Earlier this week, Rick Comegy said his Mississippi Valley State football program is one of his favorite squads to have coached.

Earlier this week, Rick Comegy said his Mississippi Valley State football program is one of his favorite squads to have coached.


"When things don’t go well, sometimes you get guys who want to give up and go home," he said. "Not these guys."


Right now, the Delta Devils are 2-6 and 1-5 in the SWAC, with no chance at finishing with a winning record. It’s not the type of season that Comegy — who led Jackson State to the past two SWAC championship games — is accustomed to, however.


On the scoreboard alone, the Devils, who last posted a winning record in 2006, haven’t been very competitive quite often. Valley followed up its closest loss (20-16 to Texas Southern) with a stunning 27-23 win at Jackson State, but Prairie View A&M humbled Valley two weeks ago in Itta Bena, Miss., 52-19 to end the possibility of a 6-5 record.


"We’re taking baby steps instead of big steps," Comegy said. "We’re not quite there in the consistency level."


Neither is Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-5, 1-4 SWAC), but the Golden Lions picked up a big 38-37 win last Saturday at Texas Southern that keeps their hopes for coach Monte Coleman’s third winning season alive.


UAPB snapped a four-game losing streak despite giving up 582 total yards to Texas Southern. UAPB has given up 460 or more yards in four games this season.


"One of the downfalls we’ve got is our tackling," Coleman said. "We’re not tackling very well. We gave up a lot of yards to Texas Southern. If we can come out at the end of the day with the victory, then the statistic part of that is not important. We don’t try to go in and give up a lot of points or yards, but the ultimate quest is to get the victory."


In recent history, the Lions have turned in solid defensive performances against the Delta Devils, not allowing more than 300 yards or 18 points in their last four meetings. The Lions have won the last six over the Devils and lead the all-time series 23-21-1, according to CFBDataWarehouse.com.


"Against Valley, which is a little bit different than some of the other schools, we really haven’t given up a lot of big plays in years past against them," said Coleman, who’s won all six games against Valley. "That’s what it’s gonna take. We can’t give up big plays.


"Unfortunately for us last week against Texas Southern, that’s what we did defensively. We gave up big runs. We blew coverages on occasions, and just didn’t have our responsibilities in check."


But UAPB countered with two big plays — of the same sort, at that — in the fourth quarter to win. Willie Young hauled in passes of 60 and 69 yards from Ben Anderson, with the go-ahead score coming at the 2:15 mark. Deondre Curtis blocked a Texas Southern field goal in the final seconds to preserve the win.


The Lions have shifted their focus from a 5-3 Tigers team to a 2-6 Devils squad capable of giving the Lions all they can handle.


"Against Valley this week, which is a very good football team, they had the week off," Coleman said. "Coach Comegy (and I), we’re very familiar with each other, so I look for him to bring out all the stops because he’s kind of like us. We have nothing to lose. We’re going to bring out all the stops, too, to win this football game."


And, just like a UAPB-Valley game, Coleman expects the effort to start with the defense.


"We’ve just got to make sure we come to play defensively so that we can hold down the points and hold down the total yardage," he said.