Preview of the rematch with Lamar

September 8, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jags take the field in Beaumont lead by the cheerleaders and Courtney Smith.

The trip to Beaumont, Texas last year was the first true road game by the Jaguars and they passed that test with flying colors. Yes, they had a road game in Dothan but it was nowhere near a real opponent. No disrespect meant towards Edward Waters, but they were outmatched on the field and the facilities were glorified high school facilities.

While the Jags won the game with a shutout 26-0, it was a hard fought game. The Jags first score was a fumble returned for a touchdown about four minutes into the game. After that, the Jags musted a field goal late in the first quarter by Lawson McGlon and missed one as time expired in the second quarter.

McGlon kicked a field goal with about 10 minutes left in the third quarter. Then Ellis Hill scored a one yard touchdown on a pass from Brennan Sim. McGlon added two more field goals in the fourth quarter to cap off the scoring.

Kendall Houston led the way on the ground with 166 yards on 21 carries for the Jags and averaging 7.9 yards per rush in his first start for the Jags. Houston was promoted to the starting position after Brandon Ross went down with a season ending knee injury. Courtney Smith lead the receivers with 59 yards on 7 receptions.

But Coach Jones expects Lamar will be much improved from year one to year two like the Jags were from year one to year two.

Last year the Jags outgained the Cardinals 376-160 in an extraordinary defensive showing by the South Alabama. However the Jags only converted one of 14 third down attempts. C.J. Bennett went 13-of-16 for 109 yards. They also won the time-of-possession 34:21 to 25:39 and the turn-overs 4-to-1.

“They played us really well last year,” Coach Jones said. “I thought we had a good day offensively, but we didn’t score much. We need to be able to punch the ball in the end zone more and our kids are fully aware of that.”

Defensively, South Alabama recovered four out of five fumbles, held Andre Bevil to 105 yards passing on 15-of-30 passing and a mere 56 yards rushing on 27 carries. They also held the Lamar offenseto 2-of-13 on third down conversions.

But Lamar had lost one of their defensive players to an injury. They have added some big transfers to the offensive line, a new quarterback as well as some guys on the inside of their defense. This will not be the same team that the Jaguars faced last season.

“They are a much-improved ball team,” Coach Jones continued. “They brought in some really good players on their offensive line and shored up some things. They’re trying to run the football more, you can tell they have really spent some time on their running game. They will be a much more balanced team offensively. And defensively they are more athletic, especially inside. They have some defensive tackles who are very good football players”

In their 58-0 win over Texas College, Lamar racked up over 200 yards rushing on 53 attempts. They totalled 320 total yards in the game. When they play in Ladd-Peebles, they will rely on their big offensive linement to open holes in the Jaguar defense for their running game. The Jaguar’s linebackers and safeties will need to play a good game to contain their offensive ground attack.

The Jags cannot afford another turnover laden game like they had against West Alabama.

The kickoff for the rematch against the Cardinals is set for 4pm on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

South Alabama shows guts and wins nail-biter at UC-Davis

October 24, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama Head Coach Joey Jones talks with Courtney Smith during a stoppage in play against Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

South Alabama’s game against UC-Davis really lived up to its billing. It had excitement, adversity, tough play, heart and a little luck. This recipe came out in favor of the Jaguars, 24-21. But most of all it answered some lingering questions that Coach Jones wanted answers to. The Jags were behind against Nicholls State early in the game, but pulled away in the second half. However, the Jags needed some fourth quarter heroics and a little luck to pull out the win in California.

The Jags had to overcome four turnovers, two interceptions thrown by Brennan Sim and two fumbles, one from Sim and another by Bennett late in the game and frankly nearly disastrous, for the win. However, the defense continued to step up and make plays when necessary. Anthony Taylor made two crucial sacks on the final Aggie drive to set up the attempted field goal to send the game into overtime.

Coach Jones wanted to see what his team could do if they were down in the fourth quarter. He wanted to see how his kids would respond having to play a full four quarters of football. Well, he got his answer alright.

“We came through at the end, the defense did a great job,” said head Coach Joey Jones. “We fumbled the ball on the 30, but we sacked them and made them kick a field goal that was fortunately wide right.”

“I have to tell you, UC-Davis is a great, first-class football team,” Jones continued. “We came out to California and beat an extremely good football team tonight. They have great players and are very well-coached team. We had so many setbacks during the game, whether it was penalties or turnovers, but never had the feeling we were out of the game. Our kids kept playing hard. It’s just a great statement for our program. People have been asking me all year long, and I know where we are now; we beat a great I-AA program that won its conference last year, is probably going to win it this year, and beat San Jose State this season. We’re up there. Are we Division I-A yet? No, but we’re probably close.”

The Jags will return to Ladd-Peebles stadium to round out their season with three consecutive home games. The first of which will have Georgia State, in their first season of football, coming to Mobile coached by former University of Alabama head coach Bill Curry on Saturday, October 30th. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00pm.

Continue for a more detailed breakdown of the game.
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USA Makes Statement Against Lamar

October 19, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jaguar offensive line lines up against the Lamar defense. They helped Kendall Houston rush for 166 yards, the new single game record for Jaguar running backs, and did not allow a sack in the game.

South Alabama went on the road to Beaumont, Texas to begin their season-defining three game stretch and came home with a big win and a huge statement, 26-0. The Lamar Cardinals had averaged just over 341 yards per game but were held to a season low of 161 yards of total offense as the Jaguar defense came out ready for a big fight.

The Jags were quite conservative with their play calling in the game. After losing your first string running back to a season ending ACL tear, it was good play calling on Coach Gregory and Coach Jones’ part. While the scoreboard did not show what the Jaguar faithful were used to, it was definitely a resounding win.

The defense would score the only touchdown in the first half and the offense would only score one touchdown in the game. The rest of the scoring rested on the foot of Lawson McGlon who was officially 4-for-5 in the game but did make a kick that was nullified by a penalty. So a position that, at the beginning of the season, looked like it could lose a close game turned out to be the one that put the game out of reach.

“We sputtered somewhat on offense when we got the ball into the red zone, but we moved the ball well between the 30s,” said Coach Joey Jones after the game. “We had to settle for four field goals, but when you’re on the road sometimes that happens. I’m really proud of Kendall and the way he came in for Brandon after we lost him last week. He really stepped up and ran like a Division I running back tonight.”

“We know that UC Davis is a very good team. They’ve beaten San Jose State and won their conference last year,” Coach Jones stated on their upcoming opponent. “They’re a very sound team, we are going to have to go out to California and see what we’ve got. But, our kids are real excited about that. We’re trying to take this thing with baby steps, and we’ve taken some big steps already. It’s a great win, but where we stand I don’t know. At the end of the year I think we’ll be able to look back and see where we are as a team. All I know is that we came on the road, and were on the bus for six hours. The kids did a great job being focused, and we played a great ballgame. It’s a big win for our program.”

“You have to play great defense on the road, and we did that tonight,” Coach Jones commented. “I’m real proud of the staff and players. They played lights out tonight. They knew this was their first big challenge, and answered that call.”

The Jaguars did not come out of the game unscathed. Unfortunately Chris Brunson suffered a broken ankle in the first half of the game against Lamar and will be out for the remainder of the season. Brunson was also a backup to Trey Clark, the center, who suffered a sprained ankle but should be okay. Coach Jones will probably try Brian Krauskopf in practice until Clark’s ankle is better and to give him experience in case he is needed in a game situation.

The Jags travel to Davis, California to face the Aggies of UC-Davis in a 4pm (Central, 2pm Pacific) game against their second of three consecutive FCS teams and their second in a row on the road. For a more detailed breakdown of the game, continue below.

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Injury Updates

October 12, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Quarterback Brennan Sim receives the Offensive player of the game away after the Jags defeat Edward Waters College in the Wiregrass Football Classic in Dothan, Alabama.

South Alabama quarterback, Ray Cotton, had successful surgery on his throwing shoulder Coach Joey Jones announced. Cotton, a transfer from Ole Miss, who has reported had a torn Labrum since high school.

The labrum is a cuff of cartilage that helps to compensate for the shallow shoulder socket. It circles the shallow shoulder socket to make the socket deeper and makes the joint much more stable and allows for a very wide range of movements. It is thick tissue that is susceptible to injury with trauma to the shoulder joint like one could suffer playing football.

Coach Jones said that it was obvious that it was causing problems. Some of the tell-tale signs was that Cotton was throwing low to receivers and his throwing motion was off such that he was not bringing his elbow up to shoulder level. Also there was some pain when he threw the ball.

According to Coach Jones, Cotton should be ready in four months, just in time for spring practice.

When asked about Brandon Ross’ recovery, he said that if they allow the swelling and inflamation to go down before performing surgery, he should be able to recover in about six months. So he would probably miss spring practice, but he would be able to work out over the summer and be ready by fall camp.

Coach Jones also mentioned that Brennan Sim was a little dinged up in the Missouri game but has checked out okay with the medical staff. He actually practiced this morning with the team and will be ready to play on Saturday. However, Coach Jones did say that they will have to get the point across to the Jaguar quarterbacks that they need to slide more and take less hits.

Another Big Jaguar Win 45-6 Over Missouri S&T

October 10, 2010 · Filed Under Football · 1 Comment 

Brandon Ross scores a touchdown early in the Jags game against Missouri S&T.

The Jags stay undefeated when another big win at home against Missouri S&T, 45-6. They improve to 5-0 on the season and 12-0 overall in the programs history.

Jordan Means opened up the scoring with a career-long 36 yard field goal on the Jags opening drive, just two and a half minutes into the game. The drive covered 41 yards in six plays but stalled and had to settle for the field goal.

Brennan Sim, the starting quarterback, took the first four snaps, including completing a pass to Courtney Smith for 29 yards. However, on a scramble the lowered his head for a few extra yards but was hit hard and had to leave the game. Myles Gibbon came in on third down but his pass to Courtney Smith was incomplete forcing the field goal attempt.

The Jags held the Miners and forced a punt. On the subsequent South Alabama possession, Sim returned to the field. Sim then completed his first pass attempt to T.J. Glover for 14 yards. Then two snaps later Sim was sacked and fumbled the ball which Missouri S&T recovered at the USA 26 yard line.

On the first play, Missouri S&T ran for one yard but offsetting penalties, holding on MS&T and a horse-collar tackle on USA, nullified the play. Missouri rushed twice for two yards on the first and no gain on the second. Then facing third and eight at the USA 24 a pass reception by Chad Shockley from Steve Watson for 13 yards got the Miners down to the Jaguar 11 yard line. The following play was an 11 yard touchdown reception again by Chad Shockley. However the extra point attempt was blocked, leaving the Miners with a 6-3 lead with 5:15 left in the first quarter.

C.J. Bennett was under center for the next South Alabama possession. The opening play was a run by Ralph Turner for eight yards to the USA 41 yard line, but a holding penalty put the Jags back at the 31 yard line. On first and 12, Bennett’s pass attempt to Lemontis Gardner was incomplete, but the very next play Bennett hit Corey Waldon for a 42 yard gain to the Miners 27 yard line. Brandon Ross followed it up with two rushes, one for 13 and another for 14 to score the answering touchdown. With the Jordan Means extra point the Jags regained the lead 10-6 with 3:10 left in the first quarter.

On the subsequent MS&T possession, after an incomplete pass and a two yard rush, Enrique Williams sacked the quarterback Watson for 14 yards causing a fumble. Randon Carnathan picked up the fumble and returned it eight yards for the touchdown. Means point after was good extending the Jags lead to 17-6 with 1:50 left in the first quarter.

Missouri S&T’s next possession went 25 yards in nine plays covering 6:10 before being forced to punt, which was downed at the Jaguar five yard line.

C.J. Bennett handed off to T.J. Glover for three yards. Then Kendall Houston ran for another ten yards to give the Jags some breathing room. Bennett tried to connect with Ryne Baxter but the ball fell incomplete. Then the following play he hooked up with Corey Waldon for 16 yards. Another incomplete pass before another Kendall Houston rush for 25 yards put the Jags at the Miners 41 yard line.

Following a time out by South Alabama, a rush by Bryant Lavender for 38 yards to the three yard line. Houston then plunged in for the touchdown. The Means PAT made the score 24-6 with 7:28 left in the second quarter.

The Jaguars defense held the Miners to -4 yards in a three and out on their next possession. The punt went 39 yards but Jereme Jones got most of it back on a 20 yard return to the Missouri 39 yard line.

It only took the Jags three plays to score. A six yard run by C.J. Bennett to the 33 yard line. Brandon Ross then rushed for 22 yards to the 11 yard line. However, Ross would need to be helped off the field with an apparent knee injury. Kendall Houston would cap off the drive with an 11 yard rush for the touchdown. With the Means PAT, the Jaguar lead extended to 31-6 with 4:10 left in the second quarter.

Again the Jaguar defense shut down the Miner offense with another three and out punt. The Jaguars started at their own 40 yard line. Bennett’s two passing attempts went incomplete. Then on third and ten Bennett was sacked and fumbled which was recovered by Missouri S&T at the Jaguar 31 yard line.

The first Missouri play was a 15 yard completion to the Jaguar 16 yard line. Following an incomplete pass, Watson completed a pass for a loss of one yard. Then on third and 11, an incomplete pass brought up fourth down. Missouri S&T then faked a field goal but only managed to gain three yards before Justin Dunn made the tackle.

The Jags ran out the final 54 seconds of the first half with two rushes by Ellis Hill for seven and eight yards respectively.

Missouri received the kickoff to begin the second half and started at their own 12 yard line. The Jags defense started the half with big to force a three and out. The Miners punt went 43 yards but Jereme Jones returned it 24 yards to the Miners 34 yard line, but a face mask penalty on Missori put the ball at the Miner 19 yard line.

Gibbon connected with Courtney Smith for 14 yards to the five yard line. Santuan McGee came up a yard short, only gaining four of the needed five yards. But Gibbon would plunge in for the score on the next play. The extra point put the Jaguar lead at 38-6 with 12:28 left in the third quarter.

On a drive that ended the third quarter and began the fourth quarter, the Jags had another scoring opportunity. The Jags drove 54 yards in eight play and getting down to the Miner four yard line before facing a fourth and three at the six yard line. Lawson McGlon attempted a 23 yard field goal but his plant foot slipped causing him to fall but the kick went wide left.

Later in the fourth quarter, Missouri started at their own 12 yard line. After a time out before the Miners third and two, they come up short on a rush and only gained one yard. Then, after a bad snap, the punter picked up the ball and tried to run for the first down but ended up losing five yards.

Santuan McGee would run four consecutive times for three, three, three and seven yards respectively before scoring the final touchdown of the game.

South Alabama gained 202 yards on 33 rushes and 167 yards passing for a total 369 yards. The Jaguar defense only allowed 71 yards on 41 rushes and 83 yards passing for at total of 154 yards.

South Alabama had several players run the ball. Brandon Ross rushed 6 times for 55 yards before leaving with a knee injury. Kendall Houston ran 4 times for 49 yards, Bryant Lavender ran once for 38 yards, Ellis Hill seven times for 29 yards and Santuan McGee six times for 21 yards. While several others also ran the ball for single digit yards.

Six Jags caught passes. Courtney Smith caught three for 73 yards, Corey Waldon caught two for 58 yards, T.J. Glover caught one for 14 yards and Richard Ross caught one for 11. Two others had one reception each.

C.J. Bennett went 5-for-10 for 107 yards. Gibbon was 2-for-4 for 17 yards and Brennan Sim was 2-for-2 for 43 yards.

Enrique Williams finished with a career high eight tackles and a forced fumble. Ben Giles added seven tackled while Justin Dunn added six himself with each of them with two tackles for loss. Tim Harvey and Jake Johnson had five tackles each and Ken Barefield and Alex Page each had four tackles. The defense held the Miners to an average of less than two yards per rush.

Coach Jones commented on the Jaguars performance after the game. “I thought the defense played very well. Obviously, early they made a drive, but as always our coaches on the sideline made adjustments and our kids adjusted to what they were doing. From that point on, they did a really good job. I was real proud of them today.”

Coach Jones commented on Brennan Sim returning to the sidelines after halftime without his shoulderpads. “Brennan got dinged a little bit, and we had to get him out. C.J. came in and played well. It seems like each game that there is a quarterback who steps into the mix and plays well. It’s more of a feel thing that we go with each game. I thought C.J. had a great game today.”

The Jags will go on the road for their next two games. The first is in Beaumont, Texas against Lamar for a 6pm kickoff. However reports are that Brandon Ross will have an MRI on his knee on Monday so the Jags appear to be without their number one running back going into their two game road swing.

Coach Jones commented about the players and the upcoming road games. “They know these upcoming weeks are going to be tough; we have to travel to Texas and California, and come back here and play Georgia State after that. As competitors we’re looking forward to that. They’re excited about getting on the road, going on a six-hour bus trip and playing a very good Lamar football team.”

October is shaping up to be a huge month for South Alabama football with games against Lamar, UC-Davis and Georgia State. The first two being road games. We will soon see much this team has grown and how far they are on their roadmap to Division I-A play.

Go Jags!

Another Big Win For The Jags, 52-3 Over Kentucky Wesleyan

October 5, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama’s Paul Bennett dives for the end zone in the Jaguars win against Kentucky Wesleyan.

South Alabama scores a 52-3 win over Kentucky Wesleyan at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The Jags defense forced five turnovers which tied a school record in the game.

The Jags got started quick in the game. After taking the opening kick off out to their own 36 yard line, Brandon Ross took the first hand off from starting quarterback Brennan Sim, 62 yards down to the Panthers two yard line. After a one yard gain up the middle by Ross, Kendall Houston plunged in for the touchdown after only one minute of play.

The first possession by the Panthers started at their own six yard line after a fumbling the kickoff. Two offensive plays netted seven yards for the Pathers before an illegal procedure penalty took them from third and short to third and long inside their own 10 yard line. A screen pass lost five yards and forced the Panthers to punt out of their own end zone.

The punt went out of bounds at the KWC 38 yard line, but a holding penalty on the Jags put them at the 48. The first two pass attempts by Sim went incomplete before he found Kevin Helms for six yards forcing the Jags to punt. A 41 yard punt by Scott Garber was downed at the Panther five yard line.

Kentucky Wesleyan got their first, first down of the game after a six yard rush and a five yard pass completion, however two plays later Jake Johnson would pick off a pass and set the Jags up at the Panther 14 yard line.

Kendall Houston, after being stopped for no gain on his first rush of the possession, he would break loose and score from 14 yards out to put the Jags up 14-0 with 8:19 left in the first quarter.

KWC, starting at their own 20 yard line, got their second first down of the game after a one yard rush, and eight yard completion and another one yard rush. But then they went into backwards gear. Two incomplete passes on first and second down forced KWC to call a timeout, but immediately following the time out they get flagged for a false start and moved back to the 25 yard line. Then Logan Bennett sacked the quarterback to put them back where they started at the 20 yard line.

The Panther punt went out of bounds at the Jaguar 31 yard line, but a group of penalties occurred. Offsetting personal fouls for both schools but also a 12 yard penalty on the Jags for holding put the ball at their own 19 yard line.

Myles Gibbon saw his first in-game action since his knee injury. His first play back was a 41 yard completion to Courtney Smith. This was followed up with a 15 yard rush by Brandon Ross to quickly move the ball to the Panther 25 yard line. Gibbon’s next pass was complete again to Courtney Smith for 11 more yards, however this play would be wiped away because of an illegal chop block. The penalty moved the ball back to the 40 yard line. An incomplete pass to Brandon Ross forced a fourth down punt by Garber that went into the endzone for a touchback.

Two short Panther completions began their next possession before their largest gain thus far in the game. An 18 yard pass completion and run got the Panthers out to the 43 yard line. Then a 15 yard facemask penalty on the Jags would put the Panther into Jaguar territory for the first time in the game. After a couple more plays, the Jags force the Panthers to punt.

The Jaguar returner let the ball go and had it downed at the four yard line. Gibbon, playing his second series of the game, would find Lamontis Gardner for 33 yards out to the Jagaur 37 yard line. An incomplete pass and a short run by Houston would bring up their and long at their own 39 yard line. But South Alabama would convert when Gibbon found Corey Waldon for 46 yards down to the Panther 15 yard line. T.J. Glover would lose four yards on a rush but Gibbon would find Paul Bennett for a 19 yard touchdown pass to put the Jags up 21-0 with 10:54 left in the second quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, Sammy Bland would return the kickoff 18 yards but would fumble the ball back to South Alabama. C.J. Bennett would come in for the Jaguars on this possession. he started out with three pass attempts. The first was complete for five yards to Corey Besteda, the second was incomplete then the third was complete to Besteda again for another four yards. After a Jaguar time out, C.J. Bennett would find Courtney Smith for a 19 yard touchdown on fourth and one. The Jags then lead 28-0 with 9:36 left in the second quarter.

KWC would go three and out on their next possession and a terrible punt would put the Jaguar offense at their own 49 yard line. Brennan Sim would return to the game for the Jags and would complete his first pass attempt to Bryant Lavender for 49 yards down to the Panther two yard line. Santuan McGee would cap off the two play drive with a two yard touchdown putting the Jags up 35-0 with 7:54 left in the second quarter.

On the Pathers first play, they were flagged for a holding penalty putting them back at their own 10 yard line. The next play was a personal foul penalty on South Alabama to give the Panthers a first down at the 25 yard line. Then KWC would complete a 37 yard pass to get down to the South Alabama 38 yard line. An incomplete pass and a six yard rush later and the Panthers are facing a third down and four at the Jaguar 32 yard line. Then defensive back Michael Wilson would pick off a Panther pass and return it 75 yards for another Jaguar touchdown. The Jags lead was then 42-0 with 5:11 left in the first half.

The kickoff went into the end zone for a touchback, but a five yard penalty was added on at the end because South Alabama was offsides on the kickoff. But no matter as the Jags force and recover a fumble by the Panthers. But the Jags were set back by 15 yards on a personal foul penalty.

C.J. Bennett would return to the game but would fumbled himself on the first play, putting the Jags in a second down and 18 yard situation which was complicated by a false start penalty. Then on second down and 22, Bennett would complete a four yard pass to Ralph Turner, but a flag on South Alabama for an illegal formation would be declined. On third down Bennett’s pass was incomplete forcing a Jaguar punt.

Kentucky Wesleyan would have their best drive and only points of the game on their last possession of the first half. Two big pass plays, one for 49 and the other for 23 would put them at the South Alabama 11 yard line. Three consecutive incomplete passes would lead to a Panther field goal. The score was 42-3 at halftime.

The second half started with a three and out by the Panthers. C.J. Bennett would lead the Jags on a six play 64 yard drive for a touchdown. The drive was highlighted by a 31 yard pass completion to Courtney Smith and topped off with a pass to Lemontis Gardner for a 25 yard touchdown. The Jags then lead 49-3 with 9:47 left in the third quarter.

The Panthers next possession spanned 6:16 in six plays but only went 11 yards before they punted. The possession had penalties on KWC for holding and the Jaguars for holding twice and an illegal block.

The Jags next series was six plays for 19 yards before the Jags punted. The Panthers returner fumbled the punt and was recovered by the Jags at the Panther 14 yard line. The Jags would then drive down to the one yard line, but on fourth down, Coach Jones send in Jordan Means for the easy field goal to wrap up scoring at 52-3.

For the game, South Alabama had seven running backs touch the ball. Brandon Ross had three carries for 78 yards, Houston had five carries for 17 yards and two touchdowns, and Ellis Hill had six carries for 15 yards.

Nine receivers caught passes in the game. Courtney Smith lead them with three receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown. Lemontis Gardner had two receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown, Ralph Turner had two for 17 and Corey Besteda had two for nine yards. Other receivers with only one reception each were Bryant Lavender for 49 yards, Corey Waldon for 46 yards, Paul Bennett for 19 and a touchdown, Kevin Helms for six yards and Jeremy Roberts for four yards.

The Quarterbacks went for a collective 14-of-24 for 299 yards and three touchdowns. Myles Gibbon was 4-of-7 for 139 yards and a touchdown, C.J. Bennett was 8-of-13 for 105 yards and two touchdowns while Brennan Sim went 2-of-4 for 55 yards.

USA had 14 first downs compared to 11 for Kentucky Wesleyan. Jags had 299 yards passing, 114 yards rushing for 413 yards of total offense. While the Panthers had only 19 yards rushing and 209 yards passing for 228 yards total.

Coach Jones commented after the game, “I thought we came out offensively and played well. They stacked the box on us and made us throw the ball; we have to get in the mode of throwing the ball down field when the opponent does that, which I think we were able to today.”

Coach Jones continued, “We can’t get complacent where we are. It’s up to our players, staff and everybody involved not to get complacent at any time. We know the task at hand. We have to get better next week.

The most obvious improvement has been special teams. Jags kickers did not boot a single kickoff out of bounds in this game. Kick coverage was much improved but still needs work with big games against Lamar, UC-Davis and Georgia State looming on the horizon.

South Alabama hosts Missouri S&T on Saturday, October 9 with kickoff scheduled for 4pm. The Jags will then depart the friendly confines of Ladd-Peebles Stadium for two road games against formidable opponents. The first is Lamar in Texas and UC-Davis in California.

Jags Win Big At The 2nd Annual Wiregrass Classic

September 26, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama Football coach Joey Jones oversees his team warming up at Rip Hewes Stadium for the Wiregrass Classic.

It was evident, even before kickoff at the Wiregrass Classic in Dothan, that South Alabama outmatched Edward Waters. Not to belittle the Tigers, but these two teams could not have been any more different. Edward Waters is a private, traditionally black NAIA college with an enrollment of 839 students. While South Alabama is a public school with an enrollment of over 15,000 students.

But Edward Waters has a rich and interesting history. It was founded and initially named “Brown Theological Institute” in 1866 specifically to educate newly freed black slaves. Then the school experienced financial difficulties and was forced to close for nearly a decade. In 1883 it reopened as “East Florida Conference High School” then later it was renamed “East Florida Scientific and Divinity School”.

Within ten years, the educational program was extended and it’s name was changed to Edward Waters College. In 1901 it was destroyed by a fire. Then in 1904 they acquired the site that it currently resides and began to rebuild.

It was first accredited as a junior college in 1955 and by 1960 the college had restored its four-year cirriculum. Then in 1979, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredited the school as a four-year institution.

Of the 839 enrolled, over 90% of them rely on financial aid and the school has been growing. It was highlighted in among “The Best of Florida Schools in 2004” for the “Biggest Growth for Private Colleges.”

In 2001, the school returned to football after a 34 year absence. In 2004 they joined the newly formed South East Atlantic Conference (SEAC) with two other schools, Webber International University and Concordia College. After Concordia was unable to gain membership into the NAIA, the conference dissolved at the conclusion of the 2008 season. EWC won the conference title in 2004, then shared by EWC and Concordia in 2007 and finally a three way share between all of the schools in 2008.

Edward Waters is currently in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference with Dillard University, Fisk University, Southern University at New Orleans, Tougaloo College and Xavier University of Louisiana.

So the differences between South Alabama and EWC are striking.

As for the game, there was no question who was going to win from the outset of the game at Rip Hewes Stadium. Within the first two minutes the Jags had forced a three and out, returned the punt to the EWC 35 yard line and ran two plays to score a touchdown. A 16 yard rush followed by a 19 yard touchdown pass from Brennan Sim to Courtney Smith. The point after attempt was mishandled by Taylor Noon who picked it up and scrambed to the corner of the end zone for two points to put the Jags up 8-0 with 13:03 left in the first quarter.

The Jags second offensive series was stopped and was forced to punt. But on Edward Waters’ first offensive play, the pass was intercepted by the defense setting up another short field. Brandon Ross would go in from four yards for the second touchdown, capping off a four play 41 yard drive in 1:12. The PAT by Jordan Means put the Jags up 15-0 with 7:53 left in the first quarter.

The next EWC possession ended in a three and out. The punt was returned to the EWC 35 yard line to set up the Jags with a short field once again. This time it took the Jags six plays to cover 35 yards. The drive was capped off by a three yard touchdown pass from Brennan Sim to Lemontis Gardner and the PAT by Jordan Means. This put the Jags up 22-0 with 3:03 left in the first quarter.

On the Tigers ensuing possession, the second play from scrimmage was picked off by senior Justin Dunn and returned 41 yards for a touchdown. The PAT was successful by Jordan Means to put the Jags up 29-0 with 2:09 left in the first quarter.

The Tigers were picked off again on their ensuing possession. The Jags would cover 62 yards in six plays and using 1:52 off of the clock to score another touchdown. The drive was capped off by Brennan Sim’s third touchdown pass of the game, this one covering 10 yards to Bryant Lavender. Jordan Means added the point after to put the Jags up 36-0 with 14:11 to play in the second quarter.

A three and out by the Tigers was followed by a three and out by the Jags as well. Then after EWC moved the ball some, their drive ended with their fourth interception. With Ray Cotton taking over the quarterbacking duties, the Jags went 58 yards in six plays using 3:31 off of the clock to score for the last time in the first half. The drive was capped off by a 20 yard touchdown run by Cotton with the point after by Lawson McGlon to put South Alabama up 43-0 at halftime.

Coach Jones and his coaches took the pedal off somewhat, in the second half. The Jags did score three more touchdown, a 15 yard run by Ryan Scott, and a pair by Michael Nevels of 12 and 11 yards respectively. All three point after attempts were successfully made by Lawson McGlon.

The Jags ended the game with 30 first downs, 391 yards rushing and 112 yard passing for a total of 503 yards total offense. The Tigers had 5 first downs, 97 yards rushing, 47 yards passing for a total of 144 yards of offense.

South Alabama rushed eight different running backs. Kendall Houston had four carries with 48 yards, Santuan McGee had three touches for 46 yards, Ellis Hill eight carries for 46 yards, T.J. Glover had four carries for 41 yards, Ryan Scott had seven carries for 44 yards, Michael Nevels had six carries for 35 yards, Johnny Lockett had six carries for 33 yards and Brandon Ross had only three carries for 16 yards. The leading rusher for the team was Ray Cotton with seven carries and gaining 78 yards.

Three quarterbacks made it into the game. Brennan Sim started in place of Myles Gibbon and went 6 of 11 for 85 yards and three touchdowns. Ray Cotton went 1 for 3 for 16 yards while Gabe Graham went 1 of 2 for 11 yards.

Eight different Jaguar receivers caught passes but none of them caught more than one. Jereme Jones lead the receivers with 21 yards.

The Edward Waters quarterbacks combined to go 2 of 15 with four interceptions against the South Alabama defense.

The kickoff woes continued against the Tigers. Jordan Means kicked four times with two of them going out of bounds. Michel Chapuseaux also kicked four but only one of his went out of bounds. Lawson McGlon kicked twice with none of them going out of bounds.

Umcambre Williams lead the defense with five tackles. Jake Johnson recorded the lone solo sack.

The defensive player of the game came from Edward Waters while the offensive player of the game was Brennan Sim.

Coach Jones spoke after the game saying, “I think they performed very well. The bottom line is we had better players than they did. They really had a class bunch. I thought it was a well-played game.”

He continued, “We got a lot of guys in the game. Our coaches had a plan of who they were going to play if we got up so we could get some good out of this game, and I think we did. Our ones went out there and played well. The two lines stayed in there a good amount of time. They haven’t had a lot of reps, so it was good to get them in the game. We have to have some depth for the end of the year, and we keep trying to develop that. That was the great thing about today, we were able to reward those guys who have been working their tails off all summer long. They deserve it. There’s not many chances when you can do that, and we were glad to be able to get them in.”

The Jags return home to face Kentucky Wesleyan on Saturday, October 2 with kickoff scheduled for 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

C.J. Bennett Suspended For Wiregrass Classic

September 24, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

It was announced today by head football coach Joey Jones that freshman C.J. Bennett has been suspended for the team game tomorrow. Coach Jones announced that Bennett violated team rules and thus will not play.

Coming into the season, Bennett was listed as the Jaguars second string quarterback behind starter Myles Gibbon. However, Gibbon left last weeks game against Nicholls State with a non-serious knee injury and most likely will not play against Edward Waters in the Wiregrass Classic. Brennan Sim played the majority of the game after Gibbon left the game and will most likely start tomorrow.

South Alabama Downs Nicholls State 39-21

September 19, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Head coach Joey Jones paces the sideline vs Nicholls State on Saturday.

The Jags saw many firsts on Saturday. Their first Division I-AA (FCS) opponent and their first deficit were cheif among them. However, the one first that Coach Jones and the Jaguar faithful were most proud and grateful to see what the teams reaction was going to be to those two firsts. I will definitely be among the first to say, I was pleased.

Last seasons finale saw the closest any team had come to leading the Jaguars and they fell about two or three yards short. The Jags then responded to them with a 98 yard drive to open up the scoring against Huntingdon. On Saturday, Coach Charlie Stubbs and the Nicholls State Colonels succeded in being the first team to lead the Jags.

The Jags received the ball to begin the game, but only gained 19 yards in four plays before being forced to punt. Nicholls State started their possession on their own 21 yard line. After getting down to the Jaguar 33 yard line, Nicholls State faced a fourth and one situation. The Colonels would score on a 33 yard run by Jesse Turner on that fourth down play, to put the Jags in their first deficit of the football programs’ short history. The drive covered 79 yard over five plays and 2:26 off of the game clock.

T.J. Glover received the ensuing kickoff, returning it for 69 yards before a touchdown saving horsecollar tackle by the Colonels. After enforcing the half-the-distance penalty, the Jaguars were in buisness at the Nicholls 11 yard line. The second play from scrimmage saw T.J. Glover go in for South Alabama’s answering score, tieing the game at 7.

On the next drive by Nicholls, the Jaguar defense only allowed four yards and forced them to punt. However the Jags next offensive series would yeild more yards, but would end with a punt that would pin the Colonels deep in their own territory.

Nicholls, starting at their own ten, would throw and incomplete pass and be assessed a penalty putting them just inside their own five yard line. But Nicholls quarterback LaQuintin Caston would find Turner in the flat and he would outrun the chasing Ken Barefield for a 95 yard touchdown to give Nicholls the lead again at 14-7 with 2:23 left in the first quarter.

South Alabama would answer right back. After a touchback on the kickoff, the Jags would start at their own 20 yard line but would cover the 80 yards in just six plays. Myles Gibbon would rush for 16 yards for a firs down. Then on the next play, he was tackled and was forced to leave the game with an injury to his right knee. Gibbon would not return to the game after that point. Brennan Sim would step in for Myles and would run for nine more yards before the first quarter ended. On the first play of the second quarter, Sim would connect with Richard Ross on a 47 yard completion down the missle of the field for the touchdown. This would begin South Alabama’s 20-0 run.

Nicholls would get take possession of the ball after the kickoff by Michel Chapuseaux went out of bounds and was placed on the Nicholls 40 yard line. Five plays and 24 yards later the Jags defense would face two big defensive plays. On third and one at the Jaguar 36, Justin Dunn and Alex Page would combine to stop Caston for no gain. Then on fourth and one, Jonathan Cameron and Anthony Taylor would stop Jesse Taylor for no gain. So the defense would hold and take possession of the ball on downs.

The Jaguar offense would then gash the Colonel defense for big gains on their possession starting with a screen pass from Sim to Brandon Ross for 30 yards. Then a 24 yard run by Kendall Houston would set up Santuan McGee for the eight yard, go ahead score. The Jordan Means extra point attempt was blocked, leaving the Jags with a 20-14 lead with 11:11 left until halftime.

Nicholls would take the kickoff and begin their possession at their own 19 yard line. But after beginning to move the ball again, their drive would end with a Jaguar fumble recovery at midfield.

South Alabama would take the short field and score again on a Kendall Houston 5 yard touchdown run to cap off a 20 point second quarter and take a 27-14 lead into halftime.

Nicholls would get the ball, and good field position, to start the second half. With another kickoff sailing out of bounds, Nicholls would start at their own 40 yard line. The Colonels would drive down to the Jaguar 12 yard line but would turn the ball over on downs. The Jags would begin there and drive 75 yards in eight plays but would fumble the ball away at the Nicholls 13 yard line.

Nicholls would run four plays before Caston found Andrew Wynn down the middle of the field for a 62 yard touchdown to cut their deficit down to six points, 27-21.

South Alabama and Nicholls next offensive possessions would be three and outs. South Alabama would then get in gear once more and put together a five play 67 yard drive which would be capped off with another Kendall Houston touchdown run, this time for 20 yards putting the Jags up 34-21. This would be the beginning of a 12 point fourth quarter to end the game.

The Jaguar defense would then begin to pour it on. On the first play by Nicholls after the Jaguar touchdown, Tim Harvey would pick off a Caston pass at the South Alabama 40 yard line. The Jaguar offense would go three and out, but the punt would pin the Colonels at their own nine yard line. A sack on third down would put the ball on the three yard line for the punt. Erling Riis would come around the left side to block the punt, which would go out of the back of the end zone for a safety, putting the Jags up 36-21 with 11:04 left in the game.

South Alabama would field the free kick and start at their own 39 yard line. Brennan Sim would lead the offense on an 11 play 50 yard drive, burning 6:52 off of the play clock. Jordan Means would then cap off the game with a 28 yard field goal for the final score of 39-21.

Coach Jones commented after the victory, “I thought it was a great win for our football program, they gave the other two teams they have played fits in the first half. “We needed to have a game like that where we’re challenged.”

He continued, “It speaks to the character of our kids and our coaching staff with the way they coach them. We try to work on that in practice where they don’t feel pressure in games. I thought that was a great way to respond. Had we not responded like that and they scored another touchdown, then the ball starts to roll their way. This is our second year and ninth football game, and we beat a [Division] I-AA program that has been around for a long time. They are very well-coached and have great athletes. I don’t know what that means for the future, but my hat’s off to our players and coaching staff for the job they have done in that short amount of time.”

Coach Stubbs said, “I thought it was about who handled adversity best. When we were prospering, we couldn’t keep the momentum and while they were able to make plays, they capitalized on the momentum. I believe that was the difference in the game.”

USA has 21 first downs while Nicholls had 10 for the game. The Jaguar defense only allowed 99 yards on the ground, but gave up 319 through the air for a total of 418 with an average of 24.5 per completion.

South Alabama had a total of 490 yard of offense on 64 plays for an average of almost 7.6 yards per play. The Jaguar offensive attack was quite balanced with over 200 yards each in the air and on the ground.

Kendall Houston rushed 12 times for 116 yards while Brandon Ross added 115 on 19 carries. Richard Ross, 4 catches and 80 yards, was the only receiver with multiple catches and the only TD reception. Corey Besteda added 37 yards, Brandon Ross 30, Courtney Smith 20 and five others had receptions as well.

Myles Gibbon left early with an injury to his knee, but went 1-of-3 for 20 yards. C.J. Bennett lead one drive in the first quarter, also going 1-of-3 for 3 yards. Brennan Sim who got the most action went 10-of-12 for 185 yards and the only touchdown, but also the only sack.

Scott Garber punted six times, averaging just under 43 yards per kick with a long of 53 yards. With half of his punts being downed inside the opponents 20 yard line.

T.J. Glover returned three kickoffs for 116 yards, averaging over 38.5 for the game.

This is definitely a good test for the young Jaguar team. The learned that they were able to trade punches with a good opponent without blinking. They kept doing what they do best and won the game in an impressive fashion. No, not by 40 or more points, but by three scores against a team with an equal number of scholarships.

While Nicholls State would hardly be considered a top tier FCS team, they did pose a significant increase in competition from what the Jags have faced. It was enough of a challenged to show the coaches and players what they need to work on.

The secondary faced a big challenge and gave up lots of yards. But this was to be expected from a Charlie Stubbs coached team. The secondary stepped up several times and did well, but they also gave up several big plays. The secondary is also the thinnest area of this team, so being overly critical right now is not necessary. First step is consistency though.

Jordan Means took over the place kicking duties this week and did well. One point after was blocked, but none were outright misses. Plus he did make his only field goal attempt. However, Means’ kickoff’s are shorter than Chapuseaux. Chapuseaux kicked deep on kickoff’s but he did give them excellent field position twice with two kicks out of bounds.

The offensive line looked really good after the first series even though Brian Krauskopf was injured and did not play for most of the game. Melvin Meggs stepped in nicely and did a great job.

The Jags go on the road for their first away game when they travel to Dothan, Alabama for the Wiregrass Football Classic. They face Edward Waters from Jacksonville, Florida with kickoff at 3pm and the Jaguar Prowl being scheduled for about 1:30pm.

Jags Taking The Rest Of The Week Easy; Quarterbacks Set Themselves Apart

August 25, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Brennan Sim looking to throw under the watchful eye of Coach Jones during the first scrimmage.

The Jags final scrimmage of the preseason will be on Friday instead of Saturday. Saturday will be reserved for the fans to meet the players and coaches as well as an opportunity to pick up a copy of Tommy Hicks’ book, “Kickoff: The Story of the University of South Alabama’s Inaugural Football Season”.

Tuesday was the Jags final full contact practice before Saturday’s scrimmage. This will give the players a few days to mend their many bumps and bruises over the last couple of weeks.

The rest of the week will see team go out and work in limited to no contact drills.

Meanwhile back on the practice field, the quarterback position is starting to clear up just a little. Gibbon and Bennett have set themselves apart from Sim and Cotton. Sim looked like he was poised to be the starter coming out of spring drills, but as many know, things can and do change.

Gibbon put on about 20 pounds from last season but still runs a 4.56 40 if I was told correctly. But the different in Myles from last season to this season is quite a lot. His deep passing is still great, he still has decent speed but his drop back passing game still needs some work.

Sim also put on some weight, about 15 pounds to be exact. But he has been nagged with some shoulder problems and missed some practice this preseason.

C.J. Bennett came in and has done a great job learning the offense. He has done well and Coach Gregory seems to be confident enough that he can run the offense that he has been splitting time with the 1st and 2nd team offenses with Gibbon. Gregory also said that Bennett was a polished passer and is as good as anyone you have seen, but could work on his ball handling skills in the run game.

Raymond Cotton has had the most to contend with though. He transferred from Ole Miss just before preseason camp started and had to learn a new system. But probably the largest factor has been his injured shoulder. He injured it back in spring practice at Ole Miss and was feared that he may need surgery to repair it.

But as we know from last season, things do happen and starters can get injured. Thus it’s great to have quality players beyond the starter, not only to step in when needed but also to help keep the pressure on and the competition going to make everyone a better player.

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