Jags Defeat Kent State 38-21 On Homecoming
The South Alabama Jaguar football team were challenged to put together a complete game and they came out and did just that in their 38-21 win over Kent State. The win ended a two game losing streak for the Jags and evens their overall record at 3-3 for the season.
The Jags gained 481 total yards in the game, 257 yards rushing and 224 yards passing. They had 29 first downs in the game while converting 6-of-11 third down attempts. Also in six trips into the red zone, the Jags scored on five of them and all were touchdowns.
Ross Metheny led the offense for most of the game and added a fifth consecutive game where he has rushed for a touchdown. Aleem Sunanon connected on a 45 yard field goal after two weeks of open competition for the plackicking position. Additionally Kendall Houston scored two touchdowns on runs of three and 14 yards.
Jay Jones ran for a season-high 99 yards on 13 rushes to lead the backfield. Cris Dinham also had a career best 67 yards on 12 rushes. Kendall Houston rushed for 43 yards on seven carries while Terrance Timmons rushed for 21 yards and Julien Valentin added 20 late in the game.
The offense ran 77 offensive plays and averaged 6.2 yards per play without a single turnover.
Defensively, Maleki Harris had a career-high tackle total with 10 to lead the defense. He also recorded 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Montell Garner added seven tackles, Enrique Williams had six and Romelle Jones added five. Alex Page had four tackles, two of which were sacks.
The Jags were up 10-0 before Dri Archer scored on a 74 yard run with under 10 minutes to play in the first half. However the Jags responded with a 79 yard drive in nine plays to take a 17-7 lead into halftime. Actually, the Jags would post three consecutive scores after Archer’s touchdown to take a commanding 31-7 lead in the second half.
Dri Archer struck again with 14:01 left in the game when he took the first down pass from David Fisher 73 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 31-14.
South Alabama responded when T.J. Glover returned the kickoff 67 yards to the Kent State 30 yard line. It would become the Kendall Houston drive as he rushed four consecutive times before hitting pay dirt on the fourth which covered 14 yards. The Jags would then lead 38-14 with 11:28 left in the game.
Kent State would put together a drive in the final 1:38 to make the score slightly more respectable after they scored with six seconds left in the game for the final score 38-21.
Eight different Jags would catch passes in the game with Shavarez Smith leading the way with 63 yards on three receptions and Wes Saxton catching the most passes for the Jaguars with four. Jereme Jones extended his consecutive games with a completion streak with two receptions for 23 yards. Danny Woodson would catch three passes for 38 yards and the only receiving touchdown for the Jags.
Ross Metheny was 16-for-23 for 224 yards and a touchdown through the air and a touchdown on the ground as well. Brandon Bridge was 0-for-1 in his limited time in the game, which was almost disastrous. One play he tried to make something happen after being persued. After being tripped up he tried to throw the ball as he was going down deep in USA territory, but it was ruled a fumble. However, after review, it was overturned and ruled an incomplete pass but a flag was thrown for intentional grounding. The Jags were able to punt on the next play.
The second quarter has been a problem for the Jags this season. The 10 points they scored in the second quarter were the first since the second quarter against Western Kentucky and the first time they scored a touchdown in the second quarter since the game against Tulane.
On Kent State’s first drive, the Jags Montavious Williams blocked a 41 yard field goal attempt, which was big for the Jaguars defense early in the game.
The only two negative things from the game without reviewing the game film were the two long touchdown runs by Dri Archer after catching a passes out of the backfield and allowing the late touchdown at the end of the game.
Dri Archer is a talented player and the Jags did well keeping him bottled up for most of the game, save for those two big plays. Archer would finish with 227 all-purpose yards, 114 rushing yards on 10 carries. The late touchdown was not allowed by the first string defense. The defense played very soft in that last drive trying to let the time run out.
After the game head coach Joey Jones spoke about the game. “We’re gaining confidence right now and maturing as a team,” he said. “We have played a lot of tough teams on our schedule, and we’re going to play even more. All we can control is what we do, and I think our kids are buying in to that. If we learn from that today, then we can continue to use it and be successful with it.”
“As a whole today, guys were motivated, and we played with a great swagger,” Jones commented. “Guys were celebrating after every play that was made.”
“My hat’s off to Kent State,” Jones commented about Kent State playing without starting quarterback Colin Reardon and star defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix. “They came down here banged up with a lot of injuries and two of their best players hurt. They have played five of six games on the road and that’s a tough thing to do. I’ve been in their shoes, and understand what that’s like.”
“My hat’s off to my team, players, coaches and everyone involved with the organization. That was a solid win for us,” Jones said. “I thought we played well in all phases and played for four quarters. We challenged our players all week to take it a quarter at a time and win each quarter, and I thought they did that. We played a little looser out there, and that was good to see. I am real proud of the way we played.”
However Jones also said, “I’m sure we’ll see some things on film that we need to correct, but overall I’m real pleased.”
South Alabama will travel to San Marcos, Texas to face Texas State in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday, October 26 with kickoff scheduled for 6pm.