|« MIAC Football, Week One: A Quartet of Thrillers||CSN The CAA Today: Week Three Results – Finally, a few answers! »|
No feedback yet
CSN SWAC Attack: How Things Have Changed
By Brandon Williams, CSN SWAC Attack Columnist
The last time Jackson State and Grambling State met, JSU quarterback Jimmy Oliver and runningback Lavarus Giles combined for nearly 400 yards of offense and five touchdowns en route to a 42-31 shootout victory over the Tigers in last December’s SWAC title game.
How things have changed.
The two teams meet again Saturday, both a shell of their high-scoring selves. Both also bring 1-2 records into a game that counts as a nonconference matchup, which is even better news for a Grambling team that needs to build momentum heading into an Oct. 4 showdown against undefeated Prairie View A&M that will determine the West division championship.
JSU is struggling as Trae Rutland continues to find his stride under center. Rutland has completed 55 percent of his passes, but he has thrown five interceptions while leading the offense to just 16 points a game. JSU is averaging a paltry 289.7 yards offensively, but the defense has carried the load behind linebackers Marcellus Speaks and Sam Washington, who have already combined for 14 tackles for loss.
A change under center has appeared to do Grambling good. Coach Rod Broadway yanked struggling sophomore Greg Dillon and replaced him with fellow soph J.P. Tillman, who responded with a decent 169-yard, one touchdown effort in a 31-19 loss to Northwestern State. Tillman’s presence helped open up the running lanes a bit for Cornelius Walker and Frank Warren, who both still average just under four yards per carry. Tillman will get the start at home for the Tigers, the first of back-to-back games at Robinson Stadium before a stretch of five road games in their next six.
The matchup also serves as the SWAC Attack Game of the Week, a game that will set the tone for the rest of the season for both teams.
What to Watch For: How well Rutland fares against the Grambling defense, which has allowed 377 yards per game. Rutland’s running skills could cause problems for a Tigers’ defense that has allowed more than 215 yards a game on the ground. The interception-prone Rutland could have issues against GSU’s secondary, which leads the SWAC with six interceptions.
In case you missed it: Alcorn State opened the weekend with a 13-3 triumph over Arkanasas-Pine Bluff Thursday night in a nonconference matchup. The Braves scored the game’s only touchdown on a 19-yard pass from Tim Buckley to Emmanuel Arceneaux in the second quarter before relying on a defense that allowed the Lions (0-4) 62 yards rushing on 29 carries.
Texas Southern overcame Hurricane Ike and a 22-17 halftime deficit to defeat Shaw (N.C.) College 40-29 in the Capital City Classic in Sacramento, Calif., snapping a 15-game losing streak that dated to 2006.
Quarterback Bobby Reid – the SWAC’s offensive player of the week – threw for 211 yards and a score while adding two more scoring runs as the Tigers ripped off 23 third-quarter points, giving coach Johnnie Cole his first win at his alma mater.
Bye, bye Britt
Jackson State lost the services of quarterback Domonick Britt, who left the school earlier this week in the wake of a secondary NCAA violation that cost him his eligibility.
Britt spurred offers from Ohio State and Michigan to arrive at JSU, making him the crown jewel in the school’s 2008 recruiting class.
* * *
News and Notes
* Prairie View – whose game against Sam Houston State was canceled due to Hurricane Ike – will try for the school’s first 3-0 start since 1964 when the Panthers visit Mississippi Valley State in a nonconference game. PV is the only undefeated team in the SWAC.
* The matchup betwen PV and MVSU features the two most penalized teams in the SWAC. The Panthers have been tagged for an average of 113.5 yards of penalities, while the Delta Devils have been hit with 109.5 yards per game.
* Grambling (8th), Southern (9th) and Prairie View (10th) round out this week’s Sheridan Broadcast Network’s football poll. PV makes its first appearance in the poll, receiving one first-place vote.
* Alabama State’s trip to Alabama-Birmingham is the conference’s lone game against an FBS team this week. The first meeting between the two schools also a matchup between winless teams, as ASU (0-2) and UAB (0-3) look to get on the winning side of the ledger.
* Alabama State has yet to score a touchdown after halftime this season.
* Texas Southern meets Texas College at the Rose City Classic in Tyler, Texas, in the first meeting between the schools since 1961. The Tigers lead the series 9-3-2.
* Grambling’s ability to force turnovers has kept it in its last two games. The Tigers lead the SWAC with a +7 margin. Alcorn State is at the bottom at -8.