If Southern wants to pull off the biggest upset of the college football season in the SWAC Championship Game, quarterback BeSean McCray will likely need to do more with his right arm.
Some 34 days ago, the sophomore quarterback completed just 9 passes for 85 yards in an offensive effort that produced 221 yards in a 35-0 loss to Jackson State on Oct. 29.
It was the second time this season Southern had failed to score in a game all year. But the way in which the Jaguars fell to JSU felt different because it was a rivalry game and it exposed all the shortcomings of McCray, who has thrown for fewer than 100 yards in six of his 10 starts this season including last Saturday’s Bayou Classic.
Against Grambling, McCray threw for 71 yards and completed 42 percent of his passes in a 34-17 win over Grambling State in which he was named the game’s MVP.
But to match Jackson State’s high-scoring offense, McCray and Southern must take advantage of the opportunities it didn’t against the best defense in the country in the previous meeting last month.
“They are a great defense, but we did shoot ourselves in the foot,” McCray said. “I wasn’t hitting throws; we had false starts; depth of receivers — it was a total offense loss. It was a lot of things.
“It’s a lot we have to execute on this time that we missed last game. We’re grateful. In life, you don’t get second opportunities.”
Southern head coach Eric Dooley was peppered with questions about whether his quarterback is capable of threatening the Tigers at all in the passing game.
The veteran coach, who will matchup against JSU for the third time in a calendar year dating back to when he coached Prairie View in the 2021 SWAC Championship Game, says McCray will be only expected to do what is necessary — nothing more — to win on Saturday.
“I just need him to do what he does to help us win,” said Dooley this week. “If that’s throwing for 300 yards, then we will throw for 300. If that’s not throwing and he’s rushing, it’s the same day. At the end of the day, if it’s a W, you are not worried about the stats. You have the biggest stat of all — winning.”
SWAC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
When: Saturday, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. CST
Where: Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium, Jackson, Mississippi
How to watch: ESPN2
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