Roughly a week and a half has passed since the Southern Jaguars began their season with a disappointing 66-21 thrashing at the hands of New Mexico. Now the Jaguars look forward to not only playing an opponent more on their level, but also hosting their first home game at Mumford Stadium this season. Southern plays host to Mississippi Valley State in a rare Thursday night affair, with the contest being televised nationally by ESPNU at 6:30 pm.
"This serves as a recruiting function for us, an audition for Southern University," says athletic director William Broussard III, "For a lot of people who aren't familiar with the university as an entity. This is an opportunity for us to share that story outside the city of Baton Rouge, outside of this region to the entire nation. To show what brand of Southern University is…every element. From our robust fan base, to the quality of the football team, to the excitement of the band. This is an opportunity to sell Southern University to the local community and the nation at large."
It's a very important home opener for embattled head coach Stump Mitchell, who is on the hot seat in his third year with the Jaguars. The Delta Devils have been one of worst teams in the country in recent years, finishing 0-10 in 2010, before a 1-10 record last year. Valley has once again stumbled out of the gate with an 0-2 mark this year, following Saturday's 29-7 rout at Alabama State.
"This game is huge," says Mitchell, "There's no question about it. We're not taking anything for granted or anyone for granted. This is a year in which we have to get something done."
The coach adds that Thursday night isn't pressure for the players, but instead a big opportunity.
"We're excited about playing Mississippi Valley. If we're victorious, which I think we will be, we'll be in first place in the SWAC West."
Mitchell went on to point out that Texas Southern isn't eligible for the SWAC Championship game this year, but the Jaguars now are after being banned last season.
We'll have much more on Southern tonight at 6 & 10 pm during our WAFB-TV sportscasts.