Greetings, Lion fans, and in the final edition of the Pre Snap Read for the 2022 season, we’ll break down the matchup with the Tigers of Tennessee State. First, though, we must take a look back at the heartbreak in Thibodaux with Nicholls State.
Simply put, last week’s game was a complete failure of the offense, despite playing a penalty free game in the first half and having some success moving the football. The second half, though, was just a nightmare. A quarterback couldn’t be settled on. The offense barely averaged 2.3 yards per rushing attempt, and 4.7 yards per pass attempt, and if that pass play took any time to develop, there wasn’t any pass protection. The Lion offense made few, if any adjustments, and could not seem to decide what they wanted to accomplish, or how they were going to go about it. The result? A 12-10 loss to a team they should have easily beaten.
What is left now? A final opportunity to finish the 2022 season on a high note and cement a ninth straight winning season. So, let’s see about the Tigers from Clarksville, Tennessee.
Head Coach: Eddie George, 2nd year (8-9)
Points: 29.0 ppg
Rush: 136.1 ypg
Pass: 224.8 ypg
Total: 360.9 ypg
Points: 25.8 ppg
Rush: 168.3 ypg
Pass: 191.7 ypg
Total: 360.0 ypg
If that name sounds familiar, it is. Yes, it is the Eddie George, the 1995 Heisman Trophy winner from Ohio State, and had a storied 9-year NFL career with Houston for one season before they moved the franchise to Nashville, Tennessee, and one season with the Dallas Cowboys before retiring in 2004. George was the featured back on a 1999 Tennessee Titans team that were inches away from upsetting the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl 36. In only his second season at TSU, the Tigers under George have shown steady improvement.
If the Lions have an advantage here, it’s in the running game. If the offensive line is able to open some holes, there are opportunities for success running the ball.
UP FRONT/TALE OF THE TAPE:
Lion Offensive Line: 6’3″ 293 lbs.
Tigers Front Six: 6’1″ 258 lbs.
The Tigers are led in tackles by a pair of senior linebackers, Jashaun Bryant (6’2″ 225 lbs.), and K’Vaughun Pope (6’1″ 225 lbs.). Bryant has 79 tackles (38 solo) and Pope has 62 tackles (29 solo). In front of them is a very big defensive line with senior Terray Jones (6’1″ 310 lbs.), junior Terrell Allen (6’0″ 275 lbs.), an Austin Peay transfer, senior Tadarrius Patterson (6’1″ 228 lbs.), and redshirt senior Davoan Hawkins (6’2″ 286 lbs.) a transfer from Kentucky.
The Lion offensive line has struggled recently, but are still young, and a work in progress., anchored by senior Rehoboth Chibesa (6’3″ 309 lbs.). He is joined up front by sophomore Jadin Jones (6’4″ 278 lbs.), senior Solomon Ndukwe (6’3″ 318 lbs.), freshman Chandler Donaway (6’1″ 268 lbs.), and freshman McKenzie Agnell0 (6’5″ 293 lbs.)
MOVERS AND SHAKERS/THE BACK LINE:
Lions Movers and Shakers: 5’11” 194 lbs.
Tigers Back Line: 5’11” 183 lbs.
The Lions continue to be led in both rushing and passing by sophomore Eric Rodriguez, who did not play last week due to injury. The 5’10” 195-pound dual threat has 329 yards on 77 attempts with a long of 27 yards. Rodriguez is also 117-186 passing for 1,523 yards, 16 touchdowns, and a long of 96 yards. Freshman running back Reggie Branch (5’11” 195 lbs.) has moved into second in rushing, with 280 yards on 41 carries, 3 touchdowns, and a long of 33 yards. Junior do-it-all running back Spencer Long (5’11” 196 lbs.) has 214 yards on 50 attempts, with 3 touchdowns, and a long of 69 yards.
Sophomore wide out Andrew Armstrong (6’6″ 189 lbs.) makes one last charge this season for the all-time single season record in touchdown catches, Armstrong currently is one touchdown short at 13, nad has 58 catches for 983 yards, and a long of 96 yards. Sophomore Jaden Proctor has developed into a very good #2 receiver, with 33 catches for 347 yards, 2 touchdowns, and a long of 27 yards.
VERY SPECIAL, INDEED:
Sophomore Mitchell McGarry (6’3″ 225 lbs.), continues to be a bright spot-on Lion special teams, despite not having impressive numbers, with a 35.4-yard average on 52 punts, with a long of 63 yards. He has done a great job battling some hard winds in his face, and some immense pressure on occasion. junior Emmanuel Adagbon (5’10” 195 lbs) missed his first field goal last week, albeit a 47-yard blast into a very hard wind that came up just short. He is 35-37 on extra point attempts.
The Tigers return game is led by freshman defensive back Boogie Trotter (5″9″ 170 lbs.), who has a 4.9-yard average on 10 returns, with a long of 16. Freshman Tysean Jefferson (5’5″ 170 lbs.), has 16 kickoff returns for a 19.3-yard average, with a long of 37 yards, and senior Zack Dobson (5’8″ 170 lbs.) averages 23.3 yards on 6 returns, with a long of 51 yards.
THE LIONS WIN THIS MATCHUP IF: There are two absolute musts this week, and both center around that young offensive line. 1. They have got to find a way to protect the passer, no matter who it is, and allow them time to look for opportunities further downfield. 4.7 yards per pass attempt just doesn’t bode well for success. 2. They have to be able to sustain some kind of rushing attack. 2.3 yards per run will not get the job done at any level.
In the last 12 quarters of play, the Lion offense has scored just 31 points. That’s not a misprint. 31 points. This offense, although young, has far too much talent and ability to playing like this. 10 games into the season, a great deal of the mistakes we are seeing should have gone away for the most part. They have got one more chance this season to turn this offense around. Can it be done? We shall see.
See You at The Hawk.