The week leading up to their game with Prairie View A&M wasn’t easy for Jackson State. The Tigers had to find a way to rally after the departure of head coach Tony Hughes. And, they did just that, getting a win on Senior Day.
“It was tough, I was down,” said interim head coach John Hendrick. “I mean I’m just being honest, I mean Tony Hughes is my friend. That’s my brother, and trying to do this without him and him just not being around, it affected me for a day or so, but I had a job to do and we had a job to do as a team, we got ourselves together, we picked ourselves up and we practiced our behinds off week, we had a real good week of practice.”
“It gave us a rallying point, it gave us a point to all come together and say that,” said JSU defensive back Ryan Theyard. “What Coach Hughes was doing. He was doing a good job, and we just have to jell together, and finish out what he started, and leave a legacy for him.”
That legacy was carried on Saturday afternoon.
After seeing a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter shrink to six, the Tigers were able to run out the clock to preserve the win and keep their dream of playing in the SWAC title game alive.
“We could have buckled, we could have allowed Prairie View to score that last touchdown and take the lead but they were determined not to allow them to do that and we made the plays at the end that helped us to win the game,” Hendrick said.
“We still young, and we still make mistakes, and we do things that sometimes when we get older we won’t make, but one thing I like about them, is we have a toughness about us, we a believe about us and we have a togetherness about us that helped us to come through on this football game.”
The Tigers connected on all five scoring opportunities in the red zone and converted 7-of-14 third-down attempts, something that has been a huge issue for the offense all season.
The Tigers defense also forced three turnovers.
“It was a tough game, every game we play is always tough, no game is easy, but one thing I can say is, we kept fighting, we kept pushing through,” Theyard said.
“You going to get adversity in the course of the game, the game has flows and there’s going to be a time in the game where its gonna be gut check time as we say in sports, and when gut check time happens, you have arise to the occasion, and I think our team did that, our kids really equated themselves well and I cant say anything but I’m proud of them,” said Hendrick.
Next up for Jackson State is a road game at Alabama State. The winner will stay alive in the chase for the SWAC’s East Division. The loser will be eliminated.