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Northeast Mississippi Community College’s football team will try to bounce back from its first North Division setback when the Tigers make the trek to Scooba to take on East Mississippi Thursday at 7 p.m.
Northeast (3-2, 2-1 in North Division) was handed its first North Division setback to the nation’s seventh-ranked team Northwest at Tiger Stadium last week 26-6 where the Northeast offense only mustered a pair of Taylor Earhart field goals in a contest that was dominated by placekickers.
East Mississippi (2-3, 2-1) coming off a 49-14 win over Coahoma Community College last week that saw the Lions pull into a tie with the Tigers for the second-place spot in the division.
Itawamba currently holds down the fourth position in the division with a 1-1 record followed by Coahoma at 1-2. Two teams are winless in the seven-team division – Holmes and Mississippi Delta sport identical 0-5, 0-2 marks on the year.
East Mississippi’s offense broke loose against Coahoma during week five action with Lion quarterback Brad Henderson accounting for five scores through the air. Henderson connected on 17-of-25 passes for 210 yards and five scores while finding wide receiver J.J. Harbin on three connections for 60 yards and a pair of scores.
Henderson did it on the ground for the Lions as well rushing nine times for 67 yards.
Henderson has to match wits with the Northeast defense that had two Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC)/Region XXIII Defensive Players of the Week in Anthony Payne (Leroy, Ala.) and Tarondal Phillips (Holy Springs).
Payne came up with six tackles against Northwest last week along with three tackles for loss while Phillips collected seven tackles and an interception for the Tiger defense that held the Ranger offense to four field goals until late in the contest.
Northeast’s matchup with East Mississippi will mark the second week in a row that the Tigers have faced one of the region’s top offenses.
After facing Northwest’s third-ranked offense, Northeast gets the region’s fourth-best offensive unit in East Mississippi. East Mississippi averages 414.6 yards a game and has racked up over 2,000 yards in the first five games of the year.
The Lions are almost a two-to-one favorite to go to the air collecting 1,383 yards through the air while amassing just 690 markers on the ground.
After dropping to the second-best defense in the league before the Northwest game, Northeast held onto its position and remains the second-ranked defense in the region.
Northeast only allows 264.2 yards per game and limits opponents to 107.8 yards rushing and 156.4 yards passing per game.
Copiah-Lincoln holds down the top spot with a 243.2 average and has a 105 total yard lead on the Tigers.
Northeast’s game will air in its entirety on Supertalk 102.9 FM starting at 7 p.m. Thursday. The change from Northeast’s flagship station of 96.3 ‘The Ticket’ is accommodated by the University of Mississippi’s off week allowing the Tigers to start at 7 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. after Houston Nutt’s Coaches Show on Thursday night.