Texas Southern pitches historic shutout against rival Southern in the Arlington Football Showcase

Courtesy of Texas Southern Football

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ARLINGTON - On Saturday, the Arlington Showdown became a showcase for Andrew Body and the Texas Southern defense at Choctaw Stadium.

Texas Southern secured its first two-game winning streak against Southern with a dominating 24-0 victory. The last time the Tigers had a winning streak of at least two games was from 2009-11.

The Tigers win marks their first against a team coached by Eric Dooley, who was 4-0 against TSU at Prairie View A&M before taking the Southern job during the offseason.

TSU got off to a fast start, which is something TSU coach Clarence McKinney learned from one of his mentors.

“I learned from my mentor and Kevin Sumlin years ago,” McKinney said. “We would have a drill called “fast start,” and it gets our players mentally prepared to start the game fast. So we want to take the ball, start the game fast and play from ahead.”

A historic shutout

Texas Southern's defense entered the game with three interceptions in its first three games. The Tigers equaled their season total against Southern. Cedrick Williams got the interception party started on the Jaguars first drive.

Charles George ended a possible scoring drive for Southern with a diving interception in the endzone in the second quarter. Perry Wells capped off the party with an interception on SU’s first drive of the second half.

The defense handed Southern a rare shutout. The last time the Jaguars were shutout came against Southern Mississippi in 2017, and the last SWAC team to shutout SU was Mississippi Valley State in 2012.

The last time TSU shutout an opponent was in 2016 against Mississippi Valley State, and the last time the Tigers held Southern scoreless in a game was 1970.

“You saw from our D-line a tremendous amount of effort no matter who was in the game; guys played with great effort,” McKinney said. “That's what you got to have success playing in the trenches.”

The Andrew Body show

The Tigers offense was rolling from the opening kickoff, led by sophomore quarterback Andrew Body, who completed 15-of-18 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns in the first half to help build a 21-0 lead for TSU at the break.

TSU’s first two scoring drives were 10-play drives that wore down Southern’s defense on a hot afternoon. The Tigers would have had three scores on their first three drives if not for a 26-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide right.

It did not matter which defense SU deployed against Body on Saturday. When the Jaguars played zone, Body took the short passes. When SU switched to man defense, Body would use the rushing attack to gash the Jaguars defense.

“That's the Andrew I know. I see it every day in practice,” McKinney said. “I know how great he can be, and I just want him to go out and relax, have fun and be himself, and that's what he did. When he's playing at that level, we're pretty hard to stop.”

Building the program

The Texas Southern football program is on the rise thanks to the vision and determination of coach Clarence McKinney. The Tigers began the McKinney era with 15 consecutive losses before ending the streak with a 69-0 win over North American last year.

Since that victory, TSU has won three of its last nine games against SWAC competition, including two wins over rival Southern. Two of the Tigers losses in conference play during this stretch have been by three points.

What is the next step for the TSU program? 

“When I took the job, my goal was to lay a foundation. You saw that foundation being laid last season with quite a few freshmen that we played early on. We're still building those bricks to be what we want to be,” McKinney said. “What's next is we take it one day at a time, one game at a time, and we just continue to build upon what we've done so far.

“I'm so proud of these young men. I've put them through a lot, and they've done everything I've asked them to do. To see us improve each week the way we have - it's a blessing, and I appreciate them for believing in me and working hard and doing the things that I've asked them to do.”

Game Ball: Texas Southern Defensive Line

It would be easy to give the game ball to Andrew Body, but this week's honor goes to the men in the trenches that made life difficult for the Southern offense.

“You saw from our D-line a tremendous amount of effort no matter who was in the game; guys played with great effort,” McKinney said. “That's what you got to have success playing in the trenches.”

 

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