The Jags dropped their sixth consecutive game while the Red Wolves won their fourth-straight.
Trailing by three points in the final seconds of overtime, but two 3-point attempts missed their mark which would have forced a second overtime period.
Dionte Ferguson set a new career high with 18 points and five blocks. He earned his second double-double of the season with a game-high-tying 13 rebounds.
ASU used a 15-4 run over a 10-minute stretch while holding the Jaguars to only 1-of-10 shooting from the floor and forcing eight turnovers. The Red Wolves were 6-of-13 on the other end of the court to tie the game at 45-each with 6:13 left.
“What a tremendous start to the Sun Belt season,” Jaguar head coach Matthew Graves said after the game. “That was a great game. I thought Arkansas State played well. I thought we did some really good things. Both teams really defended their butts off. Anytime teams are held to under 40 percent on field goals, you give yourself a chance. They defended. They defended. It came down to somebody making a play or two. [PJ] Hardwick banked in a shot, then [Cameron] Golden ended up hitting an off balance three as the shot clock expired.
“A lot of different things happened, but I am really proud of our effort tonight. We stayed together and played hard. We played through some adversity, and when it came down to it we didn’t make enough shots from the perimeter. We had really good looks and sometimes you can’t control whether you make the shot. You can control whether it is a good shot. We took good shots, for the most part, we just didn’t make enough of them tonight.”
“We stole the win, but you have to give our team credit for having that toughness and the grit to keep fighting and keep coming back and making them miss and get some rebounds,” Arkansas State head coach John Brady said. “Then we made enough big plays to win it.”
The Jags (2-9, 0-1 SBC) hits the road for their next two SBC games with the first against Texas-Arlington on Saturday at 7:15pm then the next on Monday, January 5 at Arkansas-Little Rock with a 7:30pm tip.
The South Alabama Mens Basketball team begin their conference schedule tonight when they host Arkansas State for a 7:05pm tip at the Mitchell Center. The Jags (2-8) look to snap their five-game losing streak and start their SBC schedule off on the right foot.
The Red Wolves (5-4) enter the game with a three-game winning streak that began with a road win against Mississippi State on December 17 in Starkville.
Arkansas State is led by the trio: Anthony Livingston, Cameron Golden and Sean Gardner. All three rank in the league’s top nine in scoring, the only school in the conference to have three players in that group. Livingston is fourth in the conference with an average of 16.4 points pr game and second in rebounding with 8.4 per game. Livingston also had a 20-point, 20-rebound game against Marshall on December 20.
Golden is eighth in the conference in scoring with a average of 15.3 points per game with Gardner right behind him in ninth place with a 14.9 point per game average. Gardner has scored 20-point or more in his last three outings while ranking third in the conference with an average of 2.7 3-pointers per game.
Jaguar freshman Taishaun Johnson is averaging 17.5 points in both of his last two outings. He led the team scoring against Howard with a career-high three 3-pointers and a perfect 6-for-6 showing at the free-throw line while also recording a personal-best four steals.
South Alabama is only averaging 62.8 points per game while the Red Wolves are averaging 68.2 points per game themselves.
After a tough non-conference schedule, USA head coach Matthew Graves hopes his team can finally find their rhythm and start conference play with a win. Only the top eight teams will go to New Orleans for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament this season and South Alabama wants to be one of those teams.
Montgomery Police Department released a statement late Saturday evening that the line judge that was injured in the second half of the Jaguars loss to Bolwing Green in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl was not injured due to an object thrown from the stands.
The head referee used the public address system to ask that fans not throw things onto the field however the line judge just suffered a calf injury and could not continue.
Please share as this is simply untrue and reflects bad on JagNation. However it has been one of the stories that has continued to float around since play was stopped in the game due to, what we know now, was an injury.
Head coach Joey Jones, with cuts on his nose and chin, was proud of his team after the Jaguars hard fought loss to Bowling Green in the programs first-ever bowl game, 33-28.
He was disappointed about the score, but there wasn’t much to be disappointed about. “We are a brand-new program and they’ve probably got a few more players than we do,” said Jones, who was accidentally kicked in the face on the sideline. “There we are, a minute and 10 seconds left and we’re up against a program that’s had football for probably 100 years. There are some positives to this but I don’t like losing.”
The Falcons controlled the game from the opening kick, despite most of the 20,256 fans at the Cramton Bowl cheering for the Jaguars. They took their opening possession 65 yards on seven plays in just 2:21 to quickly score the first points of the game.
Bowling Green would double their score on their next possession after quarterback James Knapke connected with Gehrig Dieter for a 53 yard strike to Jaguar 4 yard line. Travis Green would punch it in to make it a 14-0 game.
South Alabama would respond on a Kendall Houston 44-yard touchdown run to cut the Falcons lead to 14-7. The Jaguar defense would settle in and only allow Bowling Green two field goals of 39 and 22 yards respectively for a halftime score of 20-7.
The Jaguars would put the first points on the board in the second half with a 15 yard touchdown run to get within six points, 20-14. But the Falcons answered right back after a short, pooch kick would be fielded by Austin Valdez and returned 30 yards to start the possession in Jaguar territory. Just five plays later, Greene would dice his way through the Jaguar defense for a 17 yard touchdown giving the Falcons a two score lead, 27-14.
In the fourth quarter, Brandon Bridge would connect with DeMarrion Buford-Hughes for an 18-yard touchdown, the first TD reception in his career, to crawl within six points again, 27-21, with 11:23 left in the game.
Another pooched kickoff would be returned to near mid-field for the Falcons. The drive would go deep into Jaguar territory before an defensive pass interference call would set up the Falcons for a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Greene tried three times and each time was turned away by the Jaguars determined defense.
After a time out, Falcon head coach Dino Babers would decide to put points on the board and make it a two-score game. Knapke, also the holder for the field goal unit, looked around after the time out and placekicker Tyler Tate was nowhere to be found. He sprinted onto the field late, quickly set up for the attempt and seemed to gather himself before the kick. The kick came off of his foot low despite being less than an extra point attempt and a big Jaguar paw got on it to give the Jaguars new life with 8:25 left in the game.
Both teams would trade punts before South Alabama started moving the ball late. They put together an eight play, 73 yard drive with Terrance Timmons slicing into the end zone for a 28-21 lead with about 1:20 left in the game.
The Falcons would take the deep kickoff out to the 22 yard line. Then on the first play, Knapke would heave a long pass for Roger Lewis to run under, outpacing Roman Buchanan, for the game-deciding 78-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion attempt failed leaving the Falcons up 33-28 with just over a minute remaining.
Bridge, who played much better in the second half than the first, would toss an interception to all but seal the win for the Falcons. Using all of their timeouts, the Jaguars forced the Falcons to punt, but a flag for roughing the kicker would finally seal the game for Bowling Green.
Knapke was named the game’s MVP after going 25-of-39 for 368 yards and two touchdowns. Lewis finished the game with 137 yards receiving on four catches with two touchdowns. Dieter led the Falcons with seven catches for 108 yards. Ronnie Moore had five catches for 61 yards before being disqualified from the game for targeting when he led with the crown of his helmet on a collision with Jereme Jones on punt coverage. Fred Coppet led the Falcons on the ground with 70 yards rushing with Greene adding 41 and two scores.
Brandon Bridge was 4-of-14 in the first half for 54 yards. But after a strong second half he would finish 20-of-37 for 279 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Kendall Houston led the rushing attack with 53 yards. Danny Woodson led the team with 122 yards on six catches.
The Falcons amassed 500 yards of total offense while the Jaguars gained 415. Bowling Green also held a 34:25 to 25:35 advantage in time-of-possession.
South Alabama ends the season with a 6-7 record while Bowling Green finishes 8-6.
The University of South Alabama added one more junior college signee to its 2015 class when Arizona Western running back Dami Ayoola’s official paperwork arrived on Friday according to the University.
Ayoola, 5’10” 205-pound, three-star prospect, played his freshman season at the University of Illinois before transferring to Arizona Western. This season he carried the ball 109 times for 404 yards and caught 11 passes for 156 yards while finishing fifth on the team with 592 all-purpose yards.
Against New Mexico Military Institute he had a season-best 129 yards on 22 carries.
Ayoola is originally from Fort Lauderdale and St. Thomas Aquinas High School where he was ranked the 18th best tailback in the country by MaxPreps.com.
“Dami is a very good football player, he played as a true freshman at Illinois,” head coach Joey Jones said. “He’s a versatile running back. He can run the football, catch it and pass protect, and do all those things very well.”
Ayoola will join the Jaguars with two seasons of eligibility remaining.
He will help bolster a backfield that go very thin late in the season due to injuries and that will graduate two seniors after the bowl game on Saturday.
Yet another former UAB Blazer football player has joined the list of players who have said they will enroll at South Alabama in January. Gerald Everett, a 6’3″ 215-pound tight end, will enroll at South Alabama to help fill the Jaguars need at tight end.
He joins a list that includes quarterbacks Cody Clements and Austin Chipoletti, offensive linemen Lee Dufour and Cameron Blankenship and wide receiver/running back D.J. Vinson who have announced their intentions to continue their collegiate careers as Jaguars.
South Alabama is also interested in UAB running back Jordan Howard, who is receiving lots of attention from other schools. He visited campus earlier in the week and was a spectator at one of the Jaguars bowl practices.
Everette came to UAB after playing a season at Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College. He caught 17 passes for 292 yards and a touchdown this season as a Blazer. He will have two years of eligibility remaining as a Jaguar.
USA offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent who returned to South Alabama after one season at the same position at UAB under former USA defensive coordinator Bill Clark. Undoubtedly Vincent’s ties to the players have been key factors in their decisions to enroll at South Alabama.
The team practiced in shells and went through their gameplan for their opponent, Bowling Green. It was shorter than usual as an attempt to let the team rest some while also keeping the gameplan fresh in the team’s mind.
In something that may have become a tradition for the team, players switched jerseys for the Thursday workouts. For instance Maleki Harris, normally donning number six, was wearing 77 while offensive lineman Chris May was wearing the number eight. Several other player had made switches as well.
“I don’t know when it started but a few years ago on the last day of practice you had a guy, I’m not going to say any names, but he’s 5-foot-4, 162 pounds, wearing a 6-foot-2, 300-pound guy’s jersey,” Jaguar head coach Joey Jones explained to AL.com. “It looked kind of funny and they had to tie it up in the back. It’s fun. … Our guys work and they know the priorities and they’re going to work hard. And if they’re going to work their tails off and still have fun, I’m good with it.”
After practice both South Alabama and Bowling Green visited the Rosa Parks Museum, at different times.
On Friday, USA president Tony Waldrop along with members of the USA Board of Trustees and executive administration will volunteer at the Montgomery Area Food Back from 2-4pm. USA volunteers along with Southpaw, will help prepare food for distribution at the warehouse in Montgomery and they will all be dressed in Jaguar athletic jerseys.
South Alabama and Bowling Green will tee it up at 8:15PM on Saturday at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery for the inaugural Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. Here is a short rundown on the Falcons.
Bowling Green plays in the Mid-American Conference (MAC), they enter the game with a 7-6 record overall and a 5-3 record in conference play. Head coach Dino Babers is in his first season as the Falcons’ head coach and has a 26-13 record in three seasons as a head coach overall.
The Falcons lead the nation in transitioning from their previous offensive play to the next. Quarterback Jame Knapke assumed the starting job after Matt Johnson suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of the season. Knapke has thrown for 2,805 yards, 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season. He has rushed for 126 yards a two touchdowns.
South Alabama enters the game as a 3-point favorite. The Falcons enter the game on a three-game losing skid after being blown out in the MAC championship by Northern Illinois 51-17. The Jaguars enter the game after a heartbreaking loss at home to Navy 42-40 after the Jags had two successful 2-point conversions negated by penalties before failing the convert the third attempt.
Here is a breakdown of stats between the two teams:
James Bynes, Quinton Lane and Tyrone Williams will all enroll at South Alabama in January and all three will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Bynes, a 6’3″ 215-pound tight end from Miami, FL., played last season at Dodge City (Kansas) Community College. In 11 games he caught 30 passes for 269 yards with a season-high eight catches for 54 yards against Butler (Kansas) C.C. which would place him in the top 15 in the final NJCAA rankings.
Lane, a 6’2″ 195-pound cornerback, led Itawamba (Mississippi) C.C. with eight passes broken up while collecing 25 total stops and a fumble recovery.
Williams, a 6’3″ 200-pound wide receiver was named first-team All-MACJC as a sophomore after leading MGCCC with 46 catches, 812 yards and 12 touchdowns as the Bulldogs finished 8-2 on the season and seventh in the final NJCAA poll. His touchdown total was good for 10th in the nation while he was also among the top 20 in both receiving yards and yards per catch. He went over 100 yards in three games last season with a season-high of 144 against Northeast Mississippi C.C. In 2012, as a freshman, he caught 34 passes for 437 yards and five touchdowns on a team that would finish sixth in the final NJCAA rankings.
Also, it was made official on Wednesday that former UAB quarterback Cody Clements will enroll at South Alabama in January to join the football team. He will be a senior with one season of eligibility remaining.
South Alabama closed out their final practice at home on Tuesday morning and, in what has become a tradition at USA, the underclassmen carried the seniors off the practice field following the team’s final home practice.
The team then loaded buses and arrived in Montgomery Tuesday afternoon to finish out their preparations in Montgomery for Saturday’s bowl game.
The Jaguars will practice at Huntingdon College on Wednesday and Thursday then have a walk-through session at the Cramton Bowl on Friday. But they will also be participating in some of the bowl festivities leading up to the game.
In the midst of all of this, Wednesday is the first day that Junior College transfers can sign National Letter of Intent’s. In what may be their best recruiting year ever for this young team, they expect to sign up to five JuCo players today.
Tight end James Bynes of Dodge City (Kansas) Community College, defensive back Quinton Lane of Itawamba (Mississippi) Community College and wide receiver Tyrone Williams of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College are among the student-athletes expected to sign.
Three UAB players have announced their intentions to enroll at South Alabama in January with more of their teammates expected to join them. Offensive linemen Lee Dufour, Cameron Blankenship and quarterback Austin Chipoletti have all announced their intentions. A twitter account bearing the name of UAB quarterback Cody Clements said he was transfering to USA, but it is uncertain if that is true.
Head coach Joey Jones and defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Brian Turner are looking to fill needs. Turner told AL.com that they are looking to sign up to five JUCO players and possibly add more to that list depending on the UAB situation. The five players they are targeting are for positions where they need help immediately.
The hiring of Bryant Vincent seems to have sparked more excitement in the offense. Quarterback Brandon Bridge said he was very pleased with the pace of the offense since Vincent took over. Even coach Jones said that there has been a different feel in practices recently.
So much focus has been on the change on the offensive side of the ball, but the Jaguar defense will be tested as well. Bowling Green leads the country in how quickly it can transition from one play to the next of offense. This has created challenges for defenses all season and it will be something the Jags must be prepared for.
Communication will be key. There may be times when coaches cannot get the call in quickly enough and the players must be able to identify certain formations and be able to communicate that to their teammates so they can check into certain coverages or defensive fronts.
The excitement for the bowl game and the good practices the team has had over the last few days should have every fan excited. This will be the Jaguars time to shine in their first-ever prime time national television broadcast.
South Alabama and Bowling Green kick off at 8:15pm on Saturday in Montgomery for the Raycom Camellia Bowl at the Cramton Bowl. USA has sold out of their allotment of tickets. If you do not have your tickets yet, you better get them quick. They are selling quickly with reports of only a “few hundred” left.