Jaguars Set To Face Nebraska In Lincoln on Saturday

September 10, 2015 · By · Filed Under Football 

Jags_vs_NebraskaSouth Alabama displayed some big play ability during their 33-23 win over Gardner-Webb on Saturday. As the Jaguars gear up to travel to Lincoln, Nebraska to face the Cornhuskers, they will need more of those big plays if they want to upset Big Red.

All four of the Jaguars touchdowns cover 49 yards or more. Terrance Timmons started the scoring when he broke a 49 yard touchdown in the opening two minutes of the game with his first carry. Later in the first quarter Cody Clements connected with Gerald Everett for an ESPN highlight reel touchdown run covering 50 yards.

The game was halted due to a lightning and Gardner-Webb was able to make some adjustments to stymie the Jaguar on both sides of the ball. They would score nine points to close out the first half and add a touchdown in the third quarter to take a 16-13 lead on the Jaguars with 10:50 remaining.

But the Runnin’ Bulldog lead would not last very long, just a mere 15 seconds. On the first play of the drive, Xavier Johnson would take what was recorded as a pass from Clements 56 yards to regain the lead at 20-16.

With 24 seconds remaining in the third quarter, Aleem Sunanon, who earned Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week, added a 41 yard field goal to further pad the Jaguar lead. Early in the fourth quarter Sunanon would add a second field goal, this time from 28 yards out on the right hashmark to give the Jaguars a 26-16 advantage.

A short time later, the Jaguar defense would hold GWU to a punt which was fair caught around the Jaguar eight yard line. On the second play of the possession, Xavier Johnson broke free for a Jaguar record 92 yard touchdown run.

Garnder-Webb would score once more with 19 seconds left to make it a 10-point game at the end.

“Overall we made some big plays when we had to have them,” said Jaguar head coach Joey Jones. “Xavier Johnson had two big ones, he was the player of the game in my opinion. He had some big plays that really got us going in the second half.”

GWU’s option attack caught the Jaguar defense on their heels, particularly after the lightning delay. Bulldog quarterback Tyrell Maxwell was the leading rusher for opponents with 102 yards on 22 carries. But the Jaguar defense eventually adjusted and did a good job of mostly keeping him contained later in the game. Maxwell also went 11-of-22 for 132 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions as well.

The bulldogs large tight end also caused some problems, particularly when he had a favorable matchup. He caught four passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns.

UAB transfer Cody Clements went 14-of-25 for 184 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Fellow UAB transfer Gerald Everett caught four passes for 75 yards, including the 50 yard touchdown in the first quarter.

Xavier Johnson led the rushing attack with 121 yards on seven carries and a touchdown including the 56 yard touchdown reception gave him 177 all-purpose yards for the game. Tyreis Thomas added 56 on nine carries, Timmons had 51 yards on four carries and a touchdown.

Nebraska is rebounding from a heartbreaking loss on a game-ending hail Mary pass by BYU on Saturday. The Jaguars will be going into a hostile environment against a team looking to avenge a painful loss.

The Cornhuskers gained 445 yards of offense against BYU, with 319 of those yards coming through the air. Husker quarterback Tommy Armstrong was 24-of-41 with three touchdowns. Jordan Westerkamp led the Huskers receiving with seven catches for 107 yards while Brandon Reilly had five catches for 70 yards. Nebraksa’s leading rusher was Terrell Newby with 43 yards on 10 carries.

Meanwhile the Cornhusker’s defense allowed 511 yards, 379 of them through the air, as Cougar quarterbacks combined to go 28-of-46.

So there should be opportunities for the Jaguars to make plays, and if they do they will have a chance to defeat the Huskers as well.

“They are pretty big and very talented as you might imagine, and they are very well-coached. [NU head] Coach [Mike] Riley did a great job at Oregon State,” Jones observed. “Our hands are full, but our kids are really looking forward to the opportunity. They realize it’s a game that is going to be on national television, you want to do well when you are on a stage like that. It’s an exciting week for us.”

“The thing about games like this is that the guys understand we are playing a very good football team,” stated Jones. “But my focus is not on any opponent, it’s on us. I know that’s said a lot by coaches, but it’s the truth. We have to work and get better, and if we do that we will be able to block, tackle and execute in the game.

“We’ve done pretty well against teams like this, but this is a new one and we have to get ready.”

Jaguars and Cornhuskers will be aired nationally on the Big Ten Network with kickoff scheduled for 7pm CDT.

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