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.”
Jags Defeat Georgia State 4-0 For Third-Consecutive SBC Title
The South Alabama Jaguar soccer team earned their their consecutive Sun Belt Conference title with a 4-0 win over Georgia State on Sunday to punch their card to the NCAA Tournament.
Sophomore Rio Hardy scored the lone goal in the first half with help by Danielle Henley who drove a low cross to Hardy who hit it home.
Just three minutes into the second half Sophomore Chelsea Followwell hit home a loose ball in front of the net after a corner kick at the 60:36 mark.
Charde Hannah took advantage of a defensive miscue at the 63:35 mark to make it a 3-0 lead. The final score came in the 85th minute when Nini Rabsatt-Smith headed the ball into the net on a corner kick from freshman Jemma Purfield.
“I’m obviously delighted that we managed to win,” Jaguar head coach Graham Winkworth said. “I was really happy because usually at this time of the year, it’s about the result and not the performance, but today we put in a fantastic performance and got a fantastic result. I was really happy for the girls; it means a lot to them and to me to lift the trophy again.
“We’re scoring lots of goals and they’re coming from lots of areas,” Winkworth noted. “They really showed up today; it was maybe one of our stronger performances of the season.”
The Jags had five players named to the All-Tournament team: Sophomore Ashlynn Jones, senior Nini Rabsatt-Smith, Sophomore Rio Hardy, sophomore Charde Hannah and junior Sarah Hay. Hannah was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.
“All five of them were crucial to our success, but in all honesty, we could have picked anyone that played this weekend,” Winkworth said. “Those five humble young ladies would be the first to admit that if it wasn’t for the squad that we’ve got, they wouldn’t be receiving those awards this weekend and we wouldn’t be taking the big one home.”
“We were solid from front to back,” Winkworth said. “The forwards worked hard limiting quality longballs from their back line and the midfield pressed extremely well. The defense dropped when they needed to drop and intercepted passes rather than needing to make tackles. Only once did they get in behind us, and when that happened, Sarah pulled off an excellent save on a 1-on-1. All in all, I’m very happy with the defensive performance from front to back.”
South Alabama Set To Host LSU In First Round Of NCAA Tournament
On Monday afternoon, the Jags learned their fate for the NCAA Tournament from the Division I Women’s Soccer Committee and it was not only historic for South Alabama, but also for the Sun Belt Conference.
South Alabama will host LSU for the first-round match on Saturday night. The first in South Alabama history and also the first in Sun Belt Conference history.
This will be the Jags third consecutive tournament appearance and enter the tournament with a 17-2-2 record overall and a 14-match unbeaten streak.
“This is huge,” Jaguar head coach Graham Winkworth said. “We’ve created something very special here. It wouldn’t have matter who they sent us, we’d have been excited to have a game on campus. We need the whole community to come out on Saturday and cheer us on.
“It will be great for our community to have such a big team coming into town. We know a lot of people will think they’re the big favorites coming from the SEC, however, we feel like we’ve got a good product here as well. We hope it’ll be an excellent game and hopefully we’ll get the right result.”
LSU (13-5-4) earned their way into the postseason for the first time since 2011 after advancing to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. The Tigers lead the all-time series against USA 5-4 with wins in their last three meetings, the most recent in 2010.
With the Jaguar Football team’s game on Thursday night, the Saturday night date against LSU is a great opportunity to support the Lady Jaguars in their quest for a National Title.
Tickets are $7 for Adults, $3 for Seniors, Children between 2-12 are also $3 and Children under 2 are Free.
Student tickets are also $3 however the first 300 students are able to claim free tickets on a first-come, first served basis Saturday night when the gates open by showing a valid student ID.
Tickets can be purchased over the phone only by calling 251.461.1USA (1872). All tickets will be held for pickup on Saturday night and no tickets will be distributed before the match. Gates will open 90 minutes prior to the match.
The match is scheduled for 7pm on Saturday.
All tickets will be general admission and grandstand seating is first-come-first served. Fans are recommended to bring portable outdoors chairs with them.
Homecoming was looking as dreary as the weather on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium as the Jaguars were facing a 24-0 deficit midway through the second quarter when the got the spark they needed. Xavier Johnson provided that spark with a 41 yard kickoff return on the ensuing kickoff with more to come.
The Jags would drive down to the Idaho 1 yard line and be turned away on fourth down with 2:30 left in the opening half. The Jaguar defense would then stand tall and force a three and out with the Jaguars using timeouts to force the Vandals to punt and give the Jaguars a short field with just 1:58 left until halftime.
Then the Jaguars used the spark that Johnson provided jump start a two-minute drive for points just before halftime. It began with a Cody Clements pass to Chris Lewis for 9 yards and into Idaho territory before stepping out of bounds. Terrance Timmons took the handoff four yards for the first down before Clements came back and found Marvin Shinn for 20 yards to the Idaho 25 before going out of bounds to stop the clock. Clements found Danny Woodson for 19 more yards to the Idaho 6 yard line before he too stepped out of bounds. The drive would be capped off by a 6 yard slant pass to Shinn for the touchdown. The 5 play, 58 yard drive would only take :38 off the clock but the Vandals were content to go into halftime with a 24-7 lead.
Johnson, after providing the spark to get the Jags in gear, would lit them on fire by taking the second-half kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown to further cut the Vandal lead to 24-14.
After exchanging a number of punts, the Jags Josh Magee would take a Vandal punt by 22 yards before fumbling near midfield which was recovered by Idaho in front of their bench. But Blake Dees was having none of it as two plays later he forced Elijhaa Penny to fumble, which Devon Earl would pick up and scamper 57 yards to the endzone with 4:19 left in the third quarter.
The defense would keep their pace by forcing another three and out, but this time the Jaguars freshman cornerback Jalen Thompson would block the kick with Margo Reed covering it at and returning it six yards to the Vandal 6 yard line. Cody Clements would take the next snap into the endzone untouched to give the Jaguars a 28-24 lead with 3:08 left in the third quarter.
Idaho was not ready to give up as quarterback Matt Linehan would continue he passing clinic with a 32 yard strike to Hightower on third down to keep the drive alive. Three plays later Penny would take it into the endzone from 19 yards out to regain the lead 31-28 with :44 left in the third quarter to set up a fourth quarter for the Jaguar history books.
The Jags would lean on their rushing attack that began with a nine yard gain by Johnson to end the third quarter then continue with runs of 5 and 18 by Tyreis Thomas and runs of 7, 13, and 1 by Timmons before Clements took the air to find Gerald Everett for a 16 yard touchdown to give USA the lead once more with 13:14 left in the game at 35-31.
The ensuing kickoff would bounce off Idaho’s Rueben Mwehla’s shoulder pads to be recovered by Jaguars Buford-Hughes at the Vandal 9 yard line. An unsportsmanlike conduct call on Shinn, in addition to a four yard loss on the play set the Jaguars back at the 29 with the goal to go. USA would settle for a 41 yard field goal by Aleem Sunanon with 11:47 left in the game to take a 38-31 lead.
The vandals would drive out to their 49 yard line before Margo Reed would make a great over-the-shoulder interception at the Jaguar 16 before going out of bounds.
Johnson would bust out a 50 yard run to the Idaho 34 yard line on the first play of the drive to set up Clements to find D.J. Vinson for a 14 yard touchdown a few plays later to put USA up by two scores at 45-31 with 7:42 left in the game.
The Vandals would only need 1:59 to answer with a touchdown of their own to make the game a one-score game again at 45-38.
Chris Lewis would return the ensuing kickoff 22 yards to the Jaguar 39 to set up Xavier Johnson for another huge play. Johnson would take the handoff on the first and only play of the drive 61 yards for a touchdown to put the Jaguars up 52-38 with 5:19 left in the game.
Linehan was not done either.
He would throw and run his way to the Jaguar 18 before he combined with Penny to help get down to the 1 yard line before he called his own number and took it in to cut the Jaguar lead to one score once again at 52-45.
Braedon Bowman would cover up the onside kick attempt allowing the Jaguars to take the victory formation and end the game.
Clements was an efficient 11-of-19 for 114 yards and two touchdowns while Linehan went 26-of-39 for 317 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Elijha Penny rushed 35 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Linehan added 49 yards on 8 carries and two touchdowns.
Xavier Johnson had 9 carries for 148 yards and a touchdown to go along with 141 yards in kick returns to give him 289 all-purpose yards for the game. Tyreis Thomas had 15 carries for 88 yards, Timmons added 33 yards on seven carries, Clements added 29 yards on seven carries as well.
“That was big,” Jaguar head coach Joey Jones stated about the score just before halftime. “We were down on the one-foot line and didn’t score, and called three timeouts and got the ball back. We drove down and scored, and that was big; some good things happened there. You just have to keep plugging, you have to go to the next play. What are you going to do about the last play? Nothing — you have to move forward, and our guys learned a big lesson tonight. I think they knew that, but they really understand it now.”
“That score really sparked us and turned our whole momentum around,” Clements added. “As a team though, we fought so hard the whole game tonight and we never let up. We knew it was a four-quarter game and that you have to play all 60 minutes. The score at the end of the game is what matters.”
“We just kept telling ourselves that we had to keep the motor going. That’s what we’ve been preaching all week,” Blake Dees commented. “You can’t ever give up. Giving up isn’t something we do here at South Alabama. Getting down like we did early kind of sucked, but we persevered and kept going and never gave up.”
“We needed to make a few changes, and just do our job,” Devon Earl added. “In the first half, I don’t think guys were doing their jobs. We came in at halftime and talked it over, and it all came together in the second half.”
“I want to commend our football players for the guts and mental toughness to be able to come back in a game like that,” Coach Jones stated. “Everything was going wrong there for a quarter-and-a-half, and we just got it turned. The big kickoff return gave us a spark, and the kids came back and kept fighting. Sometimes you can’t play four quarters of football the way you want to, and you just have to deal with it. Nobody panicked, and that was the biggest thing. Had we panicked, I think we might have lost that ballgame.
“We just beat a good team; they have a really good offense obviously. They have a great quarterback and running back, they moved the ball up and down the field. What a win for our program to be able to come back and take another step toward a bowl [game].”
“Overall, I just can’t believe it,” said Vandal head coach Paul Petrino. “I really thought we had a great game plan, and we came out and executed it really well, both offensively and defensively. You can’t give up a kickoff return for a touchdown, a blocked punt and a fumble. Even after all that, we still came back and scored twice. We just had to get one stop, and we had the chance.
“I think everybody sees how much better we are; the program is on the right track to be a really good football team, but to have two games in a row end like that is really sad.”
Johnson’s kickoff return for a touchdown was the first since J.J. Keel in 2010. It was the first game that the offense, defense and special teams scored since defeating Pikeville on September 4, 2010. The game set a new record for largest deficit overcome in a victory surpassing the 14 point deficit the Jags overcame to defeat Florida Atlantic on October 20, 2013 for their first FBS win. It also set a record for most combined points scored with 97, surpassing the previous record by 15.
South Alabama will have a short week of preparation as they host Louisiana-Lafayette on Thursday at 6:30pm in a nationally televised game on ESPNU.
The South Alabama soccer team watched two leads slip away during regulation play but sophomore Sarah Hay made the key stop in the 11th round of penalty kicks to put the Jaguars in the Sun Belt Conference Women’s Soccer Tournament Final over Appalachian State on Friday night.
USA, the top-seed in the tournament, for the third consecutive season to face #6 seed Georgia State who defeated Troy also on penalty kicks.
While the match goes down as a 2-2 draw and ended the Jaguars 11 match win streak, but the 13 match unbeaten streak stays alive.
There were only two misses in the shootout before Hay’s final save. Early in the shootout, App. State’s Kate Ward was stopped by Hay in the second round and sophomore Chelsea Fallowwell’s attempt was stopped by Megan Roberson in the fourth to even it up.
Jaguar freshman Jemma Purfield put the Jags up 10-9 to set up Hay for game-winning stop.
Charde Hannah put the Jags on the board first in the 25th minute after sophomore Ashlynn Jones took control of an App. State goal kick and quickly fed Hannah.
The Mountaineers would respond just over 7.5 minutes later on a free kick from Ward in the upper left corner. Both teams would go to halftime knotted at 1 goal each.
It looked as though sophomore Danielle Henley had won the game for the Jags at the 60:32 mark when a header by senior Nini Rabsatt-Smith was saved off the line but the rebound went to Henley who knocked it home.
Appalachian State managed only two shots in the next 27 minutes before a cross from the byline by Jane Cline was parried by Hay, who was unable to corral it. Then Sam Childress beat Hay to the ball and punch it in at 88:02 mark.
“I’m really pleased that we managed to find a way through to the next round, which is a characteristic the girls have shown all season long – they’ve managed to find a way, but our performance wasn’t up to scratch today,” Jaguar head coach Graham Winkworth said. “We need to make sure we do a better job on Sunday in the final.
“Despite not playing our best soccer though, we still managed to hit the bar, had a couple saved off the line and had a goal disallowed, so we created chances but they didn’t fall for us. At the same time, we managed to do that and not play our best soccer, so I’m encouraged knowing that there’s more to come from us.”
“We’ve got to do a better job of managing the game,” Winkworth noted. “With two minutes to go, we’re making poor decisions at the back, whether we’re playing short when it should’ve gone long, or not putting it out of play and trying to do too much out of the back. When there’s two minutes to go, you have to make quality decisions to manage the game well.
“We’ll talk about it, but to be honest, these girls have done so much for us all season, they’re all entitled to a mistake now and again. We’ll brush that off and think about all of the positives that they’ve done today.”
USA won the shots balle 23-8, including 22-6 in regulation, but only got eight on frame compared to four for the Mountaineers.
“It was opposite of the other day (in the quarterfinals), because we weren’t clinical in front of goal,” Winkworth said. “We should have put them away early in the game. The fact that it was tied at halftime, that wasn’t a fair reflection of the first half. We didn’t take our chances and we didn’t put them away; we came in at halftime disappointed to be level. But like I told the girls, we were the team on the ascendency trying to win the match, and that positive attitude will be rewarded.”
The Jags will face Georgia State at noon on Sunday for the Conference Championship. The game can be seen on ESPN3.com.
The win was the largest ever for the Jaguar program in postseason play.
The Cajuns opened the scoring early on a loose ball in the goalmouth following a throw-in. Just 1:35 after the Cajun’s score, Rio harded headed home a cross shot from senior Alyssa Mayer. Sophomore Charde Hannah put the Jags ahead with her team-best eighth goal of the year in the 29th minute on a breakaway from sophomore Steffi Hardy.
Sophomore Ashlynn Jones recorded a second-half brace. She opened the scoring in the second half in the 57th minute on a breakaway by taking a long pass from senior Nini Rabsatt-Smith and putting a low shot past the goalkeeper.
Then just over four and a half minutes later Jones took a pass from freshman Jemma Purfield and put in the left side of the net to put the Jaguars up 4-1.
The fifth score for the Jags started with junior goalkeeper Sarah Hay gathered in a Cajun free kick then distributed it to Purfield who found Jones in the middle. Jones would pass it off to senior Jordan Duncan who slipped it past the defender to sophomroe Danielle Henley who would put it in the net from just inside the 18-yard box past the goalkeeper who was rushing the ball.
Sophie Haywood slit two defenders and found Duncan who put it in the net int he 76th minute. Junior Anisa Patterson finished off the scoring in the 84th minute off of a deflected ball from junior Nikki Shirtcliffe.
South Alabama has scored 16 goals in the last three matches. In the game, 13 of the Jaguars 16 shots found their target with seven of them coming in the second half.
“I thought we did well,” head coach Graham Winkworth said of the teams play. “We started off a bit slowly, getting used to the change in surface, but I thought the girls handled it very well. Overall, I was pleased with the result and the performance wasn’t too bad at all.
What pleased me is the level of play didn’t drop once we made a number of changes,” Winkworth saod. “I thought it was good that we were able to get everybody some playing time and we continued to play attractive soccer even after making a lot of changes. It just shows that team is not about whoever starts the match, but it’s a squad game and I was really pleased with the squad overall today.”
“Appalachian is a very good team,” Winkworth said of their next opponent. “They have a lot of depth and use a lot of numbers. They work extremely hard and are well-coached, so I think it will be a very tough game.”
The top seeded Jaguars will face #4 seed Appalachian State on Friday at 3pm for a spot in the Championship Match on Sunday against the winner between #2 seed Troy and #6 seeded Georgia State.
South Alabama started their conference schedule with a win over Troy last weekend and brought home the championship belt in its debut between the two schools. Jaguar fans traveled well and made their voices hear in Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Jaguars will host Arkansas State on Tuesday evening for a nationally televised game with big implications for the conference.
The Red Wolves are perineally in the mix for the conference championship and have represented the Sun Belt Conference in the GoDaddy Bowl in each of the last four seasons.
One of these two teams will suffer their first conference loss of season.
The Jaguars fell behind early and the Red Wolves capitalized on three interceptions and a fumble recovery to defeat the Jaguars 45-10 in Jonesboro, Arkansas. ASU rushed for 227 yards and threw for 186 more while the Jaguars only managed 90 yards passing and 111 on the ground. It was the second loss in a row as they were trying to get bowl eligible. The team regrouped and won a hard fought game against Texas State the next week to get bowl eligible and eventually earn their first-ever bowl invitation.
After replacing 17 starters, the Jaguars seem to be meshing well and getting ready for the remainder of their conference schedule. They had painful setbacks against Nebraska and NC State, but showed guts and determination in both games despite the score. That work could pay dividends throughout the rest of the season.
On the other hand, Arkansas State has florished through uncertainty. This is the first season the Red Wolves has had the same head coach since 2010. Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn and Bryan Harsin all spent just one season in Jonesboro before moving on to bigger programs.
South Alabama’s start against NC State had the fans excited. Cody Clements connected with Chris Lewis for a 47 yard gain on the opening play and a couple plays later Clements found Gerald Everett for an 11 yard touchdown pass to put the Jaguars up 7-0 less than two minutes into the game.
However, except for two field goals, the rest of the scoring would be all Wolfpack.
NC State came in and showed why they were undefeated on the season, why they came into the game averaging over 440 yards per game and why they averaged over 40 points per game. They were undoubtedly the best team the Jaguars have ever faced in their short history and the scoreboard reflected that with the Jaguars worst loss in program history, 63-13.
But the story is not all doom and gloom and the score might indicate. The Jaguars found found opportunities to throw the ball downfield. Clements finished 14-of-33 for 201 yards and a touchdown, but he also had two interceptions. Lewis hauled in the longest pass for a Jaguar at 47 yards, but D.J. Vinson also had a catch for 45 yards and Marvin Shinn hauled one in for a 36 yard gain as they took advantage of deep opportunities. However the running game could never get going as the Jags only managed 45 yards rushing.
But now the second, and most important, part of the season begins: Conference play.
South Alabama freshman Jemma Purfield was named the Sun Belt Conference Women’s Soccer Defensive Student-Athlete of the week on Tuesday. She is the second Jaguar to earn this recognition this season after Charde Hannah earned it last week.
Purfield, a native of Cottingham, England, scored a goal with an assist and helped lead the Jaguar defense in two shutouts. She played all 90 minutes against Louisiana Tech in a 1-0 victory where she recorded two shots on goal as the Jag defense only allowed two shots in the match.
Two days later, Purfield scored her first career goal in a 7-0 win over Tennessee-Martin. She also added an assist as the Jag defense held UTM to only six shots to record their second consecutive shutout.
Purfield has started every game this season and played all but 22 minutes.
South Alabama, who received three votes in the latest NSCAA Top 25 poll, will host the Jaguar Classic this weekend as South Florida, Troy and Austin Peay all come to The Cage for weekend matches. The Jags will face USF on Friday at 7pm then Austin Peay on Sunday at 2:30pm.
The NCAA announced on Tuesday that University of South Alabama Director of Athletics Dr. Joel Erdmann will serve as chair of the Division I Baseball Committee for the 2015-16 academic year.
Erdmann represents the South Region in the 10-member committee just completed his third year with the group. His role serving with the committee includes helping to select and seed the field for the NCAA Tournament as well as assisting in site administration.
“I am humbled and honored for the opportunity to serve as chair of the committee,” Erdmann was quoted as saying. “The committee is made up of highly capable professionals who understand the core of our duty is to provide the best championship field and experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans. I look forward to the upcoming year as we continue to move the baseball championship and the great game itself forward.”
As USA’s AD, Erdmann has been members of the baseball, softball, golf and tennis committees in the Sun Belt Conference. When he was AD at the University of North Alabama, Erdmann was a member of the NCAA Division II Football Committee during the 2006-07 academic year and also co-chaired the NCAA Division II Football Southeast Region Advisory Committee.
The 2015 season is right around the corner.
Tuesday night will officially mark the opening of the 2015 campaign when the Jaguars are scheduled to hit the field for the first time after making history their first-ever postseason bowl appearance.
The Jaguars will practice for two hours beginning at 6:30pm at the James A. and Frances H. Yance Football Practice Facility. The will follow that up with another practice session at the same time on Wednesday before shifting to a morning schedule.
Practices on Thursday, Friday and Saturday are all set for 7:15am and are scheduled for 2 1/2 hours.
After an off day on Sunday, the Jaguars will pick back up on Monday with their first of two-a-day’s with morning sessions beginning at 7:15 am and the second beginning at 4:30pm. Thursday will also be another two-a-day practice. Each two-a-day practice is scheduled to be 1 1/2 hours long.
The first full week of preseason camp will start at 7:15am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
The first preseason scrimmage is scheduled for Saturday, August 15 at 9am and the second scheduled for the following Saturday, August 22 with both occuring at off-campus facilities that are yet to be announced.
USA’s annual Fan Day will be held on Sunday, August 23 at the Mitchell Center from 4-6pm.
The Sun Belt Conference office released the 2015 preseason All-Sun Belt Conference teams on Monday in conjunction with Media Day. The South Alabama Jaguars had three first-team selections and four Jaguars overall were honored.
Chris May, Josesph Scelfo and Aleem Sunanon were all selected as first-team All-SBC student-athletes. Safety Roman Buchanan was voted second-team preseason All-SBC.
May, a 6’5″ 290-pound senior from Tuscumbia, Alabama, has earned his second all-conference honor. He was chosen first-team All-SBC in 2013 then was an honorable mention selection last year. Last season he graded out at 80 percent or higher on six occasions with a total of 33 knockdown blocks. He received a season-high grade of 85 in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl against Bowling Green.
In addition to being selected to the All-SBC team, Scelfo was recently added to the Rimington Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award Watch Lists. Scelfo is coming off of a season where he graded out at 80 percent or better on six occasions with 20 knockdown blocks. He earned the coaches’ offensive line award in 2014 after USA wins over Idaho and Troy, posting a season high 88 percent grade against the later as he helped the offense rush for 296 yards. The 6’1″, 295-pound junior center earned the highest grade on the team against SEC schools.
Sunanon, who is also on two watch lists himself, was 15-of-18 on field goal attempts last season while leading the team in scoring with 69 points. In 2013 he converted 18-of-23 attempts for a team-best 91 points and earn honorable mention All-SBC. Sunanon converted his last eight attempts of the season, including a school game-record-tying four at South Carolina. He ended the season tied for the league lead and 12th nationally with a 83.3 percent success rate. He was also third in the conference with a 1.15 field goals per game average.
Buchanan ended last season third on the defense with 74 total tackles and tied for second with seven passes defended. The 6’2″ 210-pound native of Enterprise, Alabama had a career-high nine stops on three seperate occasions last season including each of the last two games against Navy and Bowling Green at the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. That also included recording three tackles for loss, two of which came against the Midshipmen. His first nine-tackle game came against Georgia State where he also forced a fumble and broke up a pass.
USA was chosen to finish sixth in the conference in the conference preseaosn poll released on Friday. The Jaguars begin their 2015 campaign on Saturday, September 5 against Gardner-Webb. The game will kick off at 5pm CDT and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN3.