Head football coach Joey Jones, sporting his freshly grown goatee, and the South Alabama Football team held their weekly press conference ahead of this weeks Sun Belt Conference game against another conference newcomer in Appalachian State. Jones was joined by cornerback Qudarius Ford and wide receiver Shavarez Smith to review the Jags win over Idaho and preview the game versus Appalachian State.
“I’m real proud of our young men and how we played Saturday,” Jones said about his team’s win over Idaho. “It was a total team effort. We played better offensively. We were more consistent, and we have to continue to improve there. Defensively, we played with great tenacity – just getting after the quarterback and guys covering downfield. It was a pretty impressive showing. We were backed up a couple of times where they had the ball inside our 20-yard line and came away with three points in two or three times. I was real proud of our guys. Special teams is an animal I have been real proud of. Our punter (Brandon McKee) is kicking the ball well and we are covering well. We almost busted another kickoff return, so we’re playing sound special-teams wise.”
“He won the job last week”, Jones said about placekicker Grant McLaurin. “We talk about it all the time – your job is on the line every week. He came out and kicked a 44-yard field goal right before the half; he kicked extremely well. I was real pleased with him. He had a cool nature out there and didn’t go out there with any panic. I was real proud of how he kicked on Saturday.”
“Our defensive line is playing really well,” Jones said about the defense. “Those guys are tough; they can rush the passer and play against the run. It starts there. Our linebackers are playing well right now, and our secondary is covering. Our defense is pretty good. We are starting to create some depth behind the starters, and the defensive staff is doing a great job coaching them. They are playing hard and believe in what they’re doing.”
“Our guys look forward to performing on the field,” said Jones about his teams performance on the road, where both of their wins on the season have come. “The goal we had at the beginning of the year was to play well on the road, and we’re starting to get that done. We have to continue to do that this week against a really good Appalachian State team.”
Jones then gave a brief glimpse at Appalachian State. “They are very athletic defensively. They have guys who fly around to the football. Offensively they run a system similar to us. Their quarterback, Taylor Lamb, is a good, young quarterback who really places the ball well. They have some good receivers and an experienced offensive line. They are a good quality football team for sure.”
Senior cornerback Qudarius Ford spoke about both the Jaguars win over Idaho and their upcoming test, Appalachian State.
“It was a big win for us because it gives us confidence going into these next conference games,” Ford said. “We needed that boost in confidence, and just needed to get things rolling. Defensively, we need to play physical and just eliminate the mental errors.”
“They (defensive front) made it real easy for the defensive backs,” Ford continued talking about the defensive front’s play against the Vandals. “They got so much pressure on the quarterback that he didn’t have a lot of time to look for a receiver to throw the ball to. They did a great job, and I know they will continue to do so.”
The Jaguar defense came away with seven sacks and a pick 6 against Lineham and the Vandals.
“(Defensive coordinator) Coach (Travis) Pearson does a good job of just simplifying the game for us and letting us play faster,” Ford observed about the defensive teams play this season. “The thing is we just have to stop the mental errors. That’s really what has been hurting us this season. If we just capitalize on the big plays and be consistent then we’ll be alright.”
“We just have to eliminate the big plays and play physical with them,” Ford said about this weekends matchup against the Mountaineers this weekend. “We are going to prepare for them like any other team.”
Senior wide receiver Shavarez Smith helped the Jaguar offense record 429 yards of total offense, 100 yards more than their average entering the game.
“A win is always a positive thing for a football team,” Smith said about the teams win over Idaho. “It gives us confidence. We play to win, so getting a win is always rewarding because we work so hard during the week. Our goal is to win this conference, and winning that game last weekend was a big stepping stone toward that. We don’t want to lose any more games, period. And we definitely don’t want to lose any more conference games because our goals are well within reach. We are going to try to make sure we keep making stride toward those.”
“Every game as an offense you gain some experience, knowledge and a little more wisdom as far as the game is concerned itself,” he said about the offensive unit. “We also gain a little more chemistry. You can tell by watching our past game that we looked a little better out there from a chemistry standpoint. We are just going to try and build off of what we accomplished last game.”
“We have guys who can make plays. It’s good to see people stepping up and doing that,” he said concerning the depth and wide receiver play of the Jaguars. “We’re trying to give (quarterback) Brandon (Bridge) targets and make him more comfortable throwing the ball. Anytime you can have an offense with multiple weapons, it obviously makes you more dangerous.”
The Jags had a rash of dropped passes in their losses to Mississippi State and Georgia Southern. The receiver corps played much better against Idaho as Bridge went 15-of-25 with few outright drops compared to the previous two games.
“They pursue pretty well defensively; they do a good job of running to the play,” Smith said about Appalachian State. “We are going to have to make sure we protect the ball and finish off our runs with physicality. It’s our job to execute offensively.”
The Jaguars and the Mountaineers kickoff at 5pm on Saturday in Boone, NC. The game will be televised on ESPN3 and, as with every Jaguar football game, play-by-play and color commentary on the radio on 99.9FM and streaming online via iHeartRadio.
Jessica Lewis recoded her ninth double-figure kill match on Saturday night with 11. Nikki Gittens added eight kills and a .462 hitting percentage. Abby Baker added 15 digs to lead the back court.
Sarah Richardson recorded five kills, a .308 hitting average, and two blocks in her first start as a Jaguar.
The Redwolves improved to 8-5 overall and 3-1 in conference play. They were led by Sarah Kemp’s 12 kills. Kelsey Reis added nine kills while hitting .389.
Arkansas State held a 17-4 advantage in total blocks.
The Jaguars will travel to face Appalachian State in Boone, NC on Friday, November 3 then face Georgia State in Atlanta on Saturday, November 4.
The USA Soccer team used two goals in the first eight minutes of the match to defeat in-state rival Troy 2-1 at The Cage Friday night.
The Jaguars improved to 9-2 overall and 1-0 in the Sun Belt Conference on the season. They also extended their winning streak to seven games with the win and snapped Troy’s eight-match winning streak as the Trojans fell to 8-3 and 0-1 in conference play.
The Jaguars took advantage of a Trojan miscue when freshman Rio Hardy picked up an errant back pass to the Trojan goalkeeper and walked into the net in the fourth minute of the match for her sixth goal of the season.
In the seventh minute of the match, freshman Sophie Haywood knocked home a free kick from sophomore Nikki Shirtcliffe to double the Jaguar advantage at 2-0.
The Jags and Trojans were stalemated for the next 75 minutes until Troy’s Georgia Wallis’ free kick from the top of the 18-yard box that deflected off Jaguar goalie Sarah Hay and went into the net to half the Jaguars lead to 2-1. South Alabama clamped down their defense as the Trojans did not get another attempt.
The goal allowed by Hay was the first in 532 minutes since the season opener against UAB. The Jags came into the match ranked 10th in the nation in goal against average.
“It was a great result, but I know we can play a lot better than that,” Jaguar head coach Graham Winkworth said. “Credit Troy, they played extremely well. They caused a lot of problems and we managed to solve most of them as the game went on, and I thought the second half was much better. It’s important to get the first win. Sometimes wins come a little bit ugly and I’m pleased we got the result today.”
The team will have the week off before resuming their conference schedule on Friday when they host Louisiana-Monroe beginning at 7pm.
The Jaguars offense seemed to correct the problems that had plagued them the last two games as they put up 429 yards of total offense against the Vandals. Bridge went 15-of-25 for 196 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He completed passes to seven different receivers, his favorite in the game was Shavarez Smith who caught 6 passes for 44 yards. Wes Saxton caught three for 18 yards and Jereme Jones caught two for 11 yards. Claude Garrett caught his first touchdown pass as a Jaguar, his only catch of the game.
Jay Jones went for 108 yards on 18 carries, his second 100 yard game of the season but his first since the season opener against Kent State. Brandon Bridge added 71 yards, including a 54 yard touchdown run, on six carries.
“We got a lot better, but we have to continue to improve,” head coach Joey Jones said about his offense. “I’m never satisfied, we’re going to get there. But I thought we were a much‐improved offense this week. I think we are honing in on what we are good at, and the coaching staff is doing a good job of calling plays we are good at running. We have to continue to do that and continue to get better.”
Qudarius Ford led the defense with nine stops, Demarius Rancifer added seven stops and a sack filling in for injured Jaguars. Montell Garner had five stops, a sack and an interception returned 59 yards for a touchdown. In all, the Jaguar defense sacked redshirt freshman Matt Linehan seven times.
“Our defense is playing hard,” Jones observed. “They are getting after it, and that’s the way we play defense here at South Alabama. Our defensive front did a great job. The guys covered well, the linebackers were fitting holes – it was a total team effort. All of the coaches did a great job. (Defensive coordinator) Coach (Travis) Pearson and his staff did a heck of a job. When you play defense like that then you have a chance. That is one of the best offenses in the league, and we did a great job stopping them.”
USA opened the scoring with under four minutes left in the opening quarter with Bridge’s strike to Garrett. Then 36 seconds later Garner would pick off Linehan and take it to the house to give the Jaguars a 14-0 lead.
The Jags would add a 19 yard field goal by Grant McLaurin to go up 17-0 with 8:41 left in the second quarter.
The Jaguar defense would force the Vandals to attempt a 40-yard field goal, but the kick would sail wide left with 2:03 left in the half.
Head coach Joey Jones was content to go to the locker room with a 17 point advantage but the Vandals would open the door with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after stopping the Jags on third down which gave USA a first down at the 41 yard line and plenty of time to get into scoring position. Bridge would connect with Smith for back-to-back completions, with the last going 10 yards and out of bounds at the Idaho 27. McLaurin would drill the 44 yard attempt to give the Jags a 20-0 lead at the half.
The Jaguars would only need three plays to get back onto the board again. Facing third and 1 at the USA 46, Bridge would call his own number and sprint 54 yards untouched for the touchdown to go up 27-0 with only 1:26 off the clock.
But then Idaho started a comeback attempt.
The Vandals would start at their own 16 and drive down to the Jaguar 11 before penalties backed them up and forced them to kick a 37 yard field goal to cut the Jaguar lead to 27-3 with 6:54 left in the third quarter.
On the first play of the Jaguars next possession, Bridge’s pass intended for Jereme Jones would be picked off at USA’s 30 yard line. Then back-to-back defensive holding calls would set up Linehan find Joshua McCain for a 10 yard touchdown to further cut the Jaguar lead to 27-10 with 6:25 left in the third quarter.
The Vandals would get the ball back two plays later when the referees ruled that Kendall Houston fumbled the ball at the USA 44, but the replay seemed to show that he was down before the ball came out. Again the Vandals would get deep into Jaguar territory at the 10 yard line but a penalty followed by a Jerome McClain sack would stall the drive at the Jaguar 23 forcing another field goal attempt, which Rehkow would again miss left from 40 yards out with 3:18 left in the quarter.
The Jaguar defense would sack Lineham for a 12 yard loss on a 4th and 2 at the Jaguar 43 to set up the Jaguars final score of the game. After a scramble for no gain, Bridge would find Antonio Carter for a 27 yard gain to the Vandal 18, then Jay Jones would cover the final distance on the next play to give the Jags the final score of 34-10 with 8:00 left in the game.
The Jaguar defense would sack Lineham three times and intercept him in the Vandals last two possessions of the game to close out the game.
“I thought the guys really adapted well after coming out here on the road with a four‐hour plane ride,” Jones said after the game. “We were ready to play when we started the football game. We just played with more fire and passion, and you have to do that. We played smart early and started off on a good note, and I think that propelled us through the end of the game.”
Next up the Jaguars (2-2, 1-1 SBC) will travel to Boone, NC to face conference newcomer Appalachian State (1-3, 0-1 SBC).
Both South Alabama and Idaho look to get their first conference win of the season. South Alabama’s offense has been disappointing as they return 9 of 11 starters from a year ago, but just have not found that spark to make them gel on a consistent basis.
After scoring 16 points in the first half against Kent State, the Jaguars have only managed to score 16 points in the last 10 quarters and only seven points in the second half. They average under 11 points per game and rank in the bottom half of the conference in most offensive statistics. Their highest ranking is in rushing offense per game with 130 yards which is good for 6th in the conference.
Defensively the Jaguars are playing very well but the statistics don’t show it. They have been put in some tough positions and have done as well as expected. Despite the offensive production being lackluster and +3 in turnovers, they still rank in the top half of the conference in several categories. But they will be tested by Idaho this week. The Vandals enter the game with the top ranked passing offense in the conference. But they are very one dimensional because they rank last in the conference in rushing with just over 75 yards per game. They can put points on the board.
This is a huge game for the Jaguars, particularly the offense. They enter a stretch of five games where their combined records are 3-15 with both Idaho and Troy both winless. The Jags cannot afford to lose this game and fall to 0-2 in the conference.
Here are the key statistics for the Jaguars and the Vandals.
|South Alabama (SBC Rank)||Idaho (SBC Rank)|
|Scoring Offense||10.7 (11th)||29.3 (6th)|
|Total Offense||329.3 (9th)||422.0 (6th)|
|Rushing Offense||130.0 (7th)||75.7 (11th)|
|Passing Offense||199.3 (10th)||346.3 (1st)|
|Pass Efficiency||92.0 (11th)||130.3 (4th)|
|Sacks Against||12 (T9th)||11 (8th)|
|First Downs (avg/game)||20.7 (10th)||23.7 (7th)|
|3rd Down Conversions||17-49 34.7% (10th)||25-54 46.3% (5th)|
|4th Down Conversions||1-4 25.0% (T9th)||6-7 85.7% (T1st)|
|Red Zone Conversion Percentage||3-6 50.0% (11th)||8-10 80.0% (T5th)|
|Scoring Defense||25.3 (5th)||39.7 (9th)|
|Total Defense||403.7 (6th)||507.7 (11th)|
|Rushing Defense||229.0 (8rd)||221.7 (7th)|
|Passing Defense||174.7 (4th)||286.0 (11th)|
|Pass Defense Efficiency||123.0 (5th)||172.0 (11th)|
|Opponent 1st Downs (avg/game)||19.0 (4th)||23.3 (T9th)|
|Opponent 3rd Down Conversions||19-43 44.2% (7th)||13-35 37.1% (3rd)|
|Opponent 4th Down Conversions||1-1 100.0% (T9th)||2-5 40.0% (4th)|
|Opponent Red Zone Conv. %||7-9 77.8% (4nd)||12-14 85.7% (6th)|
|Kickoff Return Average||23.9 (2nd)||18.4 (9th)|
|Punt Return Average||2.0 (T9th)||2.0 (T9th)|
|Punting||36.2 (7th)||44.1 (1st)|
|Field Goals||1-2 (T7th)||3-3 (T1st)|
|Penalties||15 92yds 30.7yds/G (4th)||24 230yds 76.7yds/G (10th)|
|Opponent Penalties||15 125yds 41.7yds/G (8th)||24 197yds 65.7yds/G (3rd)|
|Turnover Margin||-1 (8th)||-5 (9th)|
Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00pm CDT. Pregame will begin on 99.9FM WMXC at 3:00PM CDT followed by play-by-play with JD Byars and Color commentary by Pat Greenwood. The game can be viewed on ESPN3.
South Alabama had a record 155 student-athletes to earn Sun Belt Conference Academic Recognition for 2013-2014 by being on the SBC Commissioner’s List or Academic Honor Roll as announced by the conference office on Thursday.
The Jags had 84 individuals named to the Commissioner’s List which recognizes student athletes with a GPA of 3.5 or better during the previous two semesters and 71 on the Academic Honor Roll which includes student-athletes with a 3.0-3.49 GPA during that same time span.
Ten of USA’s 17 sports had double-figure totals. Women’s Cross Country/Track and Field team led the way with 27 followed closely by Football with 26. Men’s Cross Country/Track and Field and Soccer both had 19, Softball had 14, and baseball had 13.
The Jags finished second in the final standings for the Vic Bubas Cup which is presented to the top overall program in the Sun Belt Conference.
Here is a link to the 2013-2014 South Alabama Sun Belt Conference Academic Honorees. Congratulations Jaguar Student-Athletes!
The Jaguar volleyball team fell to Texas State who stays undefeated in Conference play 3-0 (12-25, 25-27, 15-25) in San Marcos, Texas. The Bobcats used nine service aces, a 52-27 kill advantage and a .333 to .120 hitting average to defeat the Jaguars.
Jessica Lewis was the only Jaguar in double digits for the night with 10 kills. Nikki Gittens added seven kills with a .353 hitting percentage. Mechell Daniel only had three kills, a season low for her as she ranks second on the team in that category.
The Jags will return to Mobile to host Arkansas State on Friday evening with the match set to start at 6pm.
But Troy enters the game with their own winning streak as well. They have won their last eight matches after falling in their first two matches of the season against LSU and Louisiana Tech. Two of their wins, Kennesaw State and UAB, are the two schools responsible for both of the Jaguars losses this season.
USA has shutout five of their last six opponents and seven overall this season. The Jaguars Charde Hannah has won the Offensive Player of the Week honor for two-consecutive weeks. Sarah Hay recorded 11 saves last week and five shutouts in six appearances on the season to earn Defensive Player of the Week honors. A USA player has won a weekly award five times this season. Nini Rabsatt-Smith and Sophie Haywood swept the weekly Defensive and Offensive awards on September 9.
The Jaguars (8-2, 0-0 SBC) and the Trojans (8-2, 0-0) will begin at 7pm.
We like to spotlight the story and history behind any new stadium that the Jaguars are set to visit. This week the Jags travel to Idaho to visit the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho. It is a one-of-a-kind domed stadium that only diehard college football fans know anything about.
The University of Idaho’s unique stadium is officially known as the William H. Kibbie-ASUI Activity Center or more commonly known simply as the Kibbie Dome. It seats 16,000 which makes it the smallest venue in Division I FBS. It set a record with a crowd of 17,600 for their rivalry game against Boise State in 1989. It is situated with the field running east and west, but even with new translucent upper end walls that were completed in 2009 and 2011, sun location is not an issue.
The Kibbie Dome is a multi-purpose athletic stadium on the campus of the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho and is the hope of the Idaho Vandals. It is used for intercollegiate competition in four sports: football, basketball, tennis and indoor track and field.
The story of the Kibbie Dome begins in 1937 with the wooden Neale Stadium which was used between 1937 – 1968. The dome was built in stages over several years. Originally the new stadium was to be outdoors and seat over 23,000 spectators with an adjacent 10,000 seat indoor arena for basketball.
Construction on concrete grandstands began in February 1971 after a fire destroyed the previously condemned wooden Neale Stadium. It had been condemned in the summer before the 1969 season due to soil erosion beneath the grandstands. The next two seasons the football team played its limited home schedule at Washington State University’s Rogers Field in Pullman. A fire heavily damaged Rogers Field’s south grandstands in April 1970. WSU moved all of it’s games to another stadium while Idaho played at Rogers for four “home” games in 1970.
A revised plan called for a smaller capacity football stadium that would be enclosed to allow use as a basketball arena, indoor track and tennis. The multi-purpose concept was used recently at Idaho State which opened in 1970.
Construction was delayed due to weather and put the opening a month behind schedule. The 1971 team played their first home game in Boise and their second two weeks later in Spokane. The uncompleted stadium debuted on October 9 with a 40-3 win over Idaho State in front of 14,200 spectators. It was the first game on campus in almost three years.
For the first four seasons from 1971 – 1974 the stadium was outdoors. In the summer of 1972 a Tartan Turf field was installed over a four-inch asphalt bed with a roll-up mechanism behind the west end zone. It was the first one-piece field in the world.
In November 1974 approval was granted by the board of regents to enclose the stadium. An arched roof and vertical end walls were completed in time for the 1975 season opener on September 27.
The enclosed stadium was renamed for William H. Kibbie, a construction executive from Salt Lake City and the primary benefactor of the project. He donated $300,000 in 1974 to initiate the funding drive. He was a student at UI for less than a month in 1936 when he withdrew due to family hardship.
At the time steel and aluminum were the products most used for domes and large unsupported structures. Trus-Joist, who bid on and won the contract, saw the stadium as a chance to demonstrate the strength, durability and economy of their engineered wood products. From final design to the end of construction the enclosure project took only 10 months and $1 million to complete. The roof won the “Structural Engineering Achievement Award” from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1976.
After the first season of football indoors, the asphalt underneath the field was covered with Tartan Polyurethane in January 1976. The first basketball game was played on January 21, 1976 and the first Vandal Invitational indoor track meet was held three days later.
The roof of the dome spans 400 feet from sideline to sideline and reaches a maximum height of 150 feet above the hashmarks.
Shortly after completion in 1975 problems began to arise with the roof’s exterior. The outer surface of hypalon and underlying polyurethane foam were improperly applied. A second attempt to seal the roof with Diathon was completed in the late 1970s but did not succeed. Leaks continued to occur and wood rot was potentially a problem by 1980.
An infrared scan of the roof in the spring of 1981 exposed that half of the roof was moist and the insulating foam was in bad condition. Various attempts to stop the leaks took place in 1981. Various finger pointing and threatening of legal action occurred until finally an out-of-court settlement was reached. A new superstructure made of composite materials was built over the existing roof and completed in the fall of 1982 and coincided with the completion of the East End addition which provided the entire athletic department with locker rooms, offices, a weight room, athletic training facility and equipment room. Previously the football and basketball teams as well as visitor teams had to dress in Memorial Gym and make a lengthy walk or run west towards the Kibbie Dome, often in rain or even snow, which had been the practice since the opening of Neale Stadium in 1937.
In February of 2007, the state board of education appropriated funds to study expansion possibilities. On December 6, the board approved funding to begin design work for $52 million in improvements which included expansion to 20,000 seats, lowering the playing field and other safety and spectator improvements to the stadium.
Upgrades began in 2009 with the west wall being replaced with a non-combustable assembly of translucent plastic panels on the upper half and opaque metal siding on the lower half. They added field level exiting to the new west wall, added handrails to the seating isles, smoke exhaust system and other safety and code mitigation. The second phase completed in 2011 with the replacement of the east wall. A new press box was constructed above the north grandstand and the former press box above the south grandstand became premium seating.
Up until 2007, the artificial turf could be rolled up at the bast of the west wall to expose the 93,000 square feet of polyurethane tartan surface which is used for indoor tennis and track and field. It has five lanes of of track that are 320 yards in length and includes 9 tennis courts lined on the infield. Basketball and volleyball courts are also lined on the tartan infield.
In 2007 the turf was replaced with RealGrass Pro which is an infilled synthetic turf similar to Field Turf. Unlike the field of old, it is not easily rolled up in a continuous reel so it has to be removed in sections. Each section is five yards in width and run from sideline to sideline. They are attached to each other with velcro.
The basketball configuration is positioned at midfield on the south sideline in front of the press box and south grandstand with temporary seating on the other three sides. The main court was originally a smooth, hard tartan rubber poured directly onto the pavement floor which was a big home court advantage in the early 1980s. After eight seasons it was replaced with a conventional hardwood floor in the fall of 1983.
During basketball games the stadium is referred to as the Cowan Spectrum after Bob and Jan Cowan who financed the configuration.
The University of South Alabama soccer team swept the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week awards for the second time this season when freshman Charde Hannah and Sophomore Sarah Hay were honored this week. The Jags went 2-0 over the last week to extend their current winning streak to six games with their help.
Hannah earned the honor for the second consecutive week while Hay is honored for the first time in her career.
Hannah tied a school record with four goals and added an assist in USA’s 5-0 win over Francis Marion. She ranks second in the nation in points per match with 2.6, fourth in goals per match with 1.1 and 11th in game-winning goals with 3. With her help the Jaguars rank sixth in Division I in scoring with 3.70 per match.
Hay helps the Jaguars on the other end of the field. She made 11 saves in the two shutouts over the past week. She had five saves in a 1-0 win over North Florida then added six more against Francis Marion.
Hay has led the Jaguars to five shutouts in six appearances this season with a goals-against average of 0.32, which ranks 10th in the nation while her save percentage is third in the nation at .939.
The Jaguars begin conference play on Friday at 7pm when they host Troy at The Cage.