By Felix Cunningham
Tailgates will be blazing, people will be cheering, the Human Jukebox will be jamming’ and A.W. Mumford Stadium will be filled with fans from all over as Southern faces Boombox Classic rivals, Jackson State this Saturday in 2015 home opener.
After losing in its season opener to Louisiana Tech, Southern (1-1, 1-0) rebounded in its SWAC opener, defeating Mississippi Valley State 50-13. Jackson State (0-2) opens conference play in Baton Rouge after falling to Middle Tennessee State and Tennessee State.
SOUTHERN OFFENSE vs. JACKSON STATE DEFENSE
On SWAC Media Day, Southern was picked to finish third in the SWAC because of their potent offense. Weapons at receiver including Willie Quinn, Devon Gale, Justin Morgan and Mike Jones surround freshman quarterback Austin Howard. The Jaguars also boast the talented tandem of Lenard Tillery and Malcolm Crockett at running back. Tight ends Nico Talbert and Bradley Coleman must also be accountable for by opposing defenses.
Defensive leaders for Jackson State, such as Javancy Jones, Ariane McCree, Ryan Griffin, and Stacy Noble will have a difficult time slowing down Southern’s high-octane offensive attack.
SOUTHERN DEFENSE vs. JACKSON STATE OFFENSE
Junior quarterback La’Montiez Ivy is a dual threat option the Jaguar defense will have to account for all game. Even with only two legitimate receiving threats, Jackson State’s experience at quarterback helps the Tigers know when to throw and when to run down the middle.
Southern may capture a few interceptions within the game by Danny Johnson, Jamal Mitchell and others expecting the long pass. but the Jaguar secondary must be wary of the strong run game from Jackson State’s Robert Johnson and Jarius Moore.
Southern defenders Demetrius Carter and Dionte McDuffy will have a difficult time being the only ones assessing the run game and destructing the field down the middle.
ADVANTAGE: JACKSON STATE
There’s not a decent comparison when it comes to special teams. Southern has a weapon in their pocket in senior Willie Quinn, one of the most dynamic return men in college football. Through two games Quinn has already returned a punt and two kicks, including a 100-yarder, for touchdowns. Jackson State’s kicker Ryan Deising is relied on in clutch moments for crucial field goals.
Southern has more talent on offense, which challenges the experienced offense of Jackson State. The game at the end of the day will attest to if Quinn can make the extra necessary points at kick return and if Deising can receive the early points at field goal range. This game will be a back and forth bout between the offense and Odums can take the helm when it came to recruitment of a valuable seasoned force. Advantage goes to Southern for a slight point range.
Southern 40, Jackson State 35