|No. 8 East Mississippi to open division slate at No. 4 Northwest in key Top 10 MACJC gridiron battle|
Kickoff for the teams’ MACJC North Division opener is set for 6:30 p.m. at Bobby Franklin Field on the Northwest campus.SCOOBA – A battle of Top 10 teams with possible postseason implications highlights this week’s MACJC gridiron action, as the eighth-ranked Lions of East Mississippi Community College travel to Senatobia to meet the No. 4 Northwest Mississippi CC Rangers Thursday evening.
Pitting a pair of unbeaten teams that have combined to claim the past three MACJC North Division football titles, Thursday’s contest will feature two of the top passing offenses among the NJCAA ranks. Directed by NCAA Division I transfer quarterbacks Bo Wallace (Arkansas State) of EMCC and Ryan Mossakowski (Kentucky) of Northwest, the Lions and Rangers rank third (349.5 yds/gm) and fourth (320 yds/gm), respectively, among the national team leaders in passing yards per game.
Guided by fourth-year head coach Buddy Stephens, the 2-0 EMCC Lions are 26-8 overall and 16-2 in division play dating back to 2008 after kicking off their current campaign with a 34-30 home win over then-No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast followed by last week’s 20-17 road triumph over Hinds. Last year in Scooba, the visiting Rangers snapped EMCC’s 15-game division winning streak by claiming a 25-19 victory over the Lions.
Along with their nationally rated passing offense, the Lions also feature freshman running back Rodriguez Moore, who ranks seventh nationally with an average of 122.5 rushing yards an outing. With his 202 rushing yards on 24 carries last week at Hinds, the Bastrop, La., native became the first EMCC player since current Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount to rush for 200 or more yards in a game.
Defensively, East Mississippi freshman safety Justin Cox is tied for third among the nation’s leaders with three interceptions on the year. The former Mississippi State signee, out of West Point High School, had all three of his picks in EMCC’s season-opening home win over reigning state champion Mississippi Gulf Coast. Up front, sophomore All-America candidate Denico Autry leads all Lion tacklers with 22 total stops on the year, including two tackles for loss and a 17-yard sack. The Albemarle, N.C., native is rated among the top junior college prospects in the country by all of the recruiting analysts.
Under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Ricky Woods, the fourth-ranked Rangers of Northwest Mississippi are also 2-0 on the season after posting a 56-55 overtime home win over then-No. 8 Pearl River to open the year and then knocking off East Central, 42-19, on the road a week ago. Last year, Northwest went unbeaten during the regular season, including a perfect 6-0 league mark and resulting MACJC North Division title, before dropping s 52-24 home decision to eventual state champion Mississippi Gulf Coast in the semifinals of the MACJC State Playoffs.
The last three EMCC-Northwest gridiron meetings have been decided by an average margin of only seven points per game. Prior to last year’s six-point home setback to Northwest, the Lions previously prevailed 49-42 two years ago in Senatobia when EMCC and Northwest were ranked 13th and 18th, respectively. East Mississippi also earned a 27-19 home decision over the Rangers during the 2008 campaign. The Lions went on to claim back-to-back MACJC North Division championships during those 2008 and 2009 seasons with consecutive unblemished (6-0) league marks.
Thursday’s crucial division lid-lifter between the Lions and Rangers will be broadcast live on WLSM-FM Radio, 107.1 out of Louisville, with Glen Beard set to describe the play-by-play action and Kevin Simmons slated to provide the color analysis. John Lyle Briggs will also be on hand to serve as the broadcast’s sideline reporter. The live audio-streamed broadcast can also be heard online via EMCC’s athletics website – http://athletics.eastms.edu – as well as through the website facilities of WFCA-FM Radio – www.wfcafm108.com – out of French Camp.
In addition, Northwest’s live video-streamed broadcast of Thursday’s key divisional matchup will be available at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nwcc-football.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 September 2011 )|
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