South Alabama Defeats Idaho 34-10

September 27, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference 

Helmet_CameraBrandon Bridge completed six of his first seven passes including a 51 yard strike to Claude Garrett as the Jaguars came away with a 34-10 win over the Idaho Vandals in Moscow, ID.

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).

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