Southern Heritage Classic fans, 43,532 of them, piled into Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium for the game last Saturday (Sept. 10), the 22nd Annual Southern Heritage Classic. Tennessee State University brought its team of tigers into the annual Southern Heritage Classic football game bent upon furthering its quest to improve upon last year’s 3-8 season.
|JSU head coach Rick Comegy and his Tigers celebrate their second consecutive SHC victory.|
| Rico Richardson of JSU on his way to a first down. (Photos by Warren Roseborough)|
|Travis James of TSU put his team in scoring position after hauling in this pass.|
One team – JSU – won, 35-29. And the competitive resolve TSU (2-1) showed bodes well for racking up a season that reflects improvement.
Southern Heritage Classic fans, 43,532 of them, piled into Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium for the game last Saturday (Sept. 10), the 22nd Annual Southern Heritage Classic.
A year ago, JSU broke a seven-year drought, defeating TSU, which was eager to start a new winning streak. Up 24-21 at the half, TSU could not capitalize off of opportunities afforded by a JSU squad that entered the contest burdened by ball-security concerns.
Led by senior quarterback Casey Therriault, JSU finished with a bang. With 2:04 left on the clock, junior wide receiver Rico Richardson hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass from Therriault.
“It was a great competitive high-scoring game,” said Nathan Jones, production manager of the Southern Heritage Classic, a TSU former band member and son of SHC founder, Fred Jones Jr. “It was a good time for Jackson State and their program, especially with Therriault winning his second consecutive MVP.”
The 2011 season marks the centennial year for the JSU football program and head coach Rick Comegy leads the charge.
“I feel good about this team and the win,” Comegy said.
JSU improved dramatically on offense from 2009 to 2010 and has high hopes for 2011. Last season, JSU’s offense led the SWAC in scoring offense, total offense, pass offense, pass efficiency and first downs.
Therriault noted the game’s big stage and his desire for playing time to be extended to as many of his teammates as possible.
“We tried to prepare mentally for the guys that never played in the game before. We had a long week of practice despite our ball security issues,” said Therriault, who broke JSU’s single-season completion record with 255. He ranks second in the team’s single-season record book with 3,436 passing yards.
Sporting a full beard that he’s been growing since the first week of camp, Therriault said the beard was something he wanted to do for himself. “I started growing it out and said I might as well keep it until we win all of our games.”
TSU’s head football coach Rod Reed had his team up for the JSU challenge. He started Memphis native and senior quarterback Jeremy Perry who graduated from Wooddale High School. Reed had thrown two touchdown passes by halftime, including a 54-yarder to Travis James.
After the break, TSU hung in, but could not regain the first-half momentum.