Starting on Friday, the Jaguars will be hosting the Sand Dollar Classic with games against Central Arkansas, Houston Baptist, Jacksonville State and Alabama State. The Sand Dollar Classic is the first of three tournaments being hosted this month by the Jags.
Also be the first game with the new scoreboard at Jaguar Field, so get your tickets now and cheer the Jags on to victory!
South Alabama completed their signing day with a social at Buffalo Wild Wings near the campus and the coaches all had smiles for good reason. Though small, this could be one of their best recruiting classes yet.
The common thread between all the signees was speed, talent, agility, and a true love for the Red, White and Blue.
Another commonality between most of the signees was the proximity to Mobile. Local schools such as Murphy, Davidson, McGill-Toolen, Fairhope, and Spanish Fort were represented by the end of the day to make this one of the most local-heavy classes since joining FBS football.
Two years ago it was huge news that Jalen Thompson stayed hope to play for USA rather than other Power-5 schools including SEC schools who were recruiting him. Now the Jags have done it again with Jalen Tolbert, a 6’3″ 185-pound wide receiver from McGill-Toolen, who turned down offers from Michigan State and Vanderbilt to play for USA as well.
Then Davyn Flenord, a 6’3″ 185-pound wide receiver out of Central Clay County who turned down scholarship offers from Toledo, Troy, UMass and Jacksonville State to play at USA as well.
But there are also examples of players like Cephus Johnson, a 6’4″ 200-pound quarterback from Davidson, who seemingly never waivered from South Alabama during the whole recruiting process.
Since the signing class will only be 11 players due to the blue-shirts from last season, this class will not rank high when compared to other Sun Belt schools. However the quality of player, and notably of character, could make this a real turning point in South Alabama’s future.
However, with everything, we can only speculate until they suit up and play on the field over the next 4-5 years.
Here is a brief summary on the players signed as released by USA Football:
- AJ DeShazor, 6′ 185-pound safety from Lake Gibson HS, Lakeland, Florida. A four-year starter and letterwinner in HS, received three stars from Rivals.com, Scout.com, ESPN.com, and 247Sports.com.
- Davyn Flenord, 6’3 185-pound wide receiver from Central Clay County HS, Lineville, Alabama. Earned three stars and is rated among the top 60 recruits in Alabama by 247Sports.com. Was selected second-team All-State by the ASWA as a senior.
- Kendric Haynes, 6′ 225-pound linebacker from Murphy HS, Mobile, Alabama. Selected All-State three times during his prep career. He finished with 412 total tackles and earned three stars from Rivals.com, Scout.com, ESPN.com and 247Sports.com.
- Cephus Johnson, 6’4″ 205-pound quarterback from Davidson HS, Mobile, Alabama. Rated a two star prospect by Rivals.com, Scout.com, and 247Sports.com and was chosen second-team All-Regions and honorable mention All-State as a Senior.
- Kenard King, 6′ 170-pound safety from Auburndale HS, Auburndale, Florida. Was credited with 82 total tackles, four interceptions, and four passes defended as a senior. Was rated three stars by 247Sports.com
- Gus Nave, 5’11” 175-pound cornerback from Kemper County HS, DeKalb, Mississippi. Ranked among the top 60 prospects in the state of Mississippi by 247Sports.com after helping lead KCHS win the state 3A title during his senior season.
- Zeke Powell, a 6’5″ 290-pound offensive lineman from Georgiana HS, Georgiana, Alabama. Rated a two star prospect by 247Sports and was named first-team All-State by the Alabama Sportswriters Association as a senior.
- Devin Rockette, a 5’10” 175-pound cornerback from Oxford HS, Oxford, Mississippi. He was rated a three star prospect by Rivals, Scout, ESPN and 247Sports.com. He earned a first-team all-state and all-regions honors his senior season.
- Malik Stanley, a 6’3″ 215-pound wide receiver from Coffeyville (Kansas) Community College. He was a first-team all-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference selection as a sophomore where he had 58 catches for 712 yards and six touchdowns.
- Jalen Tolbert, a 6’3″ 185-pound wide receiver from McGill-Toolen HS, Mobile, Alabama. He was named honorable mention all-region by the Mobile Press-Register/AL.com after his senior season where he had 37 catches for 696 yards and nine touchdowns.
- Finally last but not least, Tywun Walters, a 5’11” 215-pound running back from Northwest Mississippi Community College, who signed in December and is enrolled at USA. He ran for 1,000 yards and a team-leading 12 touchdowns to help his team to a 9-3 record and a #6 ranking in the final NJCAA poll.
PLEASE order your tickets through the South Alabama Ticket office. This can and will impact future bowl invites for the Jaguars. Seeing that fans will buy tickets and travel to attend games, bowl committees will be more comfortable selecting South Alabama to their bowl game because their fans travel and support their team.
This cannot be stressed enough. Purchase Tickets From The South Alabama Ticket Office!
Tickets will go on sale today, Monday, December 5th at 10AM to football season ticket holders and Jaguar Athletic Fund members either online via an exclusive email link send at 10AM or via calling 251.461.1USA.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, December 7th at 10AM over the phone at the same number above and online via jaguarathleticfund.com/footballtix
All seating will be assigned based on JAF priority points.
South Alabama has been allotted tickets within Section(s) 19-23 and 25-29 of Arizona Stadium. Prices range from $25-$65. Seating chart below.
Travel Packages are currently being put together which will include airfare, ground transportation, hotel and game ticket with additional events may become available as well. Finalized travel packages should be released soon and will be emailed and posted on online.
The Jaguars now get to play the waiting game.
With the 35-28 win over New Mexico State, the Jags are assured a bowl birth, unlike three seasons ago when the Jags were bowl eligible and on the outside looking in for a bowl (which they wouldn’t get). This season they are assured they are getting a bowl as bowl tie-ins are chaotic to say the least.
As of writing this, ESPN projects the Jags to play Air Force in the Arizona Bowl on December 30. However, that is only speculation at this point. Until the bowl match-ups are announced, the Jags could be going just about anywhere.
Everyone should be proud of what South Alabama has accomplished by earning this bowl birth. They overcame numerous injuries (10 starters among others) to get here. No other has gone to two bowl games in their first four FBS seasons.
Now, for the game itself.
South Alabama found themselves trailing New Mexico State in the fourth quarter but were not going to fall short of bowl eligibility for a second consecutive season.
A run of 21 unanswered points started with Dallas Davis connecting with senior Josh Magee for a 76 yard, game-tying touchdown. But if you ask head coach Joey Jones or quarterback Dallas Davis, the play of the game may have come on the next Jaguar possession. Davis dropped back to pass and had the pocket collapsing around him. Davis found an opening sprinted for it, then Magee made a key block on the outside which allowed Davis to get the first down and extend the drive.
The Jaguars opened the scoring on their second possession when, on the second play, Davis handed off to Xavier Johnson and he found an opening and took the ball 51 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown.
The Aggies would answer in the second quarter after a quarterback change. Conner Cramer would find an opening and scamper 50 yards, then on the next play he would give it to running back Larry Rose who took it 30 yards to the end zone and just like that it was a tie game all over again.
The Aggies were close in on another score after Rose ran for 51 yards but was tripped up at the 7 yard line by Neiko Robinson on the biggest play of the first half. Two plays later Neiko would force a fumble at the Jaguar 6 yard line which Quinton Dent recovered and allow the Jags to run the time out in the half after trying to make an attempt at a couple big plays to get some points on the board before halftime.
The Aggies began the second half with the ball but Devon Earl picked off Cramer at the Jaguar 26 and returned it 23 yards to the 49, but an Aggie penalty placed the ball at the Aggie 34. Then a heavy dose of Xavier and Dami with Magee completion and a Davis first down run, would put the Jags on top 14-7.
The Aggies would tie it up and take the lead early in the fourth quarter. On the ensuing kickoff a trio of offsetting unsportsmanlike penalties were called then Davis found Magee for the tying touchdown.
After forcing a three and out, the Jags demonstrated their ground game dominance with another steady dose of Xavier and Dami but a key run by Davis for 29 yards on 2nd and 18 kept the drive alive and eventually into the end zone to retake the lead.
On the next Jaguar possession, Davis to Gerald Everett got the possession started with a 24 yard hookup, then it would be capped off by Xavier finding a hole in the middle of the Aggie defense, getting tripped, recovering and taking it to the house for a 35-21 lead with 2:28 left in the game.
The Aggies would add one more score to make in interesting but the Jags hands team handled the onsides kick perfectly to seal the game.
The Jags ended the game with 521 yards of total offense, 282 on the ground and 239 through the air. The Aggies finished with 463 total yards, 353 of it through the air.
Xavier Johnson finished with 154 yards rushing on 21 attempts and three touchdowns. Dallas Davis added 82 yards on 11 carries and Dami Ayoola had 64 on 14 carries with a touchdown.
Davis was 16-of-28 passing with two interceptions and a touchdown. Magee had 135 yards on four catches and a touchdown. Everett caught six passes for 69 yards. Kevin Kutchera caught three for 21 yards and Grant Powell, Mseiah Francis and Xavier all caught one pass each.
Of Brandon McKee’s four punts, three of them were downed inside the 20.
For the Aggies, Larry Rose III was their leading rusher with 170 yards and two touchdowns while Conner Cramer added 110 yards and a touchdown.
Cramer went 7-of-15 for a 95 yards, a touchdown and an interception while Tyler Rogers, who started the game, finished 4-of-10 for 15 yards and an interception. Jonathan Boone was the top Aggie receiver with two catches for 47 yards and a touchdown.
See you at the bowl game!
Also apologies for missing reviews on the last couple of games but life got busy and this is currently one of my several side-gigs.
South Alabama was shocked by Louisiana-Monroe.
A team that entered the game 2-6 on the season who was outscored 110-27 in the previous two games and was searching for answers after losing their starting quarterback and falling back on a redshirt freshman and a true freshman.
The Warhawks started freshman Caleb Evans at quarterback and he continually found receivers open over the middle. The Jags defense clearly missed Kalen Jackson in the middle of the defense. Missing six defensive linemen for the season, another clearly slowed from a recent injury, your top tackler is playing through injury, starting left guard out of the season, and also missing one of your top cover corners and it’s a recipe for trouble. But the nagging injuries do not stop there: Dallas Davis with turf toe, Xavier fighting through injury on top of all the other injuries that accumulate through the course of a season.
And trouble is exactly what the Jags ran into in Monroe.
On the positive side, the offense gained 516 yards, 209 of it on the ground. Having coach Vincent on the sideline definitely has helped spark the offense but 12 penalties for 83 yards is enough swing a close game the other way.
Head coach Joey Jones was clearly beyond unhappy after the game. Unhappy is not a good way to describe it. His post-game interview was blunt and honest. He felt the team did not come to play Saturday afternoon and that they had a lot to work on going into an open week.
The biggest question right now is who is going to step up and fill Kalen’s shoes. His ability to defend the middle of the field and provide run support was a huge part of the Jaguar defense.
Even with that, the Jags stepped up late in the game with a 6 play, 80 yard drive in 1:08 to tie the game up with :50 left in the game. The Warhawks took possession and got to the Jaguar 39 yard line before Evans was picked off by Jeremy Reaves at the USA 31 and returned to the ULM 33 with only five seconds left in the game.
Gavin Patterson’s season long is 40 yards and is 1-of-4 from 40-49 yards. With a 50 yard attempt to win the game, but his kick was blocked which sent the game into overtime.
In overtime, the defense had a 3rd and 1 at the 16 but an offsides penalty gave the Warhawks an automatic first down and they went on to score a touchdown.
The Jags opened their overtime possession with an three yard run by Xavier Johnson then back-to-back incompletions led to a 4th & 7, which turned into a 4th & 12 after a false start. Then the Warhawks sent a blitz up the middle that the offense couldn’t pick up and Dallas Davis was sacked to end the game 42-35.
The Jags best chance at getting bowl eligible is to get wins against Idaho and New Mexico State. The Presbyterian game currently cannot be counted towards bowl eligibility since they already have one win over a FCS school on their resume this season. There will be an appeal to the NCAA, but with all things NCAA related there’s no certainty as to what their response will be.
But that’s looking ahead, the only thing the Jags can control at this time is getting healed up as much as they can for Presbyterian on November 19. They have to stay focused on one game at a time and handle business.
These are all winnable games, but harder to fight two opponents at once: the team your playing and the injury bug. Let’s hope this is the END of the injuries and we can start actually play like a team rather than a MASH unit.
Forth quarter heroics propelled the Jaguars to a 13-10 win over Georgia State on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
The game was a tale of two defenses. Each defense caused problems for the opposing offenses as neither team really ran the ball well nor did they throw the ball particularly well.
That is until the Jaguars started playing with urgency in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars took possession of the ball at their own 8 yard line with 11:03 on the clock. The drive began with a 15 yard pass completion to Gerald Everett then the Jaguars started a “death march. Six consecutive rushes that moved the ball from the USA 23 to the Panther 24 before the first negative play of the drive. And it was nearly disastrous as quarterback Dallas Davis was in the shotgun, but the center’s snap was as if he was under center.
After getting behind the down and distance, back-to-back incompletions gave head coach Joey Jones a very interesting choice to make: attempt a field goal and close within 4 points or go for it on 4th and 11 to keep the drive alive.
Jones opted to go for broke and it paid off. Davis’ pass to Everett was caught about five yards short of the first down marker, but Everett turned and accelerated upfield, broke tackles and willed a first down on a 14 yard gain.
The drive ended with three more runs for a game-tying touchdown.
Brandon McKee, who earned Sun Belt Conference honors for his play, pinned the Panthers at their own 9 yard line with 1:28 left in the game. After a flag for roughing the quarterback, Finesse Middleton came up with an 11 yard sack with :51 left and the Jags used their final time out to force a punt.
Then for the third time in the game, Brandon Wright shanked a punt. The kick sailed out of bounds at the 31 yards, a mere 18 yards.
With only :44 on the clock, no time outs and after already missing field goal in the game the Jags had the ball in a 10-10 tie.
After two runs, the Jags were flagged for a false start. Then Xavier Johnson took the ball and came up short of the first down. With the clock running, the offense came to the line of scrimmage and spiked the ball with :06 left. Gavin Patterson came onto the field for a 30 yard attempt. After Panther head coach Trent Miles called both of his remaining time outs, Patterson drilled the kick to take a 13-10 lead with just two seconds left.
The sky kick to the sideline hit off a Panther’s hands and out of bounds. After an official review, they put one second on the clock but the Jaguars prevent defense and three man rush were enough to knock down the ball short of the end zone and give the Jaguars their first conference win.
South Alabama gained only 306 yards, 182 of it through the air. The Panthers gained 240 yards with 127 of them on the ground. Xavier Johnson led the Jags with 83 yards rushing while Everett was the leading receiver with four catches for 49 yards.
But the game MVP and deserved the SBC Special Teams Player of the Week honor was McKee who downed all four of his punts inside the 20. Corliss Waitman punted once for 53 yards and also downed his inside the 20.
Now the Jaguars look to build on their first conference win with a trip to Louisiana-Monroe, who is 2-6 on the season and hoping to keep their bowl chances alive under rookie head coach Matt Viator.
The Warhawks offense has suffered since losing their multi-dimensional quarterback for the season two weeks ago as they have been outscored 110-27 by New Mexico and Arkansas State.
Playing two young quarterbacks, a redshirt freshman and a true freshman, the Warhawks are trying to something that works.
USA did not have any serious injuries for what seemed like the first time all season against the Panthers. The Jags unprecedented list of injured began when they lost all three starting defensive linemen in summer camp, then lost during the season and then lost their leading tackler Kalen Jackson for the season against Troy. Couple that with turf toe injury to your starting quarterback, an undisclosed injury to Josh Magee, a couple injuries to Xavier Johnson that led him to miss playing time and losing the starting left guard and it’s amazing to think that they have wins over Mississippi State and then 19th ranked San Diego State under their belt this season already.
If the Jaguars can get their running game established early and the swarm defense can cause their normal distractions then the Jaguars should have a great opportunity to get back above .500 and one game closer to bowl eligibility.
Oh and let’s stay healthy too. That’s probably the biggest key.
The rivalry belt will spend the next year in Troy, Alabama after the Trojans scored 18 unanswered points to win 28-21 with a strong contingent of Trojan fans there to view the game. Jags fall to 3-4 overall and 0-4 in Sun Belt Conference play while Troy improves to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in conference play.
The game started with a flurry but would later be overshadowed by the terrible officiating. The level of officiating would make anyone angry and would draw endless ire if it occurred in a Power 5 conference.
The first play from scrimmage it looked like the Trojans has scored a 79 yard touchdown, but running back Chunn stepped out of bounds near midfield. Then a pass was caught in the middle of the field and he was surrounded by the Jaguars swarm defense and stripped of the ball.
The Jags would capitalize with Xavier Johnson scoring on a short touchdown run.
The Jaguar defense forced a punt deep in Trojan territory, but the snap was low and the Jags pounced. Again another Xavier Johnson short touchdown run put the Jags up 14-0 early in the game.
Troy’s first big play of the game came on an 80 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brandon Silvers to Tevaris McCormick to half the leave 14-7.
On one of the more dubious moments of officiating in the game, the play was called dead at the snap, Johnson was running out to the right flat and slowing down after the whistle, but a Trojan player kept going full speed, lowered his head and blindsided Xavier. No flag was thrown, but after head coach Joey Jones went to the numbers of the opposite side of the field pleading and checking on his player, the referees reviewed the play for targeting. They determined it was not targeting, Xavier left the game with an injury and never returned.
USA would score only once more after he left as the Jaguar rushing attack went anemic. Actually the Jags were outscored after Johnson and starting left guard Curtis Williams, who left with a knee injury in the first quarter, by a score of 21-7.
In the fourth quarter, in a tie game, the Jags had an opporunity after Randy Allen recovered a fumble late in the game, but the Jaguar offense couldn’t get anything going and went 3 and out.
Troy then drove 80 yards in 5 plays and only used :53 seconds to take a 28-21 lead.
Dallas Davis was sacked on the first play forcing the Jags to use their second time out with 1:06 left. After an incomplete pass, the Jags had some confusion on offense and burned their final time out with 1:00 left in the game.
Dallas Davis, facing 3rd and 18 at their own 13, was flushed out of the pocket and with the secondary playing deep coverage, he was able to scramble for 17 yards and a first down after a review due to a bad spot from the officiating crew.
Dami Ayoola rushed for 10 yards and another first down before Davis was sacked again in the pocket. After way too much time ran off the clock, Davis found Kutchera for a 35 yard completion but as he was trying to fight his way toward the end zone the ball came loose and was recovered by the Trojans with no time left on the clock.
Depsite leaving the game so early, Xavier was the Jags leading rusher with 58 yards on only six carries. Tyreis Thomas added 41 on 10 carries and Ayoola with 34 on 8 carries.
Davis was 11-of-20 for 195 yards and a touchdown, but was sacked 6 times.
Kutchera led the receiving corps with 92 yards on three receptions. Tyrone Williams hauled in 4 catches for 50 yards while Gerald Everett finished with 3 catches for 49 yards and the lone receiving touchdown.
Brandon McKee had seven punts for an average of 49.3 yards per kick, including a 74 yard lone as he pinned the opponent inside the 20 three times. Corliss Waitman kicked twice with an average of 42 yards per kick.
Jordan Chunn led the Trojans with 143 yards rushing on 23 carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Silvers finished 28-of-42 for 395 yards and a touchdown.
Tevaris McCormick led all receivers with 127 yards on four catches and the lone passing touchdown. Emanual Thomas was next with 74 yards on 7 catches and John Johnson who has 72 yards on six catches.
Overall Troy outgained USA 585 to 340. Rushing, the Trojans had 190 to USA’s 145. Passing the Trojans had 395 yards to Davis’ 195.
Time of possession was pretty much equal as Troy possessed it for 30:56 in the game.
Jags will have a couple extra days before they host Georgia State on October 29 for homecoming.
Arkansas State’s defense counfouned the Jaguar offense the entire game save for one drive late in the fourth quarter en route to a 17-7 defeate of the Jaguars.
The Jags offensive line had problems protecting the quarterback and opening running lanes as Cole Garvin and Dallas Davis were sacked six times combined. Davis threw an interception inside the five yard line near the end of the first half. However the other Jaguar turnover, a fumble by Kutchera that was scooped up by a Red Wolf defender and returned for a touchdown, opened the scoring in the game.
The offense only tallied 255 yards of offense with only 61 on the ground. They only had 44 yards in the first half until the final Jaguar possession that ended with the INT inside the five.
The Jaguar defense only allowed 297 total yards, 204 of them on the ground. With the loss of Sir’Calvin Wallace for the game (though maybe not for the season), we’ve lost count how many defensive linemen have been injured for the Jags.
The inability for the Jags offense to protect quarterbacks Dallas Davis and Cole Garvin, was a stark difference from the previous game against San Diego State, that it was like it was a totally different team on the field. Just two weeks ago the Jags took down the then #19 team in the nation, then two weeks later they have major problems protecting, opening running lanes and putting points on the scoreboard.
Defensively, the Jags had problems stopping the Red Wolves rushing attack. Most of it can be attributed to the loss of so many defensive linemen, and yet they only allowed 10 points.
Cole Garvin started the game under center but gave way to Dallas Davis prior to halftime after the Jaguar offense had struggled to only gain 44 yards up to that point. Then the offense drove 56 yards prior to the interception at the 3 yard line ended the possession.
But it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Jaguars finally got on the scoreboard after short punt was downed at the USA 16 then a personal foul backed them up to the 8 yard line and finally a false start put them back at the 4 yard line. Facing 3rd and 9, Davis connected with Gerald Everett for a 76 yard catch and run to get deep into ASU territory. A few plays later the Xavier Johnson would get the only score of the game for USA.
Davis finished the game with 146 yards on 9-of-15 passing with an interception and sacked twice. Garvin only had 48 yards on 3-of-12 passing and took four sacked.
Everett had 125 yards receiving on five catches.
Dami Ayoola led the way rushing with 34 yards on six carries followed by Xavier Johnson with 24 yards on 10 carries.
Justice Hansen had 93 yards passing on 9-of-13 passing with one interception. Warren Wand led all rushing with 88 yards on 18 carries. Johnston White rushed for 58 on 12 carries and Hansen had 37 yards on 15 carries.
The Jags will have a short turnaround as they host conference leader Troy for a Thursday night nationally televised game at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
South Alabama was ready for #19 ranked San Diego State’s bid for revenge for last season’s loss to the Jaguars in overtime. They were also ready for the
Entering the game, the Jags were without their starting quarterback Dallas Davis and starting running back Xavier Johnson. Sophomore Cole Garvin stepped in and played a great game. Garvin was an efficient 16 of 21 for 242 yards and three touchdowns with only one interception.
Tyreis Thomas, who started in place of the injured Johnson led the Jags on the ground with 33 yards on 11 carries with a touchdown. Dami Ayoola added 22 yards on eight carries with the other rushing touchdown for USA.
Garvin spread the ball around pretty well with Josh Magee earning the most catches with six for 83 yards and a touchdown but Gerald Everett lead the team with 103 receiving yards and a touchdown, including an 80 yard touchdown to open the 2nd half scoring.
Donnel Pumphrey entered the game as the nations leading rusher and averaged almost 200 yards per game, though he still rushed for a quiet 151 yards and a touchdown, the Jags kept him bottled up for most of the game.
Late in the second quarter the Jags got the ball after Kalen Jackson forced a fumble which was recovered by Sir’Calvin Wallace putting the Jags in great position to take a two-score lead, but the drive would end with Garvin’s lone mistake when he threw into double coverage and was picked off.
The Aztecs would drive to the Jaguar 17 yard line but the Jags defense held them to a field goal and took a 16-14 lead into the locker room.
The Jags opened up the scoring in the second half on the second play from scrimmage when Gerald Everett wasn’t covered on a pass play and Garvin had time to get it to him then Everett raced down the near sideline 80 yards for the touchdown.
The Aztecs would score one more time after holding USA to a three and out, they would ride Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny more most if not all of the 90 yards on the drive. Once they scored, they went for the two-point conversion and converted to take a 24-21 lead over USA.
South Alabama answered with a drive of their own covering 69 yards taking 11 plays and spanning 6:08 capped off by a 20 yard touchdown reception for Josh Magee. The Jags lead was 28-24 early in the fourth quarter.
Then the Jags broke it open after holding SDSU to a punt, the back-up long snapper snapped it over the punters head. He would fall on it at his own 3 yard line giving the Jags a 1st and goal from there. Ayoola would punch it into the end zone giving the Jags a two-score advantange 35-24.
On the next Aztec possession they methodically drive down the field to the Jaguar 24 before the Jags defense stropped the ball and Devon Earl picked it up and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. But on the play, defensive lineman Sir’Calvin Wallace went down and needed the trainers for the second time in the game. This time they brought the cart out but he refused to be carted off the field and hopped on one leg to the sideline.
The Jags dominated most offensive categories. USA outgained the Aztecs 331 to 316. Jags gained 242 through the air while SDSU threw for 159. Led by Pumphrey, the Aztecs out rushed the Jags 157 to 89. Additionally, the Jags possessed the ball for 33:17 to San Diego’s 26:43.
After a weekend off, the Jags will travel to Arkansas State looking to knotch their first win over the Red Wolves (0-4).
The Jags needed a defensive stop and a drive in the final minutes of regulation to force overtime against the Colonels. Which they did.
Then in overtime, the Jaguars knew both defenses were tired so they ran the ball between the tackles, converting a critical 4th and inches on the drive, all the way to the endzone on the opening possession of overtime.
Nichols first play from scrimmage on their overtime position gashed the Jaguar defense for a big gain. They would eventually punch it into the end zone, but they were not going to go into another overtime period. It was going to end one way or another in the first OT.
On the first 2-point conversion attempt, the Jag defending seemingly intercepted the ball in the endzone but an offsides penalty gave Nichols a second chance from the one-and-a-half yard line. The Jaguar defense was ready for the run and stopped it cold preserving the 41-40 win.
The USA players will have plenty of film to review this week. They should pay close attention to how Nichols took advantage of every Jaguar mishap. It’s not often that a team can overcome four interceptions one a pick-six, a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown, and a kickoff recovered by the the opposing team.
The Jags dominated in offensive stats: 510 total yards to 230, 208 rushing yards to 161, 302 passing yards to 69, 24 first downs to 12, time of possession 32:16 to 27:44, 8-of-19 on third down to 3-of-13.
But the stat that ultimately determines the outcome was 41-40.
After the Colonels won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, the Jags opened with a 95 yard kickoff return by Xavier Johnson to take a 7-0 only :12 into the game.
Dami Ayoola would score for the Jags very early in the second quarter on a 3 yard run to make it 14-0. The Colonels would return the kickoff 77 yards to the Jaguar 20 but Randy Allen would deliver a painful hit to quarterback Chase Fourcade forcing a fumble that was recovered by Kalen Jackson.
The celebration was short lived though because on the very next play Dallas Davis’ pass is tipped and it falls right into Nichol’s players hands and there was no one in position to catch him.
Momentum had definitely shifted in favor of the visitors after a 49-yard field goal attempt was blocked and returned for a touchdown to tie the game up at 14-14. Later a pooch kick would be captured by Nichols in Jaguar territory to help make the 2nd quarter a nightmare for the Jaguars.
Dallas Davis was 25-for-50 with one touchdown and four interceptions and 302 yards. Xavier Johnson finished with 103 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns. Tyrone Williams lead with 6 catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. Kevin Kutchera was huge with 4 catches fro 86 yards.
Now the Jags can correct what they see on film this week as they prepare to host their first top-25 ranked team in the nation when the San Diego State Azetecs arrive. The Aztecs look to revenge their loss to the Jags last season, which is the last game they dropped since then, giving them the 2nd longest winning streak in the nation behind Alabama.
The Jags will have to play a clean game, they can’t commit four turnovers and do what they did on special teams and expect to win.