Sunday, October 16, 2011

JSU escapes with 17-16 win over Delta Devils

ITTA BENA — Rick Comegy didn't expect it to be a close game.
And most likely, many here at Rice-Totten Stadium on Saturday likely felt the same.

But Mississippi Valley State gave fans a reason to stick around for the entire 48 minutes, as the Delta Devils played rival Jackson State to the wire before suffering a 17-16 loss, their 18th straight.
It's the closest the Delta Devils (0-7, 0-6 SWAC) have a come to a victory all season.
It was a surprise for Jackson State coach Comegy, whose Tigers (6-1, 4-1 SWAC) squad came in as one of top-ranked HBCU's in the nation.
"No I wasn't," Comegy said when asked if he thought his team would win by such a narrow margin, "but I knew that they would come on an emotional high. I was hoping that we would get a lead, but it didn't happen that way. They played football."
For over three quarters, the Delta Devils didn't look like a team whose last win came nearly two years ago. MVSU led 10-6 at halftime and held JSU's heralded quarterback Casey Therriault to just 51 passing yards and an interception in the first half.
"We had a good feel for them," said MVSU coach Karl Morgan. "We had a good feel for what they were doing."
The Delta Devils took the lead for the final time with over 11 minutes left in the third quarter, when reserve quarterback Marvin Pittman scored on a 45-yard option run on his first play of the game.
But just 30 seconds later, the Tigers struck back with a 75-yard strike to Tommy Gooden from Therriault that gave JSU a 17-13 advantage.
Valley had a chance to snatch the lead and the momentum when marched to JSU's 1, but were forced to boot their second field of the game after two failed runs and a incomplete pass. Carlos Sanchez' 26-yard field goal tightened the lead to just one point, 17-16, but it would be the last time either team put any points on the scoreboard.
JSU moved deep in Valley territory with less than than a minute left, but kneeled down to end the game.
The one-point win for JSU was unexpected for Therriault, but a win always feel good, he said.
"We don't expect any of our games to be close, but this one was," said Therriault, who finished 22-of-40 for 254 yards with a TD and an interception. "And as long as we can fight through and win it, I don't care if its by a 1/2 point. As long as we win the game. It might be ugly but that gives us something to work for next week."
MVSU receiver Paul Cox had two big catches — both over 40 yards — in the first half, but was held to just one reception in second half. He finished with three catches for 94 yards.
"The last four weeks we need to just throw it up (to Cox)," said Morgan. "Throw it up and make it a jump ball.....We probably don't do that enough."
Valley outgained JSU on the ground — 226 to 172 — and was led by Pittman who had 79 on seven carries. Brandon Stansell added 69 yards on 18 attempts.
Pittman and starting quarterback Garrick Jones shared duties for most of the second half after Jones re-injured his sore ankle. Jones completed 9-of-17 passes for 111 yards and a TD.
"We just have to come back Monday and be ready to fight," said Jones. "We have a don't quit give attitude....We're going to get that one (win) and when we do it's going to be fun."