Tahlequah Daily Press

NSU Sports

September 6, 2013

After some acceptance

Northeastern State in search of MIAA recognition while opening against Gorillas.


NSU football notebook: Cornerback-wide receiver matchup highlights NSU-Pitt State showdown

Few would argue that Pittsburg State wide receiver John Brown is the best pass-catcher in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. There’s also very few arguments about him being the league’s best all-around athlete.

“John Brown is definitely the guy in the league that everyone talks about — and rightfully so,” Northeastern State head coach Kenny Evans said. “He’s a great player who has a chance to go play at the next level.”

Pittsburg State head coach Tim Beck also said at MIAA Media Day that he wouldn’t argue if Brown was up for Harlan Hill Trophy — Division II’s version of the Heisman Trophy — consideration at the end of the season.

But in Brown’s first game of 2013, he’ll be faced with a tough task: Vernon Jones. The NSU cornerback was third in the MIAA in interceptions last year with five.

“Vernon had a great year, also,” Evans said of Jones, a senior from Jacksonville, Fla.

Last year against NSU, Brown amassed 270 all-purpose yards. He caught nine passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns, and he also had 130 yards worth of punt and kick returns.

Needless to say, Evans and Co. will know where Brown is at all times when the two teams clash at Pittsburg State’s Carnie Smith Stadium.

“There’s going to be times,” Evans said, “when you see double coverage on John Brown.”

Get defensive

With eight seniors returning to NSU’s starting lineup on defense, the RiverHawks figure to improve on their 406.3 yards and 31.4 points per game average in 2012. With that said, the question was posed to Evans: is your team better suited to win low-scoring affairs this season?

“I think we’ve got a better defense than we did a year ago,” said Evans, who returns the league’s top tackles-per-game player in linebacker Langston Jones, plus strong safety Victor Johnson.

“We’ve also got a great running game possibility, so I think there could be some low-scoring games. I hope our opponents’ score is low, anyway. And if we’re able to score a lot of points, I’m OK with that, too.”

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