South Alabama Travels To West Coast This Weekend To Face SDSU

September 17, 2015 · By · Filed Under Football 

Jags_vs_SDSUSouth Alabama went to face a Nebraska team who was fresh off of a loss where the opposing team defeated them on a hail Mary as time expired.

The Jaguars experienced offensive line protected the quarterback well for the most part. They opened holes for the running backs but the Cornhusker linebackers and secondary did a great job of coming up and limiting the Jaguar rushing attack. Quarterback Cody Clements stood in the pocket, didn’t panic and was able to find receivers open, a couple for big gains too.

Defensively the younger, less experienced defensive line had problems most of the night against the big Nebraska offensive line. In the second half, particularly early, the Jags came out and played much better against the Huskers, but allowed the same number of points in the first half.

The younger Jaguars may have been caught up in the pomp and circumstance that surrounds Nebraksa football with their 342’nd consecutive sellout. You just cannot simulate what it’s going to be like in front of 89,000 jubulant fans in practice.

The end result was a 48-9 loss for the Jaguars and a week to prepare for San Diego State on Saturday.

SDSU’s offense runs more of a traditional “I” style offense, similar to the Jaguars from about three or four years ago. They are a power running team with counters, iso’s and play action passing off the run. The Jaguars will have to keep Donnell Pumphrey in their sights as he is a smaller guy with speed with a large offensive line.

The Jaguar defense will have to mind their gaps better than they did against Nebraska or it’s going to be another long day for them against Pumphrey as he leads the team with 147 rushing yards with Chase Price adding 101 yards on 19 attempts with a 5.3 yards per rush average. Quarterback Maxwell Smith, a transfer from Kentucky, has completed 19-of-40 passes for 236 yards. Mikah Holder leads the team with five receptions but Eric Judge and Pumphrey have four each themselves.

The Aztec defense has lots of returning talent, several of whom are seniors. The defense is far from traditional with lots of guys standing at the line of scrimmage then coming when the ball is snapped.

The Aztecs are coming off of a loss of their own to a ‘Power Five’ team in a 35-7 loss to California.

Numbers-wise through their first two games the Aztecs are allowing only 19 points and less than 340 yards per game, including just over 120 yards per game rushing. Their defense has two standout players, Jake Fely who leads the team with 20 total stops and fellow linebacker Calvin Munson who has 17 total tackles, but with 4.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, three of them sacks, including two interceptions returned for touchdowns and a fumble recovery. He is by far the most disruptive force on the defensive squad.

Josh Magee finished with six catches for 147 yards against Nebraska, including a 33 yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Gerald Everett, Kevin Kutchera and Margin Shinn all had three catches each. Everett and Magee are tied for the lead with seven catches each this season.

Xavier Johnson leads the Jaguars rushing attack with 149 yards through two games. Tyreis Thomas and Terrance Timmons have combined for 112 yards rushing so far this season as well.

Roman Buchanan and Blake Dees are tied for the team lead with 20 stops each. Buchanan led the team for the first time in his career with 11 tackles, a career-best, in Lincoln. Overall Jeremy Reaves has 15 tackles, two behind the line, this season. Kalen Jackson has 14 total tackles, Devon Earl has 13 and Demarius Rancifer has 12.

The Jaguar defense has four takeaways this season. E.J. May’s first interception of the season led to the Jaguars only touchdown against the Cornhuskers.

Head coach Joey Jones was audibly and visibly displeased this week on his tv and radio shows. “We have fared well against a lot of these teams — Mississippi State, Tennessee and South Carolina — so that was the first time we haven’t played well against a Power Five team,” he said in USA’s weekly press conference. “I wasn’t real happy with the way we played overall.”

“Looking at the film there were some things we did well, I thought for the most part the offensive line protected the quarterback — and they have some first-round draft picks on that defensive front — that Cody [Clements] threw the ball well and stood in there and didn’t panic, and Josh [Magee] obviously had a great game at receiver,” Jones observed. “Defensively we just didn’t fit the gaps. I preach to them all the time about being fundamental, making sure that you play your gap, and I don’t think we did that. I didn’t think we played great on specials teams, we had some freshmen out there, but we’re going to grow up and learn from this.

“When you play a team like Nebraska, they expose your weaknesses because a lot of times they have better cats than your cats, they are bigger and faster. We have to see our weaknesses — we knew we had some, some that were obvious — to make them strengths by the time [Sun Belt] conference play gets here.”

“I think it will help, we have so many young guys; there are guys who were in the first time out in a situation like that,” Jones said about how the Nebraska game will help this week. “We are playing four to five freshmen on defense a lot, as well as some other guys who don’t have a lot of experience, so going through that certainly will help them for the next game and the next time that happens. We can play all the loud music and fight song over speakers, but until they get out there and look around at 89,000 people it is just different. You have to go through it to learn, but there’s no doubt we’ll be able to handle that better the next time because the young guys are coming along.”

South Alabama and San Diego State will get underway at 7PM (CDT) at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California which is home to the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, coincidentally where former Jaguar Melvin Meggs worked out as a free agent. The game will be broadcast in Mobile on 99.9FM along with the rest of the Jaguar Sports Network in the state of Alabama as well as world-wide via iHeartRadio. The Mountain West Network will have a free video stream of the game available online.

Go Jags!


3 Responses to “South Alabama Travels To West Coast This Weekend To Face SDSU”

  1. Huan on September 17th, 2015 8:41 am

    I think we left some points on the field with some questionable 4th down play calls.

  2. Brian on September 17th, 2015 8:48 am

    I would have kicked the field goal on the early 4th down when we were behind 14-0. I would prefer to get some points early and let your team know you can score. Then if you feel that you need to go for it on 4th down, you have more confidence. It’s intimidating to have a 0 staring back at you on the scoreboard.

  3. Huan on September 17th, 2015 9:50 pm


    The first thing you got to do as an underdog is to score when you can to avoid a shutout.

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