Lenard Tillery entered Saturday’s game against Mississippi Valley State needing 189 yards in the last two games to become Southern’s first 1,000-yard rusher since 2003.
He came out of a 44-13 victory on the cusp of doing just that. Tillery gained 162 yards on 21 carries against Valley. He needs 27 yards against Grambling in the Bayou Classic on Nov. 29 to match the feat last accomplished by Kenneth Peoples.
“I guess we’ll get it next game,” Tillery said matter-of-factly.
“It’s a goal for the offense,” coach Dawson Odums said. “It’s hard to get a 1,000-yard rusher. We have the opportunity. He’s going to run hard, and the line is going to block hard to make sure he gets it. I like our chances.”
Tillery had plenty of help in the run game Saturday as Southern ran 56 times for 321 yards. Both totals are season-highs against NCAA opposition.
“When you’ve got a back like Tillery, run the ball,” fullback/linebacker Brian McCain said. “He truly shows why we run the ball.”
Delta Devil hits milestone
Another player reached 1,000 yards Saturday.
Valley’s Julian Stafford, the leading receiver in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, entered the game needing 19 receiving yards to reach 1,000 for the season. He didn’t take long to reach the milestone.
On the fifth play from scrimmage, he gained 27 yards on a completion from Quantavius Peterson. That play helped set up Peterson’s 9-yard touchdown run.
Stafford finished with five catches for 56 yards and finished the season with 67 catches for 1,037 yards and nine touchdowns.
Defense dominates again
Southern’s defense continued its recent second-half dominance.
It shut out its opponent in the second half for the second consecutive game and had its fifth scoreless third quarter during its six-game winning streak.
The Jaguars — who held Texas Southern scoreless after halftime in a 30-20 victory last week — have allowed just 10 third-quarter points in the last six games. Those third-quarter points came during a 35-34 victory at Alabama A&M on Oct. 4.
Delta Devil has impact
Former McDonogh 35 defensive end Khalil Young came home to Louisiana as the Delta Devils’ leader in tackles for loss and sacks.
He quickly showed off his big-play ability, but in a different way.
Young, who entered the game with 11 tackles for loss and four sacks, picked up a fumble by Tillery and ran 32 yards to the Jaguars 12 to set up Valley’s second touchdown in the first quarter.
He finished with four tackles, though none were for a loss.
Freshman makes mark
Freshman linebacker Kentavious Preston made his first career interception late in the second quarter, setting up Tillery’s 12-yard touchdown.
Different type of end
Earlier this season, McCain switched to linebacker to help the defense.
Late in the game Saturday, another Jaguar moved to defensive, as tight end Bradley Coleman played a handful of downs at defensive end.