Jaguars and Houston Run Over Troy For 27-13 Rivalry Game Win

October 25, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football, News, Sun Belt Conference 
The South Alabama offensive opened huge holes for Jaguar running backs in the second half against Troy en route to a 27-13 win.

The South Alabama offensive opened huge holes for Jaguar running backs in the second half against Troy en route to a 27-13 win.

South Alabama used 241 rushing yards in the second half to pull away from conference and in-state rival Troy, 27-13. The win extends the Jaguars winning streak to four games.

The win improves the Jaguars to 5-2 overall, 4-1 in conference play. Troy falls to 1-7 overall, 1-3 in conference play and 1-2 in the ‘Larry Blakeney farwell tour’.

The Jaguars opened the scoring with a 38-yard field goal by Aleem Sunanon on their first drive. They added to their lead late in the first quarter when Brandon Bridge scrambled around and found Shavarez Smith for a 45-yard touchdown pass.

The second quarter was mostly a stalemate until Troy’s Ryan Kay connected on a 43-yard field goal with 5:48 left until halftime. The Trojan defense forced a three-and-out and Brandon McKee’s punt was downed at the Troy 8 with 4:41 left. Troy would then put together a drive that would move them down to the Jaguar 37 with :22 left until halftime.

After a time out, Trojan quarterback Brandon Silvers pass intended for Bryan Holmes fell incomplete in the end zone, but a roughing the passer call on Davin Hawkins would give them a new set of downs at the Jaguar 22 yard line. After another incomplete pass, Theo Rich would flush Silvers out of the pocket and he would run be tackled in the field of play allowing time to expire on the first half and avoiding the scoring threat.

In the second half the Jaguar offensive line and running backs took over the game. Kendall Houston and Xavier Johnson would gash the Trojan defense for big gains.

Troy added another field goal after blocking a punt by McKee and getting the ball on the Jaguar 23, but unable to even get into the red zone.

On the ensuing possession, the Jags showed their ground superiority with Houston running for back-to-back first downs of 14 and 13 yards. Then Johnson came in for a six yard run, then two plays later he would go mostly untouched for the 14 yard touchdown.

After the South Alabama defense forced another Trojan three-and-out, the running game gash the Trojan with big run after big run. Houston would put the dagger into the Trojans when he broke tackle after tackle to score on a 41 yard run.

Houston, getting the start after Jay Jones’ season ending knee injury last week, put up a career-high 178 yards, including the 41 yard touchdown. It was his first 100-yard game since September 17, 2011 against NC State and his seventh 100-yard game of his career. Xavier Johnson added 107 yards and his first touchdown as a Jaguar.

“Losing Jay Jones is a kick in the gut, but sometimes life is tough and he has to move on and so do we,” head coach Joey Jones said. “I thought our guys really picked it up. Kendall Houston is about as dependable of a guy as I have ever coached, when you put him in the game he’s going to get the job done. We put Xavier in there and he did a heck of a job, he made some great runs and made people miss. And our offensive line really took over, they knew we had to run it, and I thought the offensive line did one heck of a job in the second half.”

“I knew I had to play a big role when Jay Jones went down, all the running backs had to do it for him,” Houston said after the game. “We wanted to dedicate this game to him. We just stayed patient and kept running the ball hard, and we were able to bust loose for some big plays later in the game.”

It was the first time two Jaguars rushed for over 100 yard since Houston and Brandon Ross combined to do it on September 18, 2010 against Nicholls State.

Brandon Bridge went 9-of-11 for 106 yards and a touchdown in a game where he did not look spectacular, but didn’t need to be. He had several overthrows in the game. He went down late in first half and looked to be in lots of pain and even went into the locker room with the training staff. But he would return to start the second half with no problem.

Shavarez Smith led the receiving corps with two catches for 65 yards and a touchdown. Wes Saxton also had two catches for 14 yards, but he would be held out of the second half as a precaution due to an ankle injury he suffered late in the first half.

For the second consecutive game Jereme Jones went without a catch. Last week’s game ended his 49 game streak with a catch, a school record.

Antonio Carter led the Jaguar defense with 14 stops, tied for the season high. Theo Rich added a sack for his team-leading seventh of the season.

Trojan running backs Jordan Chunn and Brandon Burks rushed for 53 and 50 respectively as the Trojans rushed for 164 yards total. Trojan quarterbacks combined to go 13-of-24 for 145 yards. Silvers started for the Trojans and went 9-of-18 for 62 yards. Dontreal Pruitt came in late and went 4-of-6 for 83 yards and the only Trojan touchdown. Teddy Ruben led a trio of Trojans who all caught three passes each with 65 yards.

“They were hurting us with that speed sweep and some different things outside — we made some adjustments at halftime, and we did a great job of boxing it in,” observed Jones. “That was big. They didn’t throw the ball on us as much tonight, our guys did a great job in coverage as we usually do. It was just a great overall job defensively.”

Interesting notes:

  • Since coach Jones started growing out his goatee, the Jags are 4-0. His team may need that extra help in November as the Jaguars schedule is: @ Lafayette, @ Arkansas State, Texas State, @ South Carolina, and Navy.
  • Xavier Johnson wore number 8 in honor of Jay Jones, who’s season and Jaguar career ended last week with an ACL tear.

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