Nashville, Tenn. - After picking up their first win of the season in the Southern Heritage Classic (SHC), the Tennessee State University Tigers will head to Baton Rouge, La. to face Southern University. The match-up is scheduled for September 19th with a 6 p.m. kick-off at A.W. Mumford Stadium.
The game marks the 43rd meeting with TSU holding the all-time series record, 22-18-2. Last year, the Tigers rallied back from a halftime deficit to edge the Jaguars, 34-32, in the 10th Annual John Merritt Classic in Nashville, Tenn. In 2007, TSU played in A.W. Mumford Stadium losing, 41-34, after holding an eight-point lead at the half.
The Tigers (1-1) are fresh off a 14-7 victory over Jackson State after dropping their season opener. The Tiger attack received an offensive spark from classic MVP, quarterback Calvin McNairl.
McNairl, in his first appearance of the season, gave the Tigers their first offensive touchdown with a six-yard run. He finished with 14 carries for 101 yards (7.2 avg) with a 54-yard scamper to set up a TSU score in the fourth quarter. He also completed 4 of 11 passes for 43 yards.
On the attack, TSU is mustering 225.5 yards of total offense per game while scoring a combined 14 points in their first two outings. At the running back position, Dante' Thomas gives TSU the most productivity averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
TSU has leaned heavily on their defense posting nine points, four sacks, three interceptions while holding teams to 124 yards on the ground. The Tiger defenders are led by Eugene Clifford, Anthony Levine, and John Jones, Jr.
Jones leads the Tigers in tackles with 12 on the season recording a safety versus Jackson State. Clifford follows with nine tackles and a fumble recovery for a score. Levine currently has seven tackles with a 51-yard interception return that set up a TSU score last week.
The Jaguars (1-1) enter this week's contest having bolted past Central State 68-0. Offensively, Southern is averaging 43.5 points per game with more than 400 yards of total offense. SU's offense is led by 2009 SWAC Preseason selections in quarterback Bryant Lee, wide receiver Juamorris Stewart, and offensive lineman Raymond Chinyoung. Receiving SWAC second team preseason honors were Dexter James (DL), Allan Baugh (LB), Lee Almanza (OL), and Josh Duran (P/K).
Lee currently averages 237 passing yards per game after accounting for 257 yards of total offense and four touchdowns in the Jaguars' win last week. Stewart has only two receptions with two TDs on the year but has capitalized on the yards-after-catch, averaging 130 receiving yards per game. Lee and Stewart were both named to the 2008 all SWAC First Team.
Defensively, safety Timothy Berry was named SWAC Newcomer of the Week following the Jaguars' season opening 42-19 loss to the University of Louisiana. Berry currently has eight tackles on the season with linebacker Marcus Clark leading the team with nine. The Jaguars at the start of the season are holding teams to 288 total yards per game, tallying three sacks, three forced fumbles and four interceptions.
The Tigers will stay on the road next week when they head to Atlanta, Ga. to face Florida A&M in the Atlanta Classic. The game is scheduled for September 26th with a 2:30 p.m. kick-off.