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Jackson State believes its good this season, and isn't afraid to say so
Jackson State coach Rick Comegy believes he’s going to have a good football team this season. And he’s not afraid to say so.
“We’ve got guys who are mature and we’ve got guys who can play ball,” said Comegy, who enters his fifth season with the Tigers. “This should be the kind of year where we show how football at Jackson State is played.”
Confidence abounds at Jackson State, which is coming off an 8-3 season.
Much of that bravado is due to the return of quarterback Casey Therriault, who is coming off one of the best passing seasons in school history. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior threw for 3,436 yards last season and tied a school record with 31 touchdowns passes. He also rushed for 10 touchdowns in his first season after transferring from junior college.
Jackson State was picked to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference Eastern Division in a poll of the league’s coaches. Therriault doesn’t shy away from the expectations, but stressed the Tigers haven’t accomplished anything.
“There’s a lot of things I need to improve and the team needs to improve,” Therriault said. “Just because we’re getting a lot of preseason honors doesn’t mean it’ll be that way in the postseason.”
Jackson State’s goals have been limited by the NCAA and SWAC this season. The program was banned from the NCAA’s postseason because of subpar Academic Progress Rate scores. During its summer meetings, the conference ruled that ban will also apply to the conference championship game.
“It’s disappointing, but they didn’t cancel our season,” Therriault said. “We want to win every game this year and we think that’s possible.”
The Tigers also returning running back B.J. Lee, who rushed for a team-high 439 yards last season. Leading receiver Marcellos Wilder, who caught 57 passes for 726 yards and eight touchdowns, is also back.
“It could be a pretty devastating year for that group,” Comegy said. “We should be able to run the ball a little better this year and that should really free Casey to make some big plays downfield.”
Though the offense should be impressive, the defense isn’t as seasoned.
The Tigers will lean on defensive end Donovan Robinson to make big plays. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound senior made 18.5 tackles for a loss season, including eight sacks.
“The defense has matured a lot in the offseason,” Robinson said. “Last year we weren’t very good, but we’re ready to carry our share of the load this season and beat some people up.”
BY DAVID BRANDT, Columbus Republic