- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

ITTA BENA, Miss. (AP) - Rick Comegy led Mississippi Valley State to one huge victory during his first season leading the program.

Now the veteran coach believes the Delta Devils can make those moments a little more common.

Mississippi Valley is trying to improve on a 2-9 record last season, which included the first victory over Jackson State in 20 years. The unexpected win over its in-state rival was a brilliant moment in an otherwise difficult season - the Delta Devils lost by at least two touchdowns in six Southwestern Athletic Conference games.

Mississippi Valley returns quarterback Quantavius Peterson, who threw for 874 yards, six touchdowns and seven interceptions last season while splitting time with now-departed Patrick Ivy. Peterson was also a running threat, with 297 yards rushing and five touchdowns.

Defensive lineman Khalil Young also returns after leading the Delta Devils with 11 tackles for a loss last season, including four sacks.

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Some things to watch as Mississippi Valley tries to improve in Year 2 of the Comegy era:

COMEGY BUILDING AGAIN: Rick Comegy, a 61-year-old coaching veteran, has plenty of experience building a program. He was successful at Central State, Tuskegee and Jackson State before taking the job at Mississippi Valley, which is arguably the SWAC’s toughest job because of its small budget and remote location. “I know that there are a lot of good things going on at Mississippi Valley … We don’t have all the things other schools have. We may not have the money. But if you look at the positive, small is good sometimes.”

QB IMPROVEMENT: Comegy brought senior Quantavius Peterson to SWAC Media Day in July, a sign that he’s expecting big things after up-and-down 2014 season. Peterson can throw and run, but needs to improve on a 45.2 completion percentage from last season.

TESTS COME EARLY: Mississippi Valley has arguably its three hardest games during the season’s first three weeks. The Delta Devils have to face FBS foe New Mexico in the opener and then have conference games against Southern and Alcorn State - the two teams that played against each other for the SWAC title last season.

DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS: Mississippi Valley’s defense will lean on defensive lineman Khalil Young, who led the team with 11 tackles for loss last season, and defensive back Charles Moore, who had 45 tackles and was named to the preseason All-SWAC team.

TOUGH JOB: Comegy has a difficult job building Valley’s program. The school best known for producing Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice hasn’t won more than six games in a season since 1996.

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