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Tigers Use Late Surge To Beat TSU 35-29




Website Memphis, Tenn. – A late touchdown pass to Rico Richardson from pre-season All-American Casey Therriault helped the Jackson State University Tigers (2-0, 0-0) defeat the Tennessee State University Tigers (1-1, 0-0) in the 22nd Annual Southern Heritage Classic, 35-29. With the win, JSU has won the last two games in the series. The last time JSU won back-to-back games against TSU was 1996-97. In front of an announced crowd of 43,523, JSU used a balanced attack to give TSU their first loss of the year. The pass-happy JSU offense used the run to hold possession of the ball for most of the fourth quarter. JSU rushed for 140 yards on Saturday night. Running backs B. J. Lee and Tommy Gooden led the rushing attack. Gooden rushed for 70 yards on five carries. The Atlanta, Geo., native, had a game-breaking rush of 39 yards in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory for the Tigers. JSU used Gooden to maintain the clock and keep the TSU offense off the field in the final quarter. Gooden had one rushing touchdown in the contest and averaged 13.4 yards per carry. Lee, a junior, was primarily use to neutralize the TSU blitzing defense for the first three quarters. Lee was the leading rusher for JSU with 77 yards on 11 carries. Lee, who has battled a hamstring injury this season, said that his improved health was the reason for his stellar performance. “I felt good all this week,” said Lee. “I just needed to execute. Whatever the play is or whatever is working.” The Jackson State offensive line, which has been under the scrutiny this season, provided the necessary blocking to create holes in the blitz-happy TSU defense. Jackson State seemed to use quick bubble screen passes and numerous rushing draw plays as a remedy for the offensive line woes. “We put that offensive line back together,” said head coach Rick Comegy. “We knew that we had great speed on the outside. We had to let those guys make plays for us.” JSU showed its excellent speed on the first play of the game. Therriault, who was named Player of the Game, threw a one-yard screen pass to Marcellos Wilder and the senior wide receiver sprinted 62 yards in 11 seconds for the touchdown. Last week, Therriault connected with junior wide receiver Richardson for a 60-yard touchdown against the hapless Concordia College secondary. That scoring play took only eight seconds. “They were sending a guy off the edge and it was a dig route,” said Therriault. “We knew they were going to blitz, so we knew had to get the ball to the outside quick.” Defensively, JSU held TSU to five points in the second half. Joseph LeBeau, a junior defensive end, led the team in tackles with nine total and one sack. Donavan Robinson had five tackles with one sack. “It was a hard rush,” said Robinson. “It was two guys that was hold me, but you cannot worry about that stuff. I just stay focus and complete the play.” Even with all the Jackson State’s offensive power, it was a tied game after the first quarter. Tennessee State scored on a 54-yard pass from quarterback Jeremy Perry to wide receiver Travis James. TSU sophomore running back Trabis Ward scored on a 5-yard run with 2:14 left in the first quarter. In the second quarter, TSU capitalized on a fumble by JSU freshman running back Rakeem Sims. Later in the same quarter, Perry threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Calvin McNairl. TSU’s Perry completed passes to four different receivers by halftime and had completed seven passes for 166 yards. The leading receiver at the half was Travis James. James, a junior wide receiver, caught three passes for 115 yards. Jackson State answered right back with a score in the second quarter. Sophomore running back Tommy Gooden took the option pitch from Therriault and ran 31 yards for the touchdown. Jackson State rushed the ball 13 times which garnered 113 yards at halftime. B. J. Lee, a junior, was the leading rusher at halftime with 48 yards. The Tigers will take on the Southern Jaguars (1-1, 1-0) on Saturday, September 17 in a televised game on SWAC TV. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. in Baton Rouge, LA.]]]]> ]]>

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