Jags Prepare To Host North Carolina State On Saturday

September 24, 2015 · By · Filed Under Football 

The Jags head into their final non-conference game of the season in NC State after a great win at San Diego State. Xavier Johnson rushed 19 times for 142 yards and two second half touchdowns, Gerald Everett caught eight passes for 164 yards and a touchdown to help the Jaguars earn the win.

Aleem Sunanon was chosen as the Special Teams Student-Athlete of the week for the second time this season after he matched his career-long with a 46-yard kick as time expired to send the game into overtime, where the Jaguars would win 34-27. Sunanon is tied for the conference lead with 1.67 field goals per game, which ranks him among the top 20 in the nation and is tied for seventh in scoring. He is alsot he first Jaguar football player to earn a conference weekly award on multiple occasions in the same season.

Jeremy Reaves was chosen as the Defensive Student-Athlete of the week, his first honor of his career, after recording a career-high 10 tackles for the second consecutive week. The sophomore also had a pass breakup on third down that forced the Aztecs to punt on their first possesson of the game. He also was credited with a stop for a loss for the third time in three games. Reaves is tied for the team lead with 25 total stops and ranks in the top 10 in the conference in tackles, interceptions and passes defended per game.

Head coach Joey Jones reflected on the game on Monday, “We tried to enjoy the game on the plane ride back, we got home around 5 a.m. and had 2-3 hours sleep before getting back to work. As soon as I got here Sunday morning it was all about N.C. State. It was a big win for our program and everybody involved, and I was happy that we went on the road and beat a quality opponent in San Diego State, but we have to move on to the next game like we always do.”

“We stressed all week about fighting from start to finish, that it was truly going to be a war,” Jones reflected about why he considered it the biggest win in program history. “I thought the guys fought throughout the whole game, which is what it takes, and you have to fight together as a team. We really grew up as a team, you could see it on the sideline. This team is kind of young and new, we have some guys who haven’t played together a lot. It’s starting to come together, I saw some good things on Saturday.”

Jones spoke highly of his defensive staff and about the defensive front’s performance in San Diego. “I thought our defensive staff did a tremendous job putting our guys in the right places to be consistently in the right gaps. We did a much better job of that this week — some of that was personnel moving guys into different spots — but we knew we had to stop the run last week.”

NC State

But the Jaguars now have to turn their attention to North Carolina State. After traveling to Raleigh to face them twice, the Wolfpack will visit Mobile to face the Jaguars. But Coach Jones does not worry about being an underdog in the game though. “I don’t worry about those things, but we are playing an ACC opponent who is very good and off to great start this year. We’ve had two long trips to Nebraska and California, so to come home is exciting. The fact that we are playing N.C. State is exciting. I think our crowd is going to be into it like they always are.”

The NC State offense has looked particularly good through their first couple of games. They have athletic linemen, a good running back and an accurate quarterback which will all be challenges to the Jag defense. But with the help of the student section, Jones feels the Jaguars will be ready for the game.”We appreciate what they [students] have done for our football program, we enjoy what they do out there. They’re loud, you can tell they give our opposing team a hard time, and I like that. When we drive up to the game we can see them, and when they are out there in droves it really fires our guys up. They have created an exciting atmosphere.”

Heading into the final non-conference game of the season for the Jaguars, they will be facing a team that is averaging 235 yards per game rushing and over 440 yards of total offense per game. They also average more than 40 points per game as well. Those numbers put them in the top 25 of rushing and total offense in the nation.

NCSU running back Matthew Dayes has rushed for over 100 yards per game in all three games this season with six touchdowns to show for it. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett is 56-of-72 (77.8%) so far this season for 591 yards and four touchdowns.

The Jags are coming off of a season-high 511 yard game, 351 yards of that total coming in the second half and overtime. But the Jaguars will be facing an NC State defense that is second overall by only allowing 188.3 yards per game, fifth overall against the run allowing 51 yards per game, and eighth in points allowed with 11.7 ppg in the nation.

Meanwhile the Jaguar defense is allowing 32.7 points per game, including 191.7 yards rushing per game and 200 yards passing per game. Offensively they are averaging 25.3 points per game, 161.3 yards rushing per game and 255.7 yards passing per game.

The Jags was bitten by the injury bug prior to preseason camp with a season-ending injury to their top defensive lineman coming into the season. Injuries re-emerged on Saturday with at least one but probably two season-ending injuries suffered against the Aztecs.

On Friday, the University of South Alabama will host “JagNight on Dauphin” with a parade, pep rally and entertainment. The parade will start at 7pm in Cathedral Square and will end at Springhill Ave. where there will be a pep rally and other entertainment until 9pm at Moe’s BBQ.

On Saturday, the game will kickoff at 7pm and can be heard locally on Lite Mix 99.9 with two hours of pre-game starting at 5pm and a 30-minute post-game wrap-up after the game. It can also be heard on affiliate radio stations in Alabama and world-wide through the iHeartRadio app.

The game will also be aired on ESPNews.

Go Jags!

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