NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State Tigers will make their annual journey to Memphis to play in the 13th Southern Heritage Classic for their football clash with the Jackson State Tigers in the Liberty Bowl.
The TSU Tigers have played in every Southern Heritage game since its inception in 1990 and have played the JSU Tigers every year since 1994 in the game. TSU has won three of the last four meetings, including a 64-33 decision on Thanksgiving Day last season. TSU’s win in 1998 snapped a JSU four-game winning streak in the game.
This season, the TSU Tigers are off to a 1-1 start. Following a tough 26-20 loss at South Carolina State in the season opener, the Tigers bounced back to roll past Prairie View A&M in the John Merritt Classic last Saturday.
Sophomore Riley Walker, who drew the starting assignment against Prairie View, is expected to make his second start in the Southern Heritage Classic. Walker completed 6-14-1 passes for 161 yards and two TD’s. Kenny Irby was 7-12-0 for 90 yards and one TD and first-game starter Bryson Rosser was 2-4-0 for 28 yards.
The game will be a homecoming for TSU running back Sugar Sanders as he returns to the Liberty Bowl. Sanders was a three-year player for the University of Memphis. Sanders rushed for 105 yards in last week’s game. Sophomore Charles Anthony was held out of last week’s game due to a nagging ankle injury, but will play against Jackson State.
The Tiger defense will have to be ready for JSU quarterback Robert Kent. Kent was the Division I-AA National Player of the Week in last Saturday’s contest. Kent completed 41-63-4 passes for 540 yards and five TD’s in a 42-36 loss at North Carolina A&T.
TSU junior defensive back Ahmed Safeullah was the OVC Defensive Player of the Week. Safeullah made several big plays for the Tigers against Prairie View, including an 85-yard return for a TD.
The Tigers will depart for Memphis Friday morning and have a workout at the Liberty Friday evening.