NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On Saturday, the Tennessee State football team will square off against Jackson State in the 25th Annual Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis, Tenn.
The Tigers come into Saturday’s contest with a 1-1 record, having dropped a game at Alabama State a week ago. In that game, the Tigers fell behind, 24-2, before rallying back to come up just short, 27-21.
For Jackson State, the squad enters the SHC with an unblemished 2-0 mark, fresh off of a, 59-0, victory against the University of Lynchburg (Va.). JSU’s other victory was over Florida A&M to open the season.
Three Keys to the Game
Get Back to Your Roots
Against Alabama State, Tennessee State passed the ball 61 times compared to only 38 rush attempts. The play breakdown is very uncommon for a TSU team that ran the ball 571 times in 2013, and only had 372 throws. Big Blue was forced to air the ball out more on Saturday, due to being behind, but the squad wasn’t too effective when it did try and run. Tennessee State averaged only 2.4 yards per attempt and the longest rush of the night was just 13 yards. TSU must run the ball better this Saturday to control the clock and keep JSU’s offense off of the field.
Keep Your Head on a Swivel
Jackson State likes to let quarterback La Montiez Ivy run the offense and throw the ball down the field. So far this season, Ivy has completed 63 percent of his passes for 515 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Tennessee State should benefit from Ivy’s willingness to target his wide receivers, as cornerbacks D’Ante Saunders and Bernell Brooks each have an interception, pass breakup and a pair of passes defended on the campaign. If TSU’s corners can take away the long ball, that will free up lineman for more sacks and allow linebackers to key on the run.
Select a Kicker
Last week at Alabama State, TSU kickers combined to miss two field goals and a pair of extra points. One of those field goals was returned for a touchdown, leading to a 15-point swing between two teams that were separated by six points. Redshirt freshman Cameron Carter failed to convert on his two field goals and his extra point attempt, leading to true freshman Lane Clark trying the next two (he was 1-2). On the year, Cater is 1-of-4 on field goals and 6-of-8 on extra points. The Tigers will need all the points that they can get against JSU, so getting the kicking game sorted would help.
Overall, TSU and JSU have met 47 times on the gridiron and TSU holds a 25-20-2 edge, including last year’s, 26-16, win. TSU will meet JSU on Saturday for the Southern Heritage Classic with kickoff pegged for 6 p.m. The game will air on Fox Sports South immediately following the final horn.