MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama State head coach Donald Hill-Eley isn’t taking his team’s upcoming opponent lightly.
“Probably the best skilled team we’ve faced all year,” he said.
ASU is on the road for what seems like the 2000th consecutive week this Saturday, and they’ll be in Houston taking on Texas Southern, who by the way have yet to win a game.
But despite the Tigers being 0-9 on the season and 0-5 in conference play, Hill-Eley isn’t sleepwalking past preparing for this team and neither should his Hornets.
“You have to go out there every week and play these guys like they’re the SWAC champs,” said Hill-Eley.
Of his team possibly looking past this Texas Southern team, Hill-Eley said, “They see the tape... This is a team that can beat you.”
In fact, in their film studies, it’s likely the Hornets studied a Texas Southern offense that’s second in the conference in total offense, averaging 447.3 yards per game, and an offense that boasts the conference’s fourth-best passer in quarterback DeAndre Johnson, and best receiver in Donnie Corley.
Johnson’s 1,545 yards are impressive, but what’s even more impressive is that Corley has 905 of those receiving yards. Corley averages neatly eight receptions per game, putting him at the top of the conference in that category as well.
If there’s a spot for the Hornets to attack, it’s the defense of Texas Southern that ranks dead last in yards per game allowed. The Tigers are giving up an average of 571.7 yards per game, and for an Alabama State offense averaging 350.3 yards per game in its last three contests, that’s a positive sign.
Alabama State’s defense pitched its first shutout since 2012 in their recent 27-0 win over Mississippi Valley State, and will fly into Houston with a lot of confidence.
Hill-Eley re-iterated that this Texas Southern team has, “nothing to lose,” and that they’re playing for the love of the game at this point. The Hornets are still in the middle of a SWAC East division race. Their 3-2 record has them in third place behind 4-0 Alcorn State with two SWAC conference games remaining.
The Hornets and Tigers kick off at 2 p.m. Saturday.