Jags Travel To Troy In Annual Battle of the Belt

October 10, 2017 · By · Filed Under Football 

The Jags (1-4, 0-1 Sun Belt Conference) travel a couple hours up the road to Troy (4-1, 1-0 SBC) for a midweek match up against the Trojans in the annual ‘Battle for the Belt’ as a 17-point underdog.

After USA replaced Bryant Vincent at offensive coordinator, the Jags took Louisiana Tech to the fourth quarter trailing by a single point, but offensively they stumbled and the Tech offense took advantage of a tired and banged up defense to score a couple times in the final quarter to pull away for a 34-16 win.

But the Jags have had a long week to continue to gel and game plan with coach Owens as the offensive coordinator. Against La. Tech, the Jags 3rd down conversion rate was 5 of 15, which was better but still needs to be improved upon.

South Alabama’s defense will come up against one of the best quarterback-running back pairs in the conference. Brandon Silvers is patient and makes good decisions with the ball. Jordan Chunn scored twice in the fourth quarter last season in Mobile in the Trojan’s come-from-behind win. Both were long, 80-yard drives too.

The Trojan offense isn’t a big play offense. They just move the ball methodically and stay on schedule keeping their playbook wide open.

Chunn is averaging 5.4 yards per attempt and 98 yards per game and had six touchdowns on the season. He is clearly the the workhorse with over double the rushing yards of the next closest back, Jamarius Henderson, and over three times as many rushing attempts (91 to 26) as Henderson. Actually Chunn’s attempts are over half of the teams rushing attempts on the season.

Troy only has two passing touchdowns on the season, but they have 13 rushing touchdowns to make up for it. Silvers is completing 64.8% of his attempts for 1,241 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Defensively the Trojans are tough against the run only allowing 108.8 yards per game, 3.5 yards per rush and only two rushing touchdowns all season. They allow 231 yards per game through the air, 10.8 yards per catch and 8 touchdowns. But they have intercepted opposing quarterbacks five times this season. Including two interceptions over their last two games against Akron and LSU.

Though the Trojans allowed 428 yards to LSU and only gained 363, but they gained 206 yards and all three touchdowns on the ground. Silvers was 16 of 28 for 157 yards, his longest completion was only 20 yards.

The quarterback position has had problems staying healthy early on this season. Cole Garvin started the first game before injuring his ankle on the first possession against Oklahoma State in their second game of the season. Dallas Davis took over and started the next two games before Davis re-aggravated a shoulder injury that he had off-season surgery on.

On Monday, head coach Joey Jones announced that Garvin will start again but also said that Davis’ arm strength was back too. Garvin, through three games, is 41-of-77 for 447 yards with two touchdowns through the air and on the ground but also two interceptions.

Injuries in the secondary have really hurt the Jaguar defense, but they have played their hearts out. Jeremy Reaves has stepped up his game even further to lead the defense each game.

Jones also announced on Monday that left guard Tyler Grimsley suffered a knee injury against Louisiana Tech and will miss the remainder of the season.

What must the Jaguar do to win:

Offensively, the Jags MUST extend drives by converting on third down. The Jag defense has played so well all season, but if the offense can extend their drives and give them some extra rest then maybe they can avoid late game fatigue.

The offense cannot afford mistakes. They can’t accumulate lots of offensive penalties and put themselves behind the down and distance. Nor can they give up negative plays on offense either.

Defensively, the Jags can’t give up big plays trying to get the Trojans behind the down and distance schedule. They have shown that they can play well against great quarterbacks like Shea Patterson and Mason Rudolph.

Get Garvin comfortable early with short, high-percentage completions for positive gains. If they can get use the short to intermediate routes to open up their rushing game then Xavier and company can get going as well.

The last point is the Jags can’t play against the same officiating crew that called the Idaho game. While the office of officiating were forthcoming enough to say that some calls were blown in the Idaho game, but realizing that two or three days after the game is much too late and is an injustice to the student-athletes playing the game.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7pm at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy, Alabama. It will be televised nationally on ESPN2 and can also be heard on 99.5 The Jags FM and 96.1 FM in the Mobile area and online world-wide through the iHeartRadio platform.

Comments

Leave a Reply