JACKSON, Miss. – For the first 30 minutes, everything went right for the Prairie View A&M Panthers in their SWAC contest versus Jackson State on Saturday. However, nothing went right over the final 30 minutes as Jackson State scored 34 points in the second half for a 34-13 win at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Panther defense had an inspired first quarter as defensive tackle Tyler Dickson recovered a big fumble at the Tiger 25 on the opening play of JSU’s second drive of the afternoon. The Panther offense rewarded them for their effort as sophomore running back Courtney Brown rushed in from eight yards for the team’s first score of the night. Chris Barrick’s PAT was successful as the Panthers claimed an early 7-0 first quarter lead.
On the ensuing drive, JSU drove all the way to the PV 5 but the Panther defense came up with a huge fourth down stop as Jackson State’s Dedric McDonald threw an incomplete pass out the end zone. However, Prairie View’s offense couldn’t capitalize on the momentum as its next drive stalled after an interception.
Despite the interception, PV came out on top after the next JSU offensive possession as the Tigers missed a 28-yard field goal attempt. Both teams traded possessions from that point with the Panthers finally making some noise late in the second quarter as fullback Krys Watkins took a fake punt 34 yards to the JSU 17 on fourth down. Unfortunately, the Panther offense stalled and they had to settle for a 30-yard field goal from Barrick en route to a 10-0 lead that stood until halftime.
Jackson State made a quarterback switch to begin the second half and came up big as backup Clayton Moore led the Tigers to the PV 11 before suffering an injury on the opening drive. Despite the injury, JSU managed to find the end zone for the first time all afternoon as Rakeem Sims punched it in for a 1-yard run. The PAT was unsuccessful though as PV led 10-6 at the 11:31 mark.
The next drive began in favor of the Panthers as wideout Robert Primes caught a 28-yard pass from Jerry Lovelocke to move into JSU territory. However, the drive crashed and burned two plays later as Lovelocke’s pass was picked off by JSU’s Qua Cox. Jackson State used the momentum to drive down the field and move ahead as Sims scored on a fourth-down conversion. The PAT was good as the Tigers jumped ahead 13-10.
Freshman kick returner Johnta’ Hebert broke free for a 69-yard kickoff return on the next play to excite the Panther faithful. A personal foul was attached to the play which gave the Panthers outstanding field position at the JSU 10. But once again, the Panthers couldn’t capitalize as the JSU defense forced a tackle for loss, sack and incomplete pass on the drive. PV did manage to get something out the drive as Barrick’s 32-yard field goal was good for a 13-13 tie.
The Panther defense forced a three-and-out on the next possession but went backwards offensively as a penalty and two tackles for loss were recorded deep in their own territory. Forced to punt on 4th-and-8, the punt was mishandled in the end zone and JSU moved ahead by a touchdown after Willie Bell jumped on the ball with 27 seconds left in the third quarter.
From that point, it was all downhill as JSU went ahead 27-13 early in the fourth stanza following another touchdown. Prairie View A&M drove down to the JSU 29 on its next drive but came up short on a fourth-down conversion. JSU added another touchdown on the ensuing drive for the game’s final margin.
PV totaled 239 total yards (148 P, 91 R) on the afternoon compared to 336 from Jackson State. Sophomore running back Fred Anderson rushed for 59 yards on 16 attempts while Lovelocke passed for 148 yards on 12-of-27 passing. Wide receiver Spencer Nelson caught a team-high five receptions for 42 yards. Defensively, linebacker Chuck Obi totaled eight tackles while fellow linebacker Jerome Howard had seven tackles, a forced fumble and pass breakup.
The Panthers return to play next Saturday in Dallas for the annual State Fair Classic contest versus Grambling State at the Cotton Bowl. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.