Who: Texas Southern vs. Florida A&M
Where: Bragg Memorial Stadium
Time: 11 a.m.
TEXAS SOUTHERN TIGERS
2016 record: 4-7
Texas Southern returns many members of a defense that ranked in the top half of several defensive categories in 2016.
That group includes All-SWAC first-team linebacker Sean Jones, who had 77 tackles and three sacks a year ago. The unit will also be strengthened by the return of team-leading tackler Archie Rice, who had 84 stops las season.
But if the Tigers want to compete in the tough SWAC Western Division, its fate will rest on the play of redshirt senior quarterback Jay Christophe, who only threw eight passes for 112 yards last season after being lost for the season due to injury. Also on offense TSU returns running back Brad Woodard, who complied 515 yards and scored three touchdowns last season. At wide receiver, Tracy Johnson leads the group with 29 catches for 369 yards and three TDs.
FLORIDA A&M RATTLERS
2016 record: 4-7
FAMU opens the 2017 season returing eight starters from last season’s offense, including quarterback Ryan Stanley, who threw for more than 1,300 yards with 8 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Stanley will have help in the passing game, as wide reciever Brandon Norwood looks to improve on a 2016 campaign where he caught 51 balls for 458 yards and 4 TDs, which landed him on the All-MEAC third-team.
On defense, the Rattlers return cornerback Orlando McKinley, who had 38 tackles and 4 interceptions a year ago. Up front, the FAMU defense will be anchored by senior defensive lineman Elijah Price, who led the team with 15.5 tackles for loss and tallied 2.5 sacks.
Texas Southern 20, Florida A&M 17