Jags Look For Complete Game Against Mean Green

November 7, 2012 · By · Filed Under Football 

As the remaining games dwindle down this season the Jags continue to work hard to add more wins to their season total. A few weeks ago South Alabama notched their first win against an FBS team and a Sun Belt team when they defeated Florida Atlantic in double overtime.

While the Jags record is 2-7 (1-4 SBC) it does not show how close they are to a much better record. In recent weeks they have dropped games by a margin of one possession to FIU last weekend and Arkansas State a few weeks back. They also dropped the season opening game to UTSA by a field goal in the final minute of the game. If those game swing the Jags way the record would be 5-4 overall.

But those games did not go the Jags way and the team is eager to add more to the win column.

“We’ve played some good games, but I don’t know that we have played a four-quarter game yet, I really don’t,” Jones said. “I think we have played three quarters, we have played two, we have played three-and-a-half against Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas State. We are doing some good things. For where we are in our program, we have to play four quarters to have a chance to win.”

“I think we have gained some respect from the other coaches and the teams we have played against,” Jones continued. “That’s gratifying in some ways because when you walk across the field and shake a guy’s hand, you can tell that they respect what you are doing. But it still wasn’t a win on the scoreboard, and until we start getting some of those it’s going to sting.”

While the totals in the Win and Loss columns may not show it, but the Jags have improved from game one through game nine this season. Yes they have had letdowns in certain facets of their game from week to week, but they still improve from week to week.

South Alabama dug themselves a big hole against FIU, yet put up attention-grabbing numbers on both sides of the ball against FIU, the preseason pick to win the Sun Belt title. The Jags posted a season-best 458 yards of total offense and averaged six yards per play. Defensively the Jags held FIU to a mere 31 yards of offense in the second half with only two first downs.

The Jags also scored 13 unanswered points in the second half including a 75 yard touchdown pass to open the half from Ross Metheny to Corey Besteda. They also had three drives that crossed midfield in the fourth quarter and had a third and goal from inside the one yard line in the fourth quarter but could not get in the endzone after a false start penalty back them up five yards.

“We’re a much better football team now than we were the first year,” Jones said. “It’s probably the biggest improvement that any team we have had these first four years has made within the season. Is it showing up in the conference standings? No, because we still see some L’s over there on our side. Did we play really well? Yes, but this game is all about winning.”

South Alabama will be looking to put together a complete, four quarter game against North Texas this weekend.

The Jags gave up 334 yards of offense to FIU to rank second in the Sun Belt with an average of 364.7 yards per game. Metheny put up a game-record of 326 yards of total offense against FIU as he threw for 270 yards and rushing for 56 more yards.

North Texas enters the game averaging 405.8 yards per game including an average of 175 yards rushing per game. The Mean Green ranks fourth in the conference in rushing with two backs in the top 10 individually. Brandin Byrd has 572 yards on 152 carries with two touchdowns while Antoinne Jimmerson has 522 yards on 105 carries with five touchdowns.

UNT quarterback Derek Thompson has thrown for over 200 yards in seven consecutive games with a 316 yard game against Arkansas State last weekend. He averages 229.3 yards per game passing for the season to rank fifth in the conference.

However the Mean Green is missing Breland Chancellor to a season-ending injury. He had 966 all-purpose yards including 25 catches for 450 yards and five touchdowns.

“The thing that is dangerous about them is that they will run, run, run, run and all of a sudden run play action and throw it deep over the top,” Jones explained. “We have to be smart and not give up the big throw. Our cornerbacks and safeties are really going to have to do a good job this week. We have to be disciplined in the secondary, especially this week.”

UNT has allowed an average of 410 yards per game and over 250 yards per game passing. In the last four games opponents are averaging over 315 yards per game through the air.

“North Texas is a very physical team, they play power football offensively,” Jones said. “Defensively they don’t run a lot of things, but they do them extremely well. They have big guys up front who are 330 and 300 pounds inside. They play very good fundamental football and are very well coached. They beat Louisiana-Lafayette on TV three weeks ago, they got after them. They play with a physical nature that they bring to every game.”

The Jags will kickoff against North Texas in Denton, Texas at 4pm. The game can be heard on WNSP and viewed through the University of North Texas’ online video service.

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