Nashville, Tenn. - On Saturday, the Tennessee State football team will travel to Memphis to take on Jackson State in the 23rd annual Southern Heritage Classic at Liberty Bowl Stadium.
This marks the 19th year in a row (and 21st overall) that the teams have squared off in this Classic which began in 1990. Tennessee State had won seven straight in the series until Jackson State pulled out a 33-26 victory in 2010 and added a 35-29 win a season ago.
Tennessee State is 11-11 all-time in the event while Jackson State is 9-11. The all-time series between the two schools is at 24-20-2 in favor of Tennessee State.
Jackson State (0-1) comes into the game ranked No. 5 in the Sheridan Broadcasting Network Black College Football poll while TSU is not far behind at No. 7.
Tennessee State (1-0) opened the 2012 season with its third-straight win in the John A. Merritt Classic, besting Florida A&M 17-14.
Sophomore quarterback Michael German completed 22-of-32 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown for TSU while senior running back Trabis Ward carried the ball a career-high 28 times for 124 yards and a score.
German's touchdown pass was to senior wide receiver Devin Wilson. Wilson led the team with 66 yards on two catches.
The leading pass-catcher for TSU is former University of Florida tight end A.C. Leonard. In his first game as a member of the Tiger squad, Leonard caught seven balls for 47 yards.
Sophomore linebacker Nick Thrasher, making his first start last Saturday, was named Defensive MVP of the Classic after registering 11 tackles (nine solo) including 2.0 tackles-for-loss. His strong performance in the game earned him Boxtorow's National Player of the Week honor.
Another TSU defender off to a hot start is sophomore cornerback Steven Godbolt. After leading the team in interceptions a year ago, Godbolt picked up right where he left off by intercepting a pass in the team's first contest.
Jackson State opened the 2012 season with a 56-9 loss at Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent Mississippi State.
The Tigers fell behind 35-0 late in the second quarter before getting on the board on a nine-yard touchdown pass from Dedric McDonald to E.J. Drewery. The team would later add a 25-yard ﬁeld goal from Ryan Deising in the fourth quarter.
McDonald finished the day with 136 passing yards and the touchdown. Most of those yards were received by Rico Richardson who caught seven passes for 97 yards. Richardson was selected to the SWAC's Preseason All-Conference Team in July.
On defense, Milton Patterson leads JSU with 10 tackles, five of which were solo. However, Jackson State had three players on defense that were on the preseason all-conference team- one from each unit.
Kickoff for this year's Southern Heritage Classic is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8.
-- TSU TIGERS --