Jags blue out the Reddies 28-3
South Alabama rebounds from turnover fueled, double-overtime loss at Georgia state to force a school record seven turnovers in a 28-3 win over Henderson State. Demetre Baker and Jordan Means combined to account for 22 of the 28 points for the Jags while donning their all blue uniforms for the first time.
Last years game was much closer with the Jags icing the game with a late field goal to win 37-31. But the rematch was never in doubt really. Both teams went three-and-out on their first possessions, but Enrique William’s interception on the Reddies second drive got the offense in gear. They started at the HSU 25 and have first and goal on the two yard line, but three consecutive rushes, two by Houston and one by Baker could not get the ball into the end zone thus they would settle for the field goal.
On the Reddie third possession, Clifton Crews would force a fumble on their first play which would be recovered by Gabe Loper setting up Demetre Baker to rush for 16 and 7 yards respectfully for a touchdown to go up 10-0 in the span of about three minutes.
Then on the fourth Reddie possession, they would line up in the punt formation but would fake it and run but would be stopped short of the one yard they needed for the first down. This gave the Jags the ball at the Reddie 29 yard line. Baker would take it into the end zone again for his second touchdown of the game. What looked like a bad snap would be handled by Taylor Noon and pitched to Jordan Means to run with, but he would be caught failing to convert. This left the Jags leading 16-0 with 1:57 left in the first quarter.
After a HSU punt on another three-and-out, the Jags would start at their own 27 yard line. Jereme Jones would almost get caught for a loss, but would break a 65 yard run down to the Reddie 8 yard line before being tackled out of bounds. Jones would be injured on the play and taken to the sideline and eventually to the locker room.
The Jags would again fail to punch it in with 1st and goal from the Reddie 4 yard line on three consecutive runs by Baker. The Jags would settle for a field goal by Means what was shorter than an extra point to go up 19-0 with 12:52 left in the 2nd quarter.
Henderson State would finally move into Jaguar territory and get as far as the 43 yard line before the drive fizzled out and forcing a punt which was downed at the Jaguar 14 yard line.
The Jags Paul Bennett would catch a good pass from CJ Bennett but would fumble it to the Reddies at the Jaguar 42 yard line. But on 3rd and 6 on the Reddies possession, the Jags would force a fumble and Romelle Jones would recover it at the Jaguar 44 yard line.
The Jags would then march 56 yards in nine plays with CJ Bennett running it in from 9 yards out to cap off the drive. Means’ PAT would be blocked leaving the Jags lead 25-0 with 4:15 left in the 2nd quarter.
Henderson State would start at their own 32 yard line after a short kickoff was fair caught at their 32 yard line. The Reddies would then begin driving into Jaguar territory getting down to the 37 yard line. But the defense would hold on 4th and 11 at the Jaguar 42 to get the ball back.
The Jags would then use their hurry-up offense to try to put points on the board before halftime. Bennett would find Lamontis Gardner for 3 yards on first down. The Jags would call a time out with 41 seconds left in the 2nd quarter. Bennett would find Bryant Lavender for 8 yards and a first down at the HSU 47 with the Jags calling their 2nd time out of the half.
Bennett would find Corey Waldon for 13 yards down to the Reddie 34. Bennett would rush the offense up to the line and spike the ball to stop the clock. Bennett would tuck the ball and run for 6 yards before stepping out of bounds at the Reddie 28 yard line. After an incomplete pass on 3rd down, Means would line up for a 45 yard field goal into the wind with 9 seconds left until halftime. His kick would just barely make it over the crossbar giving the Jags a 28-0 halftime lead.
Henderson State would add a field goal with 33 seconds left in the 3rd quarter to break the shutout, however that would be the only score in the second half.
The first part of the second half was really sloppy for the Jags. After playing a penalty free first half, they would lose some composure in the second half.
It did give Coach Jones and the team to go deeper into their depth chart for a second time this season. At one point, there was only one starting player in the lineup on offense. JJ Keels saw plenty of time at running back and Greg Hollinger got more time than he had all season as well.
Romelle Jones continues to play like a beast on the defensive line. The secondary is playing thin without Damond Smith and BJ Scott. Jereme Jones suffered a bit of a hyper extension to his shoulder but is okay. We probably will not know if he is able to go on Thursday until Tuesday’s radio show.
Drew Dearman has been seeing more playing time on the offensive line and the coaches seem to be quite comfortable with his play. He did a great job on Saturday.
Coach Jones had the following to say at his post game press conference. “Those takeaways were big and we had a short field on offense a good bit tonight, and that’s always a good thing. I thought we really played a good game defensively for the entire game. We didn’t give up any big plays, and if we don’t do that then we are going to be very hard to score on. They did that tonight and I was proud of them.”
“We were prepared, the coaches had them prepared and we had a good week of practice,” he continued. “We match up with teams that are in the spread formation pretty well. I think our athletes fit the spread defensively, and we had a good pass rush tonight. That’s one thing we haven’t had in a while. We put pressure on the quarterback, and we were hitting them and trying to knock the ball loose.”
The Jags defense held the Reddies to 155 yards passing and a mere 55 yards rushing for only 210 total yards. While the Jags offense racked up 252 yards rushing and another 123 yards through the air for 375 for the game. The Jags also held a 37:06 to 22:54 time of possession advantage as well.
Demetre Baker had his first 100+ yard rushing game with 113 yards on 20 carries. Jereme Jones ran once for 65 yards, Myles Gibbon ran 7 times for 27 yards. JJ Keels ran 12 times for 27 yards. While Kendall Houston only carried the ball three times on the opening drive for four yards and that was his game.
CJ Bennett went 11-of-18 for 101 yards with one interception for the game. Myles Gibbon went 4-of-8 for 22 yards and no interceptions. Corey Walden and Bryant Lavender both caught three passes each. Waldon had 35 yards and Lavender had 26 yards.
The Jags have a quick turn-around as they host Mississippi Valley State on Thursday night with kickoff scheduled for 6:30pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The Jags will be dressed out in their white uniform, so the athletic department is asking the fans to wear white to the game.