University. On the surface, it’s a great opportunity for a lesser-known program to receive national exposure. However, it also will be the first time the Irish have played a Football Championship Subdivision opponent. The reaction to this news within the fan base mostly has been lukewarm at best and outright negative at worst.

Notre Dame presently is the only Football Bowl Subdivision opponent the Tigers have scheduled for the future. That makes the decision either more of a headscratcher from the Irish’s point of view or it merely makes the Irish an outlier. Either way, the Tigers don’t get to play FBS schools very much, so you better believe they will be hyped for the opportunity. In the spirit of that, let’s take a look at how they have done against teams from college football’s top level:

Air Force

USATSI 8071646 Sep 6, 2014; Laramie, WY, USA; Air Force Falcons helmet during game against the Wyoming Cowboys at War Memorial Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Falcons 17-13. Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Series: Air Force leads, 1-0.

Only meeting: Sept. 24, 2011 – Air Force 63, Tennessee State 24

Appalachian State

USATSI 16674050 Sep 2, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Appalachian State Mountaineers helmet during the second half against the East Carolina Pirates at Bank of America Stadium. Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Series: Appalachian State leads, 1-0.

Only meeting: Nov. 28, 1998 – Appalachian State 45, Tennessee State 31

Ball State

USATSI 16781392 Sep 18, 2021; Laramie, Wyoming, USA; A general view of a Ball State Cardinals helmet during game against the Wyoming Cowboys at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium. Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Series: Tied, 0-0-1.

Only meeting: Dec. 11, 1965 in Grantland Rice Bowl – Tennessee State 14, Ball State 14

Georgia State

USATSI 9573853 Sep 17, 2016; Madison, WI, USA; A Georgia State Panthers helmet during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin won 23-17. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Series: Tennessee State leads, 1-0.

Only meeting: Aug. 31, 2017 – Tennessee State 17, Georgia State 10

Jacksonville State (joining FBS in 2023)

USATSI 6825118 Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Series: Jacksonville State leads, 13-2.

Last meeting: March 7, 2021 – Jacksonville State 38, Tennessee State 16


USATSI 16698509 Sep 6, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Detailed view of a Louisville Cardinals helmet on the field before a game against the Mississippi Rebels at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Series: Tennessee State leads, 2-0.

Last meeting: Nov. 10, 1984 – Tennessee State 24, Louisville 15

Middle Tennessee State

56851105ccea41c4ac2e1d1de953c276 A Middle Tennessee helmet sits on the sideline in the first half of an NCAA college football game between Middle Tennessee and Duke Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Series: Middle Tennessee State leads, 11-9.

Last meeting: Sept. 7, 2019 – Middle Tennessee State 45, Tennessee State 26

Mississippi State

c99b6f7332784bc189575ed6d724e23b Mississippi State linebacker DeShawn Page (16) tries to tackle Tennessee State quarterback Deveon Bryant (8) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Starkville, Miss. Mississippi State won 55-10. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Series: Mississippi State leads, 1-0.

Only meeting: Nov. 20, 2021 – Mississippi State 55, Tennessee State 10


USATSI 17333940 A Nevada Wolf Pack football helmet on display at Friday’s conference announcing Ken Wilson as the new football coach.

Series: Nevada leads, 1-0.

Only meeting: Dec. 6, 1986 in national quarterfinals – Nevada 33, Tennessee State 6

San Diego State

USATSI 8783301 Sep 5, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; A new San Diego State Aztecs helmet featuring the Aztec calendar before the game against the San Diego Toreros at Qualcomm Stadium. Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Series: San Diego State leads, 1-0-1.

Last meeting: Nov. 23, 1968 – Tennessee State 13, San Diego State 13


USATSI 8958975 Nov 28, 2015; Laramie, WY, USA; A general view of the UNLV Rebels helmet against the Wyoming Cowboys at War Memorial Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Rebels 35-28. Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Series: UNLV leads, 1-0.

Only meeting: Nov. 10, 1979 – UNLV 36, Tennessee State 28


USATSI 11346525 Sep 29, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee State Tigers quarterback Demry Croft (7) is forced out of the pocket during the second half against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium. Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Series: Vanderbilt leads, 3-0.

Last meeting: Sept. 29, 2018 – Vanderbilt 31, Tennessee State 27

Western Kentucky

USATSI 17259720 Nov 27, 2021; Huntington, West Virginia, USA; A Western Kentucky Hilltoppers helmet at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Series: Tied, 2-2.

Last meeting: Oct. 21, 2000 – Western Kentucky 52, Tennessee State 14