After back-to-back loses, the South Alabama Jaguars (5-6, 3-4 SBC) have one last shot at guaranteeing themselves a spot in postseason play when they host Appalachian State (9-2, 3-4 SBC) on Saturday.
The Jags went on the road to Georgia State on November 21st and lost a 10 point lead en route to falling 24-10 to the Panthers. Then after the Jags took an early 7-0 lead at Georgia Southern last Saturday, the Eagles came to life in the second quarter to take a 28-14 lead into halftime. USA would only manage a field goal in the second half on the way to a 55-17 loss at the hands of the Eagles triple-option attack.
In the regular season finale, the Jags will host Appalachian State for Senior Day and needing a win to guarantee a bowl slot. With 80 bowl slots in games, only 75 teams have achieved bowl eligibility with three teams vying to get their sixth win and earn bowl eligibility this weekend.
Basically, it’s win or stay home for the Jaguars.
“The players are taking this week very personal,” head coach Joey Jones said in his Monday press conference. “They want to win. They want to get into a bowl game, that’s one of our goals obviously. We’re going to be all in this game, and the guys will be ready. You can tell a lot of those guys know it’s their last chance.”
But the Appalachian State team they will be facing is not the same team they faced last season in Boone, NC. Defensively they are leading the conference in the fewest amount of points allowed.
“They are very active up front and do a lot of things out of a three-man front – a lot of blitzes,” Coach Jones explained. “They are much more diverse than they were last year. They play zone coverage extremely well. That’s one thing that they are really good at. They drop to their spots, break on the ball and have fast guys back there who do a good job. Offensively, they are really good running the football. They execute very well. Their passing game is not the most complex in the world, but they really know how to do it. Their offense is really methodical about what they do. They have a lot of long drives and move the ball down the field consistently.”