Jackson State holds off Tennessee State 49-44

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Josh Littles returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a score, Derrick Ponder threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score and Jackson State held off Tennessee State 49-44 on Saturday in a game that featured back-to-back kickoff returns for touchdowns.

After Littles’ score, Tennessee State’s Chris Rowland returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.

Ponder’s 23-yard TD run put Jackson State (1-2) up 14-7 and Tyson Alexander scored on a 52-yard run on the next possession. Jordan Johnson’s 4-yard run capped an 11-play, 96-yard drive for a 28-14 halftime lead and D.D. Bowie ran a reverse and scored from 6 yards out in the third quarter.

Johnson gained 134 yards on 22 carries. Tennessee State (1-1) outgained Jackson State 530-455 in total yards, but was outgained on the ground 338-141.

Ponder, 7 of 13 for 87 yards, hit Kyland Richey on a 16-yard fourth quarter TD pass before Tennessee State scored two straight TDs and tried an on-side kick with 1:09 left but failed to recover.

Cameron Rosendahl, 22 of 32 for 384 yards, threw two TD passes to Steven Newbold, an 18-yarder and a 19-yarder in the fourth quarter. He also threw a 56-yard scoring pass to Chris Rowland. DeMarco Corbin scored on a 14-yard run and Seth Rowland ran it in from the 1.

Newbold gained 196 yards on 10 catches and Chris Rowland had 118 on six.