Preview: South Alabama at Arkansas State

November 7, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference 

Jags_vs_ASU

The Jaguars travel to Jonesboro for their next-to-last Sun Belt Conference game of 2014 needing one win to be bowl eligible. But the coaches want at least two more wins to feel that they are in a more comfortable position for a bowl game.

Injury List Looming Large

The South Alabama football team are nursing a laundry list of injuries to key starters as they prepare for their road trip to Jonesboro, Arkansas to face defending co-Sun Belt Champion Arkansas State on Saturday.

On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Brandon Bridge is considered an game-time decision after he suffered two injuries in the last two weeks. He suffered an AC Joint injury to his non-throwing shoulder against Troy that brought him out of the game just before halftime, but he was able to return in the second half though visibly in pain at times.

Last week against Lafayette, he injured his right ankle in the third quarter and did not return to the game.

Tight end Wes Saxton sprained his left ankle against Troy two weeks ago and only played briefly against Lafayette and is considered questionable against Arkansas State and will also be a game-time decision.

Center Joseph Scelfo re-injured his right ankle against the Cajuns but was able to return and finish the game. While he has not practiced this week, he is listed as probably against the Red Wolves.

Offensive lineman Clay Machen is expected to be ready for the game on Saturday after being sidelined with a lower back injury. However the news for left guard Drew Dearman is not as good. He suffered a concussion against the Cajuns and has not cleared the test protocols to be cleared to play. Currently Dearman is listed as doubtful for Saturday’s game.

Defensively two key players are injured. Linebacker Maleki Harris, the team’s second leading tackler, will miss the game with a knee injury. He had 50 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles, an interception and a fumble recovery.

Cornerback Qudarius Ford is a game-time decision with a right knee injury. He has not practiced this week and missed a game earlier in the season with a concussion. He has 27 tackles and five pass breakups.

A-State Preview

J.D. McKissic is questionable for the game against the Jaguars. McKissic is the Red Wolves leading receiver with 43 catches for 512 yards on the season and averaging 64 yards per game. If he cannot go they will look to Tres Houston and Dijon Paschal among others to step up and fill his cleats.

Key an eye on junior running back Michael Gordon, he’s the Red Wolves leading rusher with 680 yards on 79 carries. Gordon tied the conference record for most rushing touchdowns in a game (5) against Idaho. He is known to break long runs and the Jaguars defense can be suspect against the run. Fredi Knighten, the quarterback, is the next in line with 467 yards on 138 attempts.

Also keep an eye on freshman defensive end Ja’Von Rolland-Jones. He was named the SBC Defensive player of the week for his five tackles for loss and four sacks against the Vandals. He with Chris Stone makes for a solid pair of defensive ends.

Arkansas State struggled against Idaho last week even though they forced eight turnovers. They will look to capitalize on any and all turnovers that go their way this week.

Jags Win If

In order for the Jaguars to win, and this has been said week in and week out, the offense must play more consistently. In order to do so they have to be able to hit on some of their vertical passes. In most of their wins they have used it to prime their offense and keep the opposing defense honest. But when they can’t, the entire team struggles (see Georgia Southern, Mississippi State, Lafayette, Georgia State and Troy).

This game is hard to predict with the injury situation. If Bridge doesn’t start, how ready is Floyd to take over the offense? He has kept his cool whenever he’s been in the game previously, especially last week when he was two yards short of leading the Jaguars back into the lead towards the middle of the fourth quarter.

A-State is about a 3.5 point favorite at home, the Jaguars have typically played their best on the road, and the players seem focused and ready to pounce on the Red Wolves.

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