‘Classic’ matchup golden, even when its silver

kevans@tri-statedefender.com | 9/13/2014, 12:01 p.m.

Jackson State’s Tigers strut in with two wins, having defeated Florida A&M (27-17) and stomping Virginia University of Lynchburg (59-0). Both were home games.

In their 103rd season, the Tigers of JSU look to post a 3-0 record for the first time since 2011. Through two games, Jackson State’s offense is ranked No. 4 in the Southwestern Atlantic Conference (SWAC) averaging 434.5 yds/game. The JSU offense is nationally ranked in the top 25 in three statistical categories: ninth in scoring offense, 13th in passing offense and 25th in total offense.  

Quarterback La Montiez Ivy is the topped-ranked passer in the SWAC. His 63.1 passing percentage, 515 total passing yards, four TDs and 257.5  passing yards per game all lead the league. Nationally, he is ranked 15th in passing yards per game.

The JSU defense leads the SWAC in total defense. They Tigers have allowed only 118 rushing yards, 278 passing yards and two touchdowns so far this season.

JSU enters the fray with former NFL standout receiver Harold Jackson as its new coach. Jackson, a JSU alum, played in the NFL from 1968 to 1983 and also coached receivers for 10 years with three teams.

If momentum can be carried over from one year to the next, Tennessee State has that well to draw from. Last season TSU ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense (296.9 yards/game) and total defense (18.1 points/game) led by Anthony Bass, reigning Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Defensive player of the Year.

After routing Edward Waters at home (58-6), TSU fell short against Alabama State University, dropping a 27-21 decision in Montgomery, Ala.  The defensive unit only allowed 76 yards of total offense and five first downs in the performance against Edward Waters. Bass was named the game’s Defensive MVP after recording four stops, two sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and an interception. His performance earned him OVC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

TSU’s head coach is Rod Reed, who signed on to guide the team in December 2009.  Reed played for the Tigers from 1984 to 1988, earning Sheridan All America honors his senior year. In 1986, helped the Tigers reach the second round of the 1986 Division I-AA playoffs. In 1987 and 1988, he was named Defensive MVP.