Jags Defeat Nicholls State 9-3

September 9, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football 

Left guard Drew Dearman (72) looks to pick up the rusher getting by Ucambre Williams (76) as CJ Bennett (15) loads up to throw downfield.

South Alabama gets it’s first win of the season in a defensive struggle against Nicholls State. Three-and-outs and forced turnovers were the story of the game. The Jaguar defense held Nicholls State to a mere 118 yards while forcing three turnovers and only allowing three points to the Colonels.

“Putting pressure on the quarterback really helped us tonight,” head coach Joey Jones said. “I thought we played with a lot more energy on defense, it looked like the defense that I’m used to seeing.”

The first quarter saw several three-and-outs in the first quarter as Nicholls only managed 23 total yards and the Jags only 19 total yards. Each team faced four third downs and only the Jags converted one in the entire first quarter. On top of that, the first two Jaguar drives started at their 2- and 1-yard lines respectively.

Finally on Scott Garbers third punt, the Jags were able to flip field position. Facing 4th and 20 from their own 22 yard line Garber punted, with the aid of the wind, a 69 yard punt to the Colonel 9 yard line. The Jags forced them to punt and had great field position at the Colonel 46 yard line with 1:51 left in the quarter. The offense drives down to the 35 yard line, but on the final play of the quarter, Ross Metheny takes a three yard sack.

After switching sides of the field, the Jags faced a 3rd and 13 going into the wind. An incomplete pass forces the Jags to punt, but Garber cannot keep it out of the end zone.

The Colonels are able to drive, on the ensuing possession, to the Jaguar 20 yard line, but are backed up by a 10 yard loss on a fumbled snap by the quarterback on first down. After back to back incomplete passes, Nicholls State finally break 0-0 tie with a 48 yard field goal, aided by the wind, to take a 3-0 lead on the Jags.

But the Jags answer right back with a drive of their own. Starting at their own 25 yard line after a touchback on the kickoff. T.J. Glover rushes for no gain on first down, then Bennett completes back to back passes to Terrance Timmons and Glover for a first down. Then they rush the ball five consecutive times, three by Baker for 6, 15 and 8 yards respectively. Then Kendall Houston rushes for 6 then loses 3 back to the Nicholls State 30 yard line. Bennett then finds Wes Saxton for 11 yards to make it 3rd and 2 at the Colonels 19 yard line. Timmons rushes for no gain, but a personal foul gives the Jags half the distance to the goal and an automatic first down.

After a penalty and facing 3rd down, Bennett hits Jereme Jones at the goal line but is marked down at the one yard line. Facing third and goal, the hand-off to Kendall Houston loses a yard. After looking like the Jags were going to go for the touchdown, Coach Jones sends on the kicking team but calls a time out when the play clock starts to wind down. Michel Chapuseaux converts the 19 yard field goal to tie the game.

In the second quarter, the Jags defense held Nicholls to -13 yards rushing.

After punts by both teams to start the second half, the Jags put together another drive starting at their own 48 yard line until they reached the Colonel 17 yard line and stalled out. Chapuseaux’s kick into the wind misses wide left.

On the second play of the Colonel’s ensuing possession, Bryson James would pick off the Landry Klann pass at their 33 yard line. On first down, Bennett would find Houston open on the screen pass and with a big block by Drew Dearman, he would scamper for 14 yards to the Colonel 19. But a roughing the passer penalty would put them at the 9 yard line with 1st and goal. A four yard run by Houston would be followed up by two incomplete passes to Lavender and Besteda before settling for a 21 yard field goal with 5:17 left in the third quarter.

The Colonels would go three and out on their next possession and their punt would be fair caught at the Jaguar 22 yard line. Later on in the drive, on third and 6 at the Jaguar 38 Ross Metheny would be flushed out of the pocket and find daylight on the left side. As he was approaching the sideline, the Nicholls State defender was playing the angle to get him but would be completely leveled by T.J. Glover. The game would have to stop and trainers went to assist the injured player.

The player would eventually put on a backboard and have his neck immobilized before put on a stretcher and carted off the field. He was moving his arms and legs and even game the crowd a thumbs-up as he was loaded onto the cart. He was taken to a local hospital for observation as a precaution.

However, on the next play after the stoppage, Terrance Timmons would fumble the ball away to Nicholls State at the 50 yard line with three seconds left in the third quarter.

The Colonels would drive down to the Jaguar 17 yard line, but on 2nd down and 12 yards, Montavious Williams would recover a fumble at the Jaguar 19 yard line ending the scoring threat again.

The Jaguar offense, led by Ross Metheny again, would begin the drive with
three consecutive completions to Saxton for two yards, Hollinger for nine yards and T.J. Glover for 29 yards to put the Jags in Colonel territory at the 41 yard line. The Jags would eventually get down to the Colonel 17 yard line where they would have to settle for another field goal by Chapuseaux to put the Jags up 9-3 with 9:01 left in the game.

After a touchback on the kickoff, the first play by the Colonels would be intercepted by Terrel Brigham at the Colonel 38 yard line. After driving down to the Nicholls State 19 yard line, Baker and Bennett would fumble the handoff exchange and it would be recovered by the Colonels.

With a chance to run out the clock after a couple first downs, the Jags would go three and out starting at their own nine yard line. The Scott Garber punt from the Jaguar 16 would go 48 yards and only returned 6 to the Nicholls State 42 yard line with 2:38 left in the game.

Klann’s first down pass would fall incomplete, but the second would be caught for four yards before getting out of bounds. Then Klann would find tight end Nich Scelfo open for 9 yards and into Jaguar territory. Then a 16 yard pass completion and run down the right sideline would put them at the Jaguar 29 yard line. B.J. Scott would be flagged for pass interference on the subsequent play, putting the Colonels at the Jaguar 14 yard line needing a touchdown.

The first down play would go for a loss of one yard. Followed by an incompletion then a Pat Moore sack of Klann would back them up to the Jaguar 18 yard line facing 4th and 14. Nicholls would call a time out with 38 seconds remaining in the game to scheme a play. After allowing the defense to line up, they could call their final time out. Then the fourth down pass would be broken up by Darrius Morrow to save the game. After a knee, the Jags would watch the time run off the clock for the 9-3 win.

South Alabama led with 279 total yards, 169 passing and 110 rushing while Nicholls State ended the game with 118 total yards, 96 passing and a mere 22 rushing. The Jags held the time of possession lead with 34:52 to 25:08  while they also ran 75 plays to the Colonels 52 plays.

Demetre Baker lead all players with 75 yards rushing while Metheny had 14 , Bennett had 13 and Houston only 10.

T.J. Glover lead the receiver corps with 43 yards on three catches. Hollinger and Lavender both had three for 36 yards and 20 yards respectively. Jereme Jones caught two for 22 and Wes Saxton also caught two for 13. Also Corey Waldon returned from his knee surgery in preseason camp to catch his first pass of the season for seven yards.

Bennett would go 11-of-20 for 111 yards and no interceptions. Metheny would go 6-of-10 for 58 yards and would be sacked three times.

Chapuseaux would go 3-of-4, hitting field goals from 19, 21 and 34 yards but missing a 35 yarder.

“South Alabama is good up front, they rotated eight guys in there,” Nicholls Statate head coach Charlie Stubbs said. “We are kind of young up front in a couple of positions and we weren’t able to substitute as freely as they did. I feel like they kind of wore us down in that area. We weren’t able to really establish much of a running game, except what I could muster with LaQuinton Caston as a Wildcat quarterback, so that goes hand-in-hand. South Alabama made us one-dimensional, and we’re not good enough right now in the passing game to try and win just by dropping back and throwing the ball. Against a defense like that, we have to play really well, execute and stay out of long-yardage situations.”

“It was big for us to win this game. We lose that game and we’re reeling,” Coach Jones said. “I told the kids, ‘A win is a win.’ Ten years from now we’ll look back and remember we won the football game, but we also have to be honest with ourselves and what we have to work on. We were just a little out of sync on offense, and a lot of that had to do — and I’m not making excuses — with not having film on them. When you go into a game and you haven’t watched any film on them, you’re not able to watch their schemes. They changed some schemes up from two years ago. The first few times we had the ball, it was on the one or two- yard line, and we kind of got started on a bad note. I don’t think we adjusted very well, and that’s something we have to look at next week.”

The Jaguar defense played lights-out defense for the game. The Colonel defense schemed well to get enough pressure on the quarterback to cause problems and did well at times at containing the running game.

The Jaguar offense did well when they sped up the tempo can caught the defense in mismatches. But when they got something going, something would cause them to stall out. This will have to be worked on in the next week before the Jags travel to North Carolina State.

However, NC State lost to Tennessee to begin the season then squeaked out a win over FBS-transitional UConn on Saturday. We’ll have to wait and see what the Jags will do against the Wolfpack next saturday when they travel to Raleigh for their first road game of the season.

The Jags and Wolfpack will kickoff at 5pm CDT at Carter-Finley Stadium. The game will be streamed online by ESPN3.

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