The 33rd iteration of the Southern Heritage Classic could very well be the last time we see the game as we know it. If it turns out to be the case, the 51,351 fans in attendance were treated to a hard fought contest in which Jackson State prevailed over Tennessee State, 16-3.
TSU got off to a good start, taking the openly kickoff and drove 58 yards in 11 plays, ending in a 34-yard field goal from Kaleb Mosley to put TSU up 3-0, already making the game more competitive than last week’s Orange Blossom Classic. The rest of the first period, neither offense was able to get much accomplished, with the only scoring threat was a Jackson State 49-yard field goal attempt that was blocked by Jashon Watkins.
In the second quarter Jackson State would tie the game on a 28-yard field goal from Alejandro Mata at the end of a 17-play, 69 yard drive. Later in the period, JSU took a 6-3 lead, they would take into halftime, via a 27-yard Mata field goal.
Jackson State’s opening drive in the second half had them marching down the field, resuming some of the rhythm they seemed to have found in the second quarter, and they appeared set to score the contest’s first touchdown, but the TSU defense stood strong on 4th and 1 keeping JSU out of the end zone.
While the Tennessee State offense floundered , largely due to the efforts of the Jackson State defense, the JSU offense somewhat found their footing, mounting another drive (13 plays ,48 yards) that did not end in a touchdown but another mata field goal, this one from 30 yards out, to extend Jackson State’s lead to 9-3.
As the second half wore on, particularly in the fourth quarter, the ability of the Tennessee State offensive to protect Draylen seemed to wither as Jackson State defenders in the later portion of the fourth quarter spent as much time in the TSU backfield as Ellis and Devon Starling. With their signal caller under duress, it made finding any degree of offensive continuity a pipe dream, rendering a comeback all but impossible. On the evening, the Jackson State defense only llowed two yards rushing, 11 total first downs, and 140 total yards. John Huggins had 1.5 sacks, Jeremiah Williams and Jason Mercier each had one sack, and Justin Ragin had the other ½ sack for Jackson State, which had 15 tackles for loss.
The exclamation point came with 2:38 remaining in the game when Shedeur Sanders connected with Willie Gaines on a 27-yard td pass to put Jackson State up 16-3.
Jackson State will play its home opener Saturday against Grambling in the W.C., Gorden Classic in non-conference game that will kick off at 1pm.
Tennessee state looks to get off the schneid as they head to Murfreesboro, TN to take on the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State. Kickoff is scheduled for 6pm CST.
|10:07 – TSU – Mosley,Kaleb 34 yd field goal 11 plays, 58 yards, TOP 04:53||0||3|
|08:30 – JSU – Mata,Alejandro 28 yd field goal 17 plays, 69 yards, TOP 06:17||3||3|
|02:46 – JSU – Mata,Alejandro 27 yd field goal 8 plays, 42 yards, TOP 03:54||6||3|
|02:15 – JSU – Mata,Alejandro 30 yd field goal 13 plays, 48 yards, TOP 04:18||9||3|
|02:20 – JSU – Gaines,Willie 27 yd pass from Sanders,Shedeur (Mata,Alejandro kick) 3 plays, 28 yards, TOP 01:01||16||3|