THE RATING GAME
1. ALABAMA STATE
The only perfect team in SWAC play. Who saw this coming?
2. JACKSON STATE
How about that? Tigers played a complete game against TSU.
3. ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF
Lions have been the most consistent team in the West.
4. PRAIRIE VIEW
Panthers won three of their past four. Can they keep it rolling?
Jaguars survived at Valley. But they must start playing better.
6. TEXAS SOUTHERN
Tigers were playing well. They got mauled last week at JSU.
7. ALABAMA A&M
Don’t count out Anthony Jones. He’s won three straight games.
Wow. Tigers have lost four straight. Who saw this coming?
9. ALCORN STATE
At some point, Braves have to find a way to win close games.
10. MISS. VALLEY STATE
One day, and soon, Devils will give Karl Morgan his first win.?
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
at Texas Southern, 1 p.m.
Mississippi Valley State
at Alabama A&M, 1 p.m.
at Jackson State, 4 p.m.
Prairie View at Southern, 6 p.m.
GAME OF THE WEEK
at Texas Southern
1 p.m. Saturday
Delmar Stadium, Houston
This is indeed a rematch of last season’s SWAC Championship Game. Why, then, does it feel so different? Because it is. Kevin Ramsey is the interim coach at TSU now; he replaced Johnnie Cole, who was fired. As Ramsey noted himself, the Tigers have seven new starters on defense, and their special-teams units looked awful in a 58-13 loss at Jackson State last week. Meanwhile, the Hornets are rolling. New quarterback Greg Jenkins has added life and versatility to the offense, which ranks third in the league in passing. ASU’s defense has allowed a league-low nine touchdowns. Texas Southern, however, leads the SWAC in total defense, allowing 210.2 yards per game.
AROUND THE SWAC
•?What has happened to Brandon Bridge? A star in the making as a freshman last season, Bridge is now splitting time with Darius Smith at quarterback. “He’s a guy that has a real big arm, a guy that has a little bit of poise,” said first-year coach Melvin Spears, who added: “It’s an ongoing competition for everyone. Not just the quarterback.” Together, the two quarterbacks have completed 48 percent of their passes, and the Braves are a disappointing 1-4.
•?How’s this for a rebound? Alabama A&M looked lifeless in a 21-6 loss at Southern on Sept. 10. Since then, the Bulldogs have won three consecutive games. Last week, they played Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which hadn’t lost a conference game. A&M rallied for three fourth-quarter touchdowns to drop the Lions 28-27. “We had opportunities (in losses) against Southern and even Hampton,” coach Anthony Jones said. “In the fourth quarter (against UAPB), we were able to make them happen.”
•?Some encouraging news for Grambling: In an otherwise messy start, wide receiver Mario Louis has stood out as a playmaker. He is second in the SWAC with 429 yards and six touchdowns. “Mario has been the only guy from the receiving standpoint who has stood up and said, ?Give me the ball,’” coach Doug Williams said.
•?Jackson State quarterback Casey Therriault rebounded in a big way last week against Texas Southern. On Sept. 24, in a 21-14 loss to Alabama State, he threw six interceptions. Last Thursday against TSU, Therriault had 300 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and a 5-yard rushing touchdown. “He’s not slow. He can probably outrun half the team,” JSU coach Rick Comegy said. Speaking about players like Therriault, Comegy added: “They come along once in a while, and I’m glad we got him this time.”