Two Unknowns In One Week For The Jags

September 6, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football 

As the Jags prepare for a bit of an unknown opponent, they are venturing into another unknown as well. This is the first time in their short four year existence that the Jags have to find a way to rebound from a season opening loss. But they will have an opportunity to do so when they host the Nicholls State Colonels on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

The loss came in heartbreaking fashion as the Jags had retak a 31-30 lead with a 34 yard touchdown pass from C.J. Bennett to Jereme Jones with less than three minutes left in the game. After a 15 yard penalty on the kickoff gave UTSA great field position, they drove into field goal range where Sean Ianno kicked the 51 yard game-winning score with 16 seconds left in the game to avenge last season’s loss in San Antonio.

“If their kicker doesn’t make the last field goal then everybody is happy, but we’re still dealing with the same issues,” head coach Joey Jones observed. “My challenge to the team is three, four or five games from now, let’s look back and see how we improved. Let’s see if we’ve stopped turning the ball over and if we’ve stopped committing dumb penalties. If we can do that we will have a shot. We need to be a team that can get better as the season goes along.”

South Alabama defeated the Colonels in 2010 39-21 on Kendall Houston’s first career 100-yard game with two touchdowns on 12 rushes.

Also in that game two years ago, the Jags found themselves trailing in a game for the first time ever when the Colonels took leads of 7-0 and 14-7 early in the game. Those scores were made by Jesse Turner, who is listed as second string running back for Nicholls State, on a 33-yard run and a 95 yard reception in the first quarter.

However in the second quarter, South Alabama responded with 20 unanswered points and didn’t look back. The Jags would rack up 490 yards of total offense with 288 of them on the ground. Brandon Ross joined Houston by also rushing for over 100 yards and a touchdown.

Nicholls State quarterback LaQuintin Caston led the team against the Jags  by going 13-of-23 passing for 273 yards and two touchdowns. In 2011 Caston threw for 870 yards and rushed for another 707 yards. However in the offseason he has made the move from quarterback to wide receiver. In a radio interview this morning, Nicholls State head coach Charlie Stubbs said that he had problems in several games and they did not want to have one of their best players on the sidelines when they put another quarterback into the game.

Landry Klann is the projected starter at quarterback. He went 36-of-57 last season for 377 yards and two touchdowns.

The Colonel defense allowed less than 360 yards per game in 2011. They return seven starters from last season including their leading tackler Jordan Piper with 81 tackles and Siegan Vergenal who had 65 tackles.

However they will be without their top two returners from last season.

Coach Jones does not think reviewing the 2010 footage will be much of a benefit to the team. “This is a completely different ballgame,” he stated. “You can look at some things offensively because coach [Charlie] Stubbs has been calling the plays the whole time [he has been running the program], but they have changed on defense. We won’t really look back at that film.”

Stubbs is a well known offensive playcaller and should have plenty of new wrinkles for the Jags when they play on Saturday. They will definitely try to get the ball into Caston’s hands as well as their other playmakers.

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