Five takeaways on the Jackson State's defeat at the hands of the Louisiana-Monroe - which should concern future Tigers' opponents.
1. JSU can hang with the Big Boys!
Deion Sanders' team wasn't fazed by the fact they were playing an FBS opponent in Louisiana-Monroe. They did not allow Rich Rodriguez's up-tempo offense to get into a rhythm in the passing game.
The offensive coordinator had to pull his son and starting quarterback for Rogers in the 4th quarter. ULM was 5-19 on third-down conversions and had only 156 yards passing. JSU had 269 total yards of offense.
2. Jackson State's Defense is THE REAL DEAL
The Tigers shutout an FBS from scoring a touchdown. Southerland's four field goals were all ULM could muster against the ferocious Tigers defense led by Aubrey Miller Jr.'s 16 tackles, 2 TFLs, and 1 QH Hit.
If the unit did not lose LB James Houston early in the contest due to a targeting penalty, the running game of ULM would have been quieted the second half.
3. Shedeur Sanders is 'Cooler than the Other Side of the Pillow'
If Stuart Scoot was still with us, he would have thought the young Sanders is "cooler than the other side of the pillow." The freshman quarterback did make his first critical mistake of the season by tossing an interception late in the game.
Still, the youngster was cool and had a "Tom Brady-esque" composure leading his team. His 242 yards passing came from completing 27-of-40 passes to 8 receivers for 1 TD, 1 INT, and a 121.8 QBR.
4. Warren Newman is Electric
The diminutive wide receiver is a weapon and bailed Sanders out on several occasions Saturday night. The New Orleans native hauled in 10 receptions for 69 yards and was targeted 12 times.
5. Tigers Special Teams Were Special, Until the End
It was a game of field position for Jackson State against Louisiana-Monroe. JSU punter O'Neal kept the Warhawks in poor field position most of the contest. He pinned three punts inside their 20-yard line and averaged 37.3 yards/punt on 6 punts. McGregor had one punt for 37 yards.
- Seven penalties for 60 yards helped to extend several ULM drives.
- 3 turnovers, especially the final two, were devastating for the Tigers.
- The defense had 12 TFLs. They were faster and very instinctive.
- JSU must improve in the running game. 17 rushes for 26 yards was horrendous. Solely relying on the freshman's arm without a balanced attack hurt the Tigers.
- JSU had 16 first downs compared to ULM's 17 first downs. The Tigers were at 30.8% converting on 3rd downs, while the Warhawks were at 26.3% on 3rd down conversions.
- Deion Sanders should have attempted a 4th and inches in the third quarter to extend a drive. They had the Warhawks on their heels. He decided to punt and momentum swung in favor of ULM.
Can Jackson State hang with FBS teams? Yes. What failed them were the turnovers, penalties, and a lack of a rushing attack.
JSU's SWAC opponents should be very concerned with this Tigers defense. If defenses help win championships, Sanders has a potential championship-caliber team in the 2021 Jackson State University football team.
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