The Game: The Jackson State Tigers and Southern Jaguars square off on Saturday for the 58th time in series history. Southern holds a one game series advantage, leading 29-28. JSU holds a 3-1 lead in the last four games played. Both teams come into Saturday’s game with identical 2-2, 2-0 records. JSU is coming off a big 35-7 win over Texas Southern in an ESPNU nationally televised game last Thursday night. Southern faced Mississippi Valley State on Saturday and beat the Devil Devils 17-7. JSU and Southern are two of three teams in the SWAC that have not suffered a loss in conference play. Alcorn State is the other team with an undefeated conference record.
Head Coach Rick Comegy: Jackson State head coach Rick Comegy (Millersville, ‘76) enters his eighth season at the helm of the Tigers’ football program. He comes into the game with a 50-34 overall record at JSU and a 158-84 career record. Over the previous seven seasons, Comegy has led the Tigers to six winning seasons, three Southwestern Athletic Conference Eastern Division titles and one SWAC championship. Last season the Tigers fell just short of claiming a second SWAC championship by falling 24-21 in OT to Arkansas Pine Bluff in the conference title game at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. Prior to coming to Jackson State, Comegy was the head coach at Tuskegee University where he won four Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships (NCAA D-II), three Pioneer Bowl crowns and a Black College National Championship (2000). In 2000 his Tuskegee Tigers recorded a perfect 12-0 record. Since coming to JSU Comegy has a 5-2 record against Southern.
Scouting Southern: The Southern Jaguars enter Saturday’s game on a two game winning streak. The Jags are also 2-0 in league play. SU is led by signal caller Dray Joseph, who leads the SWAC in passing yards (1,223) and passing TDs (10). He averages 305.8 passing yards per game. Joseph’s main target is Lee Doss who leads the SWAC in receptions (31), receiving yards (530) and receiving TDs (4). Doss averages 7.8 yards per reception and 132 yards per game. The Jags lead the SWAC in pass offense, but are last in the league in rush offense (78.2 yards/game). Defensively, SU is led by Daniel Brown who has 32 tackles for the season. As a team, SU is 10th in the SWAC in total defense, eighth in rush defense (allowing 257.2 yards/game) and 10th in pass defense (290.8 yards per game).
Southern Head Coach Dawson Odums: In the history of SU football, only two coaches have the distinction of having defeated Grambling State, Jackson State and Florida A&M in their first season running the program; Pete Richardson (1983) and Dawson Odums (2012). With over 15 years of coaching experience under his belt, Odums was named the SU football program head coach after serving as the interim head coach for nine games during the 2012 season. Odums entered the 2012 season as the defensive coordinator and academic liaison. Prior to joining the Jaguars staff, he served as the North Carolina A&T defensive coordinator.
Last JSU –Southern Meeting: When the two teams met last season, the Southern Jags scored 28 unanswered points to defeat the Tigers 28-21 at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Jags came out firing on all cylinders, scoring 14 points in the first quarter, seven in the second and seven in the third. Dray Joseph passed for 249 yards and three touchdowns. JSU came roaring back in the fourth quarter, scoring 21 straight points. Dedric McDonald accounted for all three JSU TDs. He connected with Rico Richardson on two passing TDs (13 yds and 16 yds) and scored from one-yard out on a QB keeper. On the ensuing possession, SU ran the clock out on the Tigers. McDonald passed for 230 yards and two TDs and Richardson caught 11 passes for 161 yards.
Next Game: Jackson State will return to action October 5 when the Tigers host the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions in SWAC action. Kick-off is set for 6:00 p.m.