The Tigers are coming off a blowout win against the Virginia University of Lynchburg Hornets, which gives them a 1-0 record on the season.
2015 Record: 9-3, SWAC Runner-up
Key Offensive Players: Martez Carter (RB), Jestin Kelly (RB), Chad Williams (WR), Justin Miller (OL)
Key Defensive Players: Guy Stallworth (DB), Arkez Cooper (LB), Jameel Jackson (DB), Malcolm Williams (LB)
The Tigers are a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference in the FCS level. This is a team that started their 2015 season with an 0-2 mark before ripping off nine straight victories. Their final loss came to Alcorn State in the SWAC Championship.
The 2016 squad returns five players who earned all-SWAC honors. Justin Miller, Chad Williams and Guy Stallworth made first team, while Martez Carter and Arkez Cooper made second team.
From an offensive weapons stand point, the Tigers are returning their two leading rushers in Carter and Kelly. They’re also returning their leading receiver, Williams, who tallied 813 yards and eight touchdowns last year.
One of the biggest questions for the Tigers during the offseason was "who will be the starting quarterback?" Former starter and 2015 SWAC Player of the Year, Jonathan Williams, and backup Jevon Williams have both moved on. This left the door wide open for Ole Miss transfer DeVante Kincade, but Trevon Cherry and Charles Wright are also in the mix.
All three of these quarterbacks played against Lynchburg in week one. Kincade took the first team snaps and accounted for four total touchdowns. He also threw three interceptions. Cherry saw some extended action too, finishing with 140 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Kincade spent two seasons with the Ole Miss Rebels prior to transferring to GSU. He saw limited action in Oxford, but when he did see the field, he was a legitimate dual-threat. In 12 games, he was very balanced in terms of pass attempts to rushing attempts — 35 and 37 respectively.
On the defensive side, the defensive line lost the most in terms of pass rushing production. However, three of the team’s top four tacklers from 2015 are returning; Stallworth, Cooper and Jackson. Another linebacker to keep an eye on is outstanding sophomore Malcolm Williams, who was among the top ten tacklers on the 2015 team.
Kincade will likely be the starting quarterback against the Wildcats. This will be a good tune-up game for UA’s defense. Why? The Tigers have good athletes on offense who are capable of big plays. It will also be a great opportunity for the offense to get back on track. This could be considered the least difficult game of the year and I expect an outcome that resembles last year’s matchup with NAU.