JSU preps for tilt with Tigers|[11/21/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2007

JACKSON — Second year coach Rick Comegy felt he could turn around the Jackson State University football program but even his timetable had the Tigers being a year away.

Instead, Jackson State (7-4, 7-2) will play for the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship on Dec. 15 against Grambling State (8-2, 8-0) at Legion Field in Birmingham. JSU won the SWAC Eastern Division title Saturday with a 31-19 win over Alcorn State in the Capital City Classic.

The win over the Braves was Comegy’s first. He lost last year’s game against Alcorn, 32-31, which ended his first season with the Tigers at 6-5.

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“Obviously it’s real exciting to get to this level, especially for a school with the tradition like Jackson State,” Comegy said Saturday. “It took three years at Tuskegee to get everybody on the same page and get to a conference title game. We did it here in two.”

Now comes a rematch with Grambling, which beat JSU 30-20 in the team’s regular season meeting in Jackson.

“This is what we hoped for, to play them again,” Comegy said. “I think it was good for us to have played them. We saw how they wanted to attack us and they saw how we wanted to attack them, Whoever wins the next game will be the one that plays the best.”

Jackson State showed great balance in beating the Braves. They out-rushed Alcorn 285-52 and offensive most valuable player Jimmy Oliver passed for 245 yards and two touchdowns.

The JSU defense put the clamps on the Alcorn offense after the Braves had taken an early 6-0 lead. Defensive tackle Dennis Coit and end Daniel Brooks can now look forward to playing Grambling again.

“The first time we didn’t play at our best ability. It’s good to get a second chance. This will be the first time for me to get a ring since my senior year in high school when we went 12-1,” Brooks said.

JSU linebacker Marcellus Speaks feels his unit must stop the run.

“Our run defense has to be better against Grambling. They played a nice game against us. They have a good team.”