Jags Stunned By Warhawks; Look To Get Healthy With Bye Week
South Alabama was shocked by Louisiana-Monroe.
A team that entered the game 2-6 on the season who was outscored 110-27 in the previous two games and was searching for answers after losing their starting quarterback and falling back on a redshirt freshman and a true freshman.
The Warhawks started freshman Caleb Evans at quarterback and he continually found receivers open over the middle. The Jags defense clearly missed Kalen Jackson in the middle of the defense. Missing six defensive linemen for the season, another clearly slowed from a recent injury, your top tackler is playing through injury, starting left guard out of the season, and also missing one of your top cover corners and it’s a recipe for trouble. But the nagging injuries do not stop there: Dallas Davis with turf toe, Xavier fighting through injury on top of all the other injuries that accumulate through the course of a season.
And trouble is exactly what the Jags ran into in Monroe.
On the positive side, the offense gained 516 yards, 209 of it on the ground. Having coach Vincent on the sideline definitely has helped spark the offense but 12 penalties for 83 yards is enough swing a close game the other way.
Head coach Joey Jones was clearly beyond unhappy after the game. Unhappy is not a good way to describe it. His post-game interview was blunt and honest. He felt the team did not come to play Saturday afternoon and that they had a lot to work on going into an open week.
The biggest question right now is who is going to step up and fill Kalen’s shoes. His ability to defend the middle of the field and provide run support was a huge part of the Jaguar defense.
Even with that, the Jags stepped up late in the game with a 6 play, 80 yard drive in 1:08 to tie the game up with :50 left in the game. The Warhawks took possession and got to the Jaguar 39 yard line before Evans was picked off by Jeremy Reaves at the USA 31 and returned to the ULM 33 with only five seconds left in the game.
Gavin Patterson’s season long is 40 yards and is 1-of-4 from 40-49 yards. With a 50 yard attempt to win the game, but his kick was blocked which sent the game into overtime.
In overtime, the defense had a 3rd and 1 at the 16 but an offsides penalty gave the Warhawks an automatic first down and they went on to score a touchdown.
The Jags opened their overtime possession with an three yard run by Xavier Johnson then back-to-back incompletions led to a 4th & 7, which turned into a 4th & 12 after a false start. Then the Warhawks sent a blitz up the middle that the offense couldn’t pick up and Dallas Davis was sacked to end the game 42-35.
The Jags best chance at getting bowl eligible is to get wins against Idaho and New Mexico State. The Presbyterian game currently cannot be counted towards bowl eligibility since they already have one win over a FCS school on their resume this season. There will be an appeal to the NCAA, but with all things NCAA related there’s no certainty as to what their response will be.
But that’s looking ahead, the only thing the Jags can control at this time is getting healed up as much as they can for Presbyterian on November 19. They have to stay focused on one game at a time and handle business.
These are all winnable games, but harder to fight two opponents at once: the team your playing and the injury bug. Let’s hope this is the END of the injuries and we can start actually play like a team rather than a MASH unit.