Traditionally SWAC cellar-dwellers, Delta Devils have given Jaguars fits
Mississippi Valley State has had its struggles in Southwestern Athletic Conference play.
The Delta Devils have compiled a 135-280-8 record since joining the SWAC in 1968.
Yet over the past few seasons, Mississippi Valley has been a thorn in Southern’s side.
The two schools have split the past two contests, with Valley claiming a 6-0 victory last season in Baton Rouge, while the Jaguars snuck past the Delta Devils 28-21 in 2011.
Three seasons ago Valley had Southern on the ropes, trailing by only four points heading into the fourth quarter.
With the Jaguars facing a third-and-23, tight end Rashaun Allen hauled in a pass from quarterback Dray Joseph down the sideline and dashed 73 yards for the touchdown.
The loss was the second-closest margin of defeat for Valley at 18 points in a season as the Delta Devils went winless.
The last time Southern visited Valley in Itta Bena, Miss., it narrowly escaped with a hard-fought seven-point victory.
With the game tied at 21 early in the fourth quarter, Southern quarterback J.P. Douglas found wide receiver LaQuinton Evans for a 58-yard touchdown for the game’s deciding score.
The loss marked the Delta Devils’ 18th consecutive conference loss, yet was the smallest margin of defeat in conference play since 2009.
Valley’s shutout victory last season was its first since 2008 when the Delta Devils blanked Texas College 38-0.
Mississippi Valley’s stunning upset over Southern last year cemented former coach Stump Mitchell’s quick and sudden departure. Less than 24 hours following the abysmal home defeat, Mitchell was fired just two games into his third season.
“My first year that I was at Valley, (the Southern game) was the first game going into the fourth quarter where we actually had a chance to win,” said Valley coach Karl Morgan, a Houma native. “I can’t put my finger on it, but for some reason we always plays Southern tough.”
Southern has dominated the all-time series, holding a 34-9 series lead with wins in 16 of the past 18 matchups.
The Jaguars also hold four shutouts against the Delta Devils, the most by any school.
The two universities have faced off every season from 1967 to 1998.
The two schools did not meet in 1999 and 2000, as well as in 2009, and 1999 marked the inaugural year of a 10-team SWAC.
The SWAC went to a two-divisional format, with five in each division, and only a necessary requirement of seven conference games to be played. The two teams did not play in 1999 and 2000 because of the new format, falling victim to a varying SWAC rotational schedule.
In 2008, Southern and Mississippi Valley squared off despite it not counting in the conference standings based on a stipulation by the SWAC. With a seven-game conference format, schools were then allowed to schedule conference opponents as nonconference games. The SWAC has since adjusted its format to a nine-game conference schedule in which every school in the conference faces one another.
Despite earlier reports in the week that he would play Saturday, Southern will be without defensive back Virgil Williams against Mississippi Valley State. Williams injured his rib cage last week against Prairie View in the first quarter while returning a punt and did not return to action. The all-conference defensive back is expected back next week when the Jaguars host Jackson State. ... The Jaguars will have strongside linebacker Daniel Brownback for Saturday’s game. Brown, who left last week’s game with a sternum injury, led the team in tackles in its first two games of the season.