The last we saw of Jackson State was two weeks ago in Memphis, Tennessee when the Tigers capped off a high-scoring 49-44 victory over rival Tennessee State. But now the Tigers have to refocus their attention this Saturday toward the Circle City Classic and against Kentucky State on the road at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Jackon State head coach John Hendrick expressed in his weekly press conference the importance of the bye week to get players healed, improve areas of weakness, and to get the young guys some practice to gain depth in key positions for the Tigers.
“We had a chance this week to work on improving, scrimmage some of the young guys who don’t normally play to bolster depth, and I can say we will be traveling some new faces who really did some good things for us in those scrimmages last week,” said Coach Hendrick.
Styles make fights. And though Kentucky State is in the SIAC, a Division II conference, they’re a force due to their style of offense utilizing the running option. This particular running attack puts pressure on opposing offenses and keeping the Thorobreds defense fresh.
“Looking at a team like this, they cut your possessions,” Hendricks said during his press conference. “Our defense could get a stop, they punt the ball, and they’ve had the ball for seven minutes, and their goal by doing that is to keep your offense at bay while tiring out your defense from the running and physicality this game is going to demand from our defense.”
Hendrick has leaned heavily on a two-quarterback system with junior Derrick Ponder utilizing his arm and veteran experience, and Jalon Jones utilizing his athleticism and running ability.
Senior running back Jordan Johnson will be looking to be a part of the game plan this week, as he had a breakout game against Tennessee State rushing for a season-high 134 yards and a touchdown.
Look for JSU offensively to continue using the running of Jordan Johnson to open up the passes downfield for Derrick Ponders.
Defensively, sophomore linebacker Keonte Hampton and JSU’s stout front seven will need to win the battle at the line against Kentucky State if they hope to walk away with a confident win Saturday.
Hampton had a momentum-swinging sack last week against Tennessee State quarterback Cameron Rosendahl that iced the game for JSU.
Keys to the Game for Jackson State
– Get Jordan Johnson going early
– Get penetration on the line to disrupt the option
– Eliminate turnovers
– Sure up tackling on special teams