Updated: Sep 27, 2019
The Southern Heritage Classic was canceled in 2018 because of inclement weather, but the Tennessee State Tigers (1-1) and Jackson State Tigers (0-2) will resume their rivalry at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. TSU is 17-11 all-time in the Southern Heritage Classic.
Here are five things to watch:
TSU on a roll
TSU extended its winning streak over JSU to six games with a 17-15 victory in 2017. TSU has won 13 of the past 15 games in the series.
Last year's scheduled game was the first of back-to-back TSU games canceled because of bad weather.
Both FCS teams are coming off losses to FBS programs. TSU fell at Middle Tennessee State 45-26 while Jackson State lost at South Alabama 37-14.
Leaning on Chris Rowland
The first thing coach Rod Reed said when asked about Rowland's performance at MTSU was that the staff must figure out how to get the ball into Rowland's hands even more often.
Rowland leads the FCS in receiving yards and is tied for first in catches per game. He also is averaging 8.7 yards on seven punt returns, has carried the ball four times for 6 yards and thrown one pass that was intercepted.
The season is still young, but TSU already has experienced trouble at quarterback.
It began in the preseason when Demry Croft, who was working with the first team, was indicted on six felony counts of rape and two counts of sexual misconduct. Croft, who was suspended indefinitely from the team, entered a not guilty plea during his arraignment Sept. 4.
Cameron Rosendahl stepped in as the starter but was injured in the first half against MTSU. Micheal Hughes replaced Rosendahl, but Hughes was injured early in the fourth quarter, which forced Rosendahl back onto the field.
Octavious Battle, a transfer from South Florida, has worked with the first team this week and might see his first action Saturday.
JSU QB issues
JSU came into the season with three quarterbacks — Derrick Ponder, a junior-college transfer; Jalon Jones, a transfer from Florida; and Quincy Casey, a freshman from Memphis — fighting for the starting assignment. All three played in the opener, a 36-15 loss to Bethune-Cookman. Ponder threw for 130 yards, Jones for 84 yards and a touchdown and Casey for 59 yards. Ponder played the entire game last week and completed 15 of 26 passes for 123 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Jackson State withstood a late Tennessee State rally to win the 30th Southern Heritage Classic 49-44 Saturday at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis.
The win snaps a six-game losing streak for Jackson State at the Southern Heritage Classic. It also marks the most points Jackson State has scored in the long-running series, founded in 1990. The Tigers from Mississippi improve to 10-17 in Southern Heritage Classic play. The 93 combined points makes Saturday’s game the second-highest scoring in Southern Heritage Classic history. On Nov. 22, 2001, Tennessee State won 64-33.
"Oh, man, I'm going to tell you, it's the first time since 2011 that Jackson State won this game and it's like I told (my players) before the game, this is long overdue," said Jackson State coach John Hendricks, hired in November 2018. "Jackson State has been down. It has a great heritage and a great legacy. "(But) I believe it's our time now to rise up and start back towards that direction to be what Jackson State is supposed to be." The announced attendance Saturday was 48,347 — the highest since 2008, when 50,794 showed up.
The 5th Quarter BOTB
The 5th Quarter is nothing like it was 10-15 years ago. It seems to get shorter and shorter. I'm not sure if the Leaders understand that their fans travel long distances to see the bands and they don't necessary get their money worth. I enjoyed the game and both bands, but I was definitely disappointed in the length of the 5th Quarter. I left wanting more. I had traveled from Las Vegas and I'm sure there were more people who have traveled further to see this 30th Anniversary Classic. I'm praying next year sees longer 5th Quarters.