Jags Fall To #10 Ranked Oklahoma State In Home Opener 44-7

September 9, 2017 · By · Filed Under Football 

Mason Rudolph and the Oklahoma State offense is set to snap the ball, but the official is making sure everything is set before backing off and allowing the snap.

South Alabama’s upset bid against the #10 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys never got off the ground at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Entering the game, most of the national spotlight was on OSU’s high powered offense, and for good reason with their Heisman Trophy hopeful quarterback and likely a few All-American supporting cast.

The Jaguar defense struggled early getting used to the uptempo hurry-up, no-huddle offense, which was astonishing to see in person at times. The defensive line would just get down into their stance as Mason Rudolph was clapping his hands for the snap. A few times players were struggling to get to their position before the snap.

The first possessions by both teams were three-and-outs, first by the Cowboys then by the Jags. On the Jags final play of their opening series, starting quarterback Cole Garvin tucked the ball and ran losing a yard, receiving a sprained ankle in the process. Dallas Davis would come in and played the remainder of the game at quarterback.

On the second OSU drive the Jags defense bent but kept the Cowboys out of the endzone, allowing a 31 yard field goal. But another three-and-out by the Jags, with a pass or two off the mark by Davis, the Cowboys only needed two plays to score. A two yard rush followed by a nice pass from Rudolph to his All-American hopeful James washington on a slant route and he outraced the secondary to the endzone.

Davis started to settle in on the next series with a pair of completions but still a three-and-out. Then Rudolph sliced and diced the Jags for passes of 9, 13, and 14 yards to Tyron Johnson followed by a 30-yarder to Washington before capping off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Marcell Ateman on an inside slant to make it 17-0.

Early in the second quarter, the Jags defense started to find some ways to get pressure on Rudolph with qb hurry and a sack. The Cowboys didn’t help their cause late in the drive with a false start and a substitution infraction which led to a 42-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide right.

USA finally put together a good drive of their own on the ensuing possession behind the arm of Dallas Davis. The offensive unit finally earned their first first-down of the game with a 17-yard completion from Davis to Jamarius Way on second down. Completions of 16 to Sam Harris, 12 to Jordan McCray and another 14 yards to Way highlighted the drive. But on 3rd and 5, Davis’ throw to Harris fell incomplete. Then Gavin Patterson’s 31-yard attempt missed wide left.

Starting at their own 20 with 1:17 left before halftime, OSU completed three consecutive passes for first downs to quickly march out to the Jaguar 36 before the defense started pressuring Rudolph and forcing three-consecutive incomplete passes. Matt Ammendola’s 53 yard attempt split the uprights with not much distance to spare giving the Cowboys a 20-0 advantage with only :11 seconds left. The Jags would kneel on it and go to halftime.

Again, the third quarter would be a bit of an undoing for South Alabama.

On the opening play of the second half, Davis connected with Tra Minter for a 4-yard gain but two flags would negate the play. The first was a holding call on USA and the second was a targeting call on Calvin Bundage. After a lengthy review, the call on the field was upheld and Bundage was disqualified. This led to yet another interesting series of events a couple of plays later. Davis threw a deep pass but the receiver was held and fell down. A defensive back was able to pick off the ball and return it to the 40 before Sam harris forced a fumble that OSU recovered. However, the holding call on the defender negated the play. Then on the very next play, Xavier Johnson fumbled and OSU came away with the ball again. It was the Jags first turnover of the season and an unusual turnover by Johnson.

A few plays later Rudolph added another touchdown pass to his stats with a 20-yarder to Ateman to make it 27-0. The drive was 4-plays, 43 yards and only took :58 seconds off the clock.

Another three-and-out by the Jags gave the Cowboys the ball at their own 37. A couple questionable lack of calls on the drive but the Cowboys methodically drove it down the field with Rudolph keeping the ball for the final 10 yards for the touchdown pushing the lead out to 34-0.

The final Cowboy touchdown came by way of their defense. On second-down at their 25-yard line, Davis’ pass was tipped by a defensive lineman and intercepted by Justin Phillips who was able to return it for a touchdown giving the Cowboys a 41-0 advantage.

Rudolph finally gave way to Keondre Wudtee who helped lead a short drive from the USA 44 to the 18 before a bad snap led to a 13 yard loss by Wudtee back to the 31 yard line. Back-to-back incompletions and OSU settled for a 48 yard field goal for their final points of the game.

Driven behind Davis’ arm, pass completions of 14, 10, and 14 before the he found Messiah Francis for a 17-yard touchdown. The 11-play, 83 yard drive prevented the Jags from being shut out for the first time in school history.

Mason Rudolph finished with 335 yards on 25-of-38 passing with three touchdowns. James Washington only caught two passes for 98 yards with a touchdown. But four other Cowboys had 40 or more yards receiving. Marcell Ateman led the team with five catches for 51 yards and two touchdowns.

J.D. King led the Cowboys rushing with 64 yards on eight carries. Justice Hill had 11 carries for only 27 yards.

Cole Garvin complete his one and only pass for eight yards. Dallas Davis was 13-of-23 for 126 yards a touchdown and an interception. Jamarius Way led the team with five catches for 66 yads.

Xavier Johnson carried the ball five times for 36 yards. Tra minter had 7 carries for 15 yards and Davis rushed eight 8 times for 13 yards.

Xavier Johnson had a huge kickoff return called back due to a hold otherwise his all-purpose yardage would have been been much more than his 96 yards for the game.

Corliss Waitman punted seven times with an average of 48.4 yards per kick and a long of 58.

Jeremy Reaves and Bull Barge led the team with eight tackles each. Tyree Turner collected the only sack of the game against Rudolph.

With the opening two games now complete, the Jags have completed their roughest two-game stretch of the season and probably of their history. Best of all, their injury report is quite short it seems. It seems that Neiko Robinson will probably miss the remainder of the season with a foot injury, but beyond that Garvin had a sprained ankle and Nelson Santiago had a surgical procedure on an injured ankle but should return in the next couple of weeks.

The Jaguar defensive front four were outsized by the four smallest OSU offensive linemen by an average of 3 1/2 inches of height and 45 pounds per man. That didn’t include their monsterous left tackle, who was 6’8″, 350-pounds. The difference between USA’s offensive line and the OSU defensive line was nowhere near the same as the opposite above, but their up-tempo offense did not allow USA to utilize their depth on the defensive line.

South Alabama will have an extra day of preparation before they host Alabama A&M on Saturday, September 16 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6pm with TV broadcast on ESPN3, Radio coverage on 96.1 FM The Rocket, 99.5 FM The Jag, and iHeartRadio app worldwide.

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