USA Falls In Hawaii 23-7 In Season Finale

December 3, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The University of South Alabama dropped their season ending game in Honolulu, Hawaii on Saturday night 23-7. The Warriors gained a season-best 410 yards in the win in Aloha Stadium.

South Alabama would take the opening kickoff and drive down into the Warrior red zone however an interception in the endzone would end the Jaguar scoring threat. However, Hawaii would then drive 80 yards for a touchdown to begin the scoring.

The Jaguar defense would bend but not break the rest of the first half by holding the Warriors to three field goals for a 16-0 lead heading into the locker room for halftime. The South Alabama offense could not put together another good drive in the first half. On their subsequent five possessions of the first half, the Jags would punt each of those five possessions.

At halftime, the Jaguars would only have 55 yards of total offense with only six of those yards coming on the ground from the rushing attack.

The Jags would avoid their first-ever shutout with an 80 yard, 11 play drive that would span over five minutes. C.J. Bennett would come in and see playing time for the first time since the Jaguars game against Troy on September 29 to lead the Jaguar offense on the scoring drive. Bennett would find Bryant Lavender for a 25 yard completion to get the drive going. Julien Valentin would keep the drive alive with an eight yard rush for a first down. Bennett would keep the ball to pick up a first down on fourth and one at the Hawaii 4 yard line. Bennett would then cap off the drive with a three yard touchdown toss to Wes Saxton.

The touchdown drive would account for nearly half of the Jaguars totoal offensive output for the game. USA would end the game with 166 yards of total offense, 148 yards passing and a program-low of 34 yards rushing on 18 carries. However the Jags would gain 17 first downs, which was close to Hawaii’s 20 for the game.

Hawaii would end the game with 410 yards of total offense, 229 yards rushing matched the most ever given up by the Jaguars defense. The Warriors threw for 181 yards as well.

Senior Center Trey Clark, who started every game in his career at South Alabama and every game in South Alabama history spoke after the game. “They were tough. They were a physical group. They had some movement going on, and came with a few blitzes that gave us some problems. I think we did alright for the most part, but those sacks and fumbles hurt us.”

“The biggest thing was that we weren’t going to lay down — we weren’t going to quit. We just had that mindset that we were going to fight to the last whistle. I’m just proud of the seniors, my teammates and the coaches.”

“We came out and put together a good drive but threw an interception, and end up down 16-0 at halftime,” head coach Joey Jones explained. “We didn’t do much offensively in the second quarter, and they made some big plays. We gave up a long play on the first drive, but in the second half the defense came out and played better. They just controlled the game.”

T.J. Glover would end the game with 34 yards rushing on nine carries. Julien Valentin would add 20 yards on nine carries. Kendall Houston, who saw some action early, gained 10 yards on three carries. Ross Metheny would lose 43 yards combined in all of his sacks.

Metheny would go 11-of-24 for 111 yards and two touchdowns but also took five sacks. C.J. Bennett would come in and go 3-of-7 for 37 yards and a touchdown.

Corey Besteda would catch three passes for 42 yards, Gabe Loper would catch four passes for 32 yards, Saxton would catch three for 27 yards. T.J. Glover would add 12 yards on two receptions and Bryant Lavender would add 25 yards on one catch. Jereme Jones would keep his consecutive game with a catch streak alive with one catch for 10 yards.

Glover would have a season-high of 169 all-purpose yards as he accounted for 115 yards in kick returns, 34 yards rushing, 12 yards receiving and an eight yard punt return.

This game was the final game of 2012 season for South Alabama and the last in their two-year transition into the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision. Next season the Jags will be eligible for the Sun Belt Conference title and for a bowl game.

The Jags will lose a long list of senior talent this season. Many of these guys committed to South Alabama before the school had anything to show. They bought into a vision and they helped to make that vision a reality. They created the foundation that all future success will be built upon.

B.J. Scott, Jonathan Cameron, Brandon Ross, Gabe Loper, Cori Barnett, Charles Harris, Chris Rivers, Michel Chapuseaux, Jake Johnson, Anthony Taylor, Tremain Smith, Phillip Press, Trey Clark, Kennedy Helms, Ryne Baxter and Andy Dalgleish all will not put on the Jaguar uniform again. But they will not be forgotten.

Thank you guys. Thank you for coming to South Alabama, working hard and helping to build this program. I hope to see you around the program in the future. I also wish you the best in all of your future endevours.

“It was a great experience, and we were able to play another non-conference game,” B.J. Scott said after the game. “We got a chance to experience a bowl-like atmosphere, and we have a lot to look forward to next year. We were just a few plays away in every game we lost this year. For the young guys, I just want them to stay focused and continue to work hard. I feel like we can easily flip this season around with just a little more attention to detail and focus.”

“I think we will have a great team next year,” Scott said.

Fetner’s New Role Fits Him Well

October 24, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Quarterbacks Trey Fetner and transfer Ross Metheny participating in position drills.


South Alabama’s Trey Fetner is enjoying his new role in the South Alabama offense. He entered fall camp looking to compete with Ross Metheny and C.J. Bennett for the starting spot but after suffering a concussion and missing practice time, he was the odd man out.

Metheny and Bennett split time at the position for the Jags first five games until the coaching staff named Metheny the starter. Bennett has not played in the last two games but Fetner has seen some limited action on short yardage situations from the Wildcat.

That play was first seen against Troy when he scored a touchdown on his first college play. As they enter the ULM game Fetner has nine carries, all in the last three games, for 24 yards and a touchdown.

He has an understanding and appreciation for his role in South Alabama’s offense. “I was real excited about this fall camp,” Fetner, a 6′ 220-pound quarterback, said. “I had a minor setback when I got injured, but I think it’s best for the team that C.J. and Ross competed for the starting job because we have a really good quarterback right now in Ross and C.J. is a great backup.”

“My role is to come in as a short-yardage guy,” Fetner continued. “My coaches trust me enough to put me in there on third-and-1 or third-and-2 and sometimes on fourth-and-1, and that gives me a great feeling. I’m really blessed and I’m thankful for the opportunity they have given me.”

South Alabama’s head coach Joey Jones believes Fetner is a perfect fit for the role, but also has a great attitude for it. “Trey, number 1, is a great leader and probably has the best attitude of anyone on the football team,” he said. “He’s come in and really helped us on third-down situations. The good thing about him is he’s able to run and throw. It’s critical that you make first downs when it’s third-and-2 and third-and-1 and he’s brought a lot of that to the table.”

“I think Trey has such a good attitude about life that he’s tickled to death doing what he’s doing,” Jones continued. “I’m sure he wants to be the starter, but bottom line is he wants to do what he can do to help the football team.”

Fetner was a five-year letterwinner at Woodland High and was rated a two-star prospect from Rivals.com. In his senior season he lead his team to a 9-3 record and into the Class 2A state playoffs. He had 2,800 yards of total offense with 35 touchdowns in that senior season. He also earned six letters in baseball and four in basketball helping both reach state playoffs.

Fetner had understands his role and will continue to work hard for the team. As he said, “My role is still in short yardage, but I’m preparing like I was the starter.”

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 2012-10-09

October 10, 2012 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

Head coach Joey Jones and host Lee Shirvanian are joined by Bo Bishop of Baumhower’s, Lloyd Meyers from South Alabama Marketing and linebackers coach Brendt Bedsole.

Coach Jones began the show by saying they have had two of the best practices of the year. It was good that they had Thursday, Friday, Saturday and really Sunday off. He said it was like a really good spring practice because it was very spirited and even had a couple fights they had to break up.

Lee asked if that was normal to have a very physical day. Coach Jones answered by saying they have to have a good physical day each week and theirs is usually Tuesday. They then back off in shells on Thursday so they are not beat up for the game.

Bo Bishop of Baumhower’s Restaurant announced that next tuesday they will have a breast cancer awareness day at Baumhowers. They will be giving a portion of their proceeds to breast cancer awareness. Their featured item was pot roast, they also said that kids eat free all day on Wednesday, trivia on Thursday then games all weekend.

Lee goes back to Coach Jones to ask about Ross Metheny and the advantage he will give the team going into the game as the starting quarterback without any rotation. Coach Jones said that the advantage is that Metheny will get more reps in practice which should make him better in the games. Jones said that Metheny has had a good week so far and really cares about it by watching lots of film and trying to understand everything he needs to do.

Then Lee asked about his leadership ability. Coach Jones said that Metheny shows good leadership and players are responding in the huddle. He corrects players without jumping on them and the players seem to be listening to him.

Lee commented how there are rotations at so many positions but that quarterback is not a position is rotated because of the importance at that position. He then asked how C.J. Bennett is taking it since he was the starter all last season and back into the season previous to that. Coach Jones indicated that C.J. is taking it well and working hard. Jones also said that players are working hard every week competing for their position and C.J. knows he can get back into it like any other position and he needs to be ready to go in at any point.

The Orthopedic Group Injury Report: Coach Jones said taht all of the defensive linemen were out there today. However Randon Carnathan had a gold non-contact jersey on but is in the 90% healthy range. Montavious Williams ankle still hurts from the high ankle sprain he suffered at Mississippi State a little but he will play on Saturday. Actually every one will play. Also mentioned that B.J. Scott is good to go.

Lee asked about South Alabama procedure about concussions. Coach Jones said that concussions are very detailed process. They put the players through a battery of tests. No only do they test them while relaxed, they also test them after exhertion. If they get a headache after exercise they will not allow them to play. They are very careful about that injury because the health of the players is more important than football.

Arkansas State is in the top two or three in the conference. Their quarterback was player of the year in the conference. They have lots of Juniors and Seniorts.

New coach Brendt Bedsole has experience in radio and with the team. He has transitioned from the role of Director of Operations to an on-field coach now. He hopes his players say that he is a teacher.

Lee asked if he saw the report of Auburn coach Gene Chizik apologizing to the fans for them leaving the game early. Lee then asked if he had ever seen that before. Jones said that sometimes when you are in a situation like that and get frustrated, you say things you shouldn’t have said. But Jones said that he has learned that sometimes you hold your tongue and you may reconsider what you were or did say. As a coach you don’t want to let anyone down.

Gus Malzahn, the former offensive coordinator at Auburn, is now the head coach at Arkansas State. Coach Jones said that the biggest thing they do is that they do a great job of self-scouting. They do something for a couple weeks then the next week they change a certain scheme so just when you think you have them down, they change stuff.

Also coach Jones said that they do a great job of spreading the ball. By that he means that they are good at using the whole field. Bedsole then said that they use every yard of the field, width and length, with their offense. Its the same offense in many ways as the offense they used to win the NC again Oregon, beating Alabama after coming from being down 27-0 at halftime. They do run lots of base plays, but with lots of “window dressing” on them.

Coach Jones said that, when you run an offense like that, you have to have a quarterback that can do it. You can’t have a quarterback who can’t run or one that makes the wrong decision on running or passing. Their quarterback Ryan Aplin does a great job, he is big, great arm and can run. He could be an NFL quarterback.

Lee then asked coach Bedsole what the keys were for this week. The key is to be very disciplined. He said 1: Lining up 2: being disciplined, which he said was reading your keys whatever they are and 3: believe what you see.

Lee said that when he asked an Ole Miss assistant that was previously an assistant under Hugh Freeze at Arkansas State, what South Alabama is walking into in Jonesboro he was caught off-guard with the answer. The assistant did not mention players he mentioned the travel to get there is the worst.

Coach Jones said that travel is something that they keep in mind each week for the players. They don’t want any lost time. But Jones continued by saying that you can’t help it when you have to fly into memphis then a have a 90 minute bus drive to Jonesboro. Jones indicated that it will basically be 6 hours of travel for them. They will leave Mobile, fly to Memphis, bus to Jonesboro, go to the stadium for a walk-through it will be around 6 hours.

Talking about their defense, Lee asked if it presented anything different from what they have already seen this season. Coach Jones said that they don’t present anything totally different. Their defensive coordinator comes from Georgia State and likes to blitz and bring pressure off the edge. Their defensive linemen are very athletic and good about getting off blocks.

Lee asked about T.J. Glover and big plays. T.J. played running back his first year, and he is back to running back. Hopefully he can make some big plays from running back.

Coach Jones thinks that, offensively, the changes they have made will make them more competitive. They are close, they just have to get over that hump. He mentioned that at the beginning of this season they were starting two freshmen and five sophomores on offense, so they are very young.

Lee asked about the offensive line and how that they have moved Tremain smith to left guard. Lee asked if that was showing more cohesiveness. Coach Jones said it was and that they are a better offensive line this year than last year. He said that it may not look like it on the outside looking in, but they are better and they are continuing to get better.

Lloyd Meyers, the assistant marking director came on to make some announcements. He said that this is about 35,000 seats in Jonesboro and Jag fans going to the game should wear white.

He also announced that homecoming will be next week against FAU. Fun Fest carnival will be Thursday night and it will be free and open to the public. Friday is a big day with moulton tower mural dedication, wall of honor unveiling, homecoming parade and pep rally. Game time is not known yet due to possible tv interest like any game but coach Jones thinks it’s 2:30. It should be announced this week though.

A caller asked if Coach Jones has a different game plan for 3:00 left in the game. he answered by saying that they have two different game plans, four-minute offense where, if they are ahead, they slow it down and use the clock. If they are behind, they have what they call a two-minute offense where they speed it up and try to get out of bounds and stuff.

Lee asked if college football should they have the two-minute warning like in NFL? Coach Jones said he doesn’t know it wouldn’t matter that much really. There are positives and negatives for and against it.

Another caller asked Coach JOnes concerning the spread offense and mentioned Coach Saban talking about it recently. Coach Jones said that a team has to have a good quarterback who can distribute the ball and be able to run the ball. We [South Alabama] are not to that maturity point to be able to pressure the defenses as other teams who have been running the offense longer. When they can do that you still have to be able to run the ball but when you can pressure the other team it can wear the defense down.

Coach Jones spoke very highly of Jake Johnson, the answer to the trivia question for the day. He leads the Sun Belt in tackles per game. They said he weighs 240lbs and runs a 4.53 – 40 and are very fortunate to have him on the team. Been putting  him on the edge and rushing the quarterback with him in the last few games.

They then talked about coordinators and coaches on the sidelines versus in the press booth. The offensive coordinator Robert Matthews is in the booth calling plays. But so is coach Bedsole. Defensive coordinators tend to be on the sidelines because they are reactors. They have to quickly react to what the offense is doing on the field. While the offense is actors, they dictate what goes on on the field for the most part. The defensive coaches and coordinators tend to be on the sidelines so they coach the players and relay observations quickly to the players.

Another caller asked for an update on transfer James Elliot. Coach Jones said that he was cleared by the NCAA to play about a week ago and is doing well and getting more reps now. The caller also asked if Coach Jones was involved any in the play calling. Coach Jones said that he does have input in play calling. However he tries to let coach Matthews call the game but coach Jones does controls if they are going to go for it on fourth down of if there are any deep throws they may want to do.

Lee asked if Jaret Palmer is in the rotation at tight end since he noticed him playing quite a bit against Troy. Coach Jones said he is doing a great job and has worked himself into getting some playing time. Palmer previously played as a receiver.

Lee asked if Coach Jones was hands on with the defense as he is with the offense. Jones answered by saying no, he is more of an offensive guy. Jones continued by saying that most head coaches tend to lean to one side or the other.

Lee asked if Arkansas State has any break-out players that are dangerous that the Jags will have to keep tabs on. Coach Jones indicated that  Josh Jarboe is quick and has the ability to score anytime he has the ball. Their quarterback Aplin is the same way and he has the ball on every play on offense.

Coach Jones said that he called for a radio interview in Arkansas leading up to the game this week and they asked him about their schedule being in the Sun Belt for the first time and playing Hawaii. Coach Jones said that he answered that every week is something new with this team. This will be the Jags first sun belt road game so they will be learning.

USA Ending QB Rotation Is The Right Decision

October 5, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Quarterbacks Trey Fetner and transfer Ross Metheny participating in position drills.

Press-Register and AL.com writer Tommy Hicks wrote an an article yesterday evening concerning South Alabama’s quarterback situation.

He was spot on.

He said that the coaching staff made the right decision to side-line the two-quarterback system and name a single quarterback as the starter for the Jags in Arkansas State. Each quarterback is comfortable with their own style and pace for things, but rotating those styles every three possessions has to cause some problems in the offense as a whole. Not to mention the difficulty that other players on offense have in trying to play consistently when quarterbacks are continually rotated.

As for if the right quarterback has been selected to be the starter, that will have to proven on the field. Right now, Ross Metheny knows he is the starter and will be getting the majority of the snaps in practice. It’s his job to keep. While C.J. Bennett will have to go above and beyond what he has done to earn his starting spot back while taking a reduced number of snaps in practice.

Bennett has shown flashes of brilliant play during his career at South Alabama, but he has also had quite a bit of criticism over decision making. Particularly last season when he threw 17 interceptions to only 7 touchdowns.

Sometimes it takes some adversity to make you rise to the occasion. Sometimes it takes some faith in a new face. Either way, the Jags want to win and they are trying to find that formula.

You can read the article here.

Ross Metheny Named Starter At Quarterback

October 3, 2012 · Filed Under Football, News · Comment 

Quarterback Ross Metheny reads the NC State defense pre-snap in Raleigh, NC.

Head coach Joey Jones announced today that Ross Metheny will be the starting quarterback for the Jaguars. This was first reported on AL.com and reiterated while filming the Joey Jones Show that airs each Saturday on UTV44 in Mobile, Alabama.

In an interview with the Press-Register, Coach Jones said that Metheny would be the starter for the Jaguars “right now.” Jones indicated that the position would be evaluated on a week-to-week basis, which leaves the door open in the future for C.J. Bennett to work his way back into the spot. However doing so will take much more effort and focus since Metheny will begin getting most of the first-team snaps when the Jaguars resume practice next week.

Bennett started 16 consecutive games for the Jags. The first two of 2012, all 10 games in 2011 and the last four of the 2010 season.

Coach Jones has reiterated a number of times that Metheny and Bennett were very close to each other. Both could stand to improve but they both also played well. Jones decided to go with one quarterback so they would get a majority of the reps in practice and see if that helps the offense to improve over their performance so far this season.

Hopefully this will take the pressure off of the quarterbacks and they are able to play to their best potential. But most of all, that it will give the Jags opportunities to win.

Metheny has gone 34-of-59 for 354 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions so far this season completing 57.6 percent of his passes. He has also ran 25 times for 7 yards. Bennett has gone 52-of-95 for 543 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions on the season. Which comes out to a 54.7 percent completion average. Bennett has also rushed 28 times for 134 yards, one of those rushes went for 50 yards last Saturday against Troy to set up the Jags only touchdown of the game.

Coach Jones hopes this gives the offense the spark they need to improve as a team on offense.

Jags Looking To Build Consistency In Off-Week

October 2, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

C.J. Bennett reads the defense while head coach Joey Jones looks on from the sidelines in Starkville Mississippi.

There has been a lot of debate by fans over the Jaguars two-quarterback system that they have used so far this season. The coaches are also debating that question.

Coach Jones was quoted saying, “We’re going to make that decision – actually we’re formulating that decision as we speak – and I think by Wednesday we’ll definitely have an answer. I think by the Wednesday practice we’ll make an announcement as to how we’re going to do it.”

C.J. Bennett is 59-of-95 for 543 yards, four interceptions and three touchdowns on the season. Virginia transfer Ross Metheny is 34-of-59 for 354 yards, three interceptions and one touchdown on the season himself.

But Bennett is ranked second among rushers with 28 carries for 134 yards with no touchdowns yet. Metheny has ran 25 times for 7 yards and no touchdowns either.

While Trey Fetner came in for two plays against Troy, he will not be thrown in the mix for the starting position. However, he could be used in certain situations. Trey ran in from three yards out for the Jags only touchdown against Troy on Saturday. His other play in the game, he ran on 4th and 1 to pick up the first down. “We’ll use him in the wildcat (offensive set),” Jones explained. “He’s a good runner. He offers that and it would be good to expand on that package too.”

The week off comes at a great time for the Jaguar defense. Safety B.J. Scott missed the second half of the game against Troy due to a “mild concussion”. He is expected to be available to play when the Jags travel to Arkansas State on October 13. Scott make six tackles in the game, five in the first quarter as well as an interception on the first play from scrimmage by Troy. He also had a pass breakup, a tackle for loss and two quarterback hurries.

Defensive lineman Romelle Jones returned to the lineup against Troy after missing Mississippi State and most of the NC State game due to injury. Montavious Williams is dealing with an ankle injury but should be fine by Arkansas State. “Romelle Jones played (against Troy) but not at 100 percent,” Jones explained. “Hopefully this will give him time to get his knee back 100 percent because he missed the Mississippi State game. Montavious Williams turned his ankle. He played about 10 plays and that was it. Hopefully another two weeks and he’ll be ready to go and hopefully we’ll be back to 100 percent on defense.”

But while they are trying to decide between quarterbacks and healing their bumps and bruises, they are also working hard to gain some consistency.

The offense is looking to find a way to put more points on the scoreboard and to consistently move the ball. While the defense is trying to prevent more big plays. The coaching staff is staying late at night to watch game film to devise game plans and schemes to help achieve these goals.

In the Monday press conference coach Jones said, “I didn’t sleep Saturday night. I’m hard on myself and I expect to win. You hurt for about a day or two, but then you get back to work and realize you have a chance to get better. You can take adversity any way you want, you can pout about it or you can learn from it and get better. If we take the approach of learning from it, then we have a chance to get better. We’re going to keep fighting.”

“We need it,” Jones said about their off date this weekend. “our guys are beat up. We’ve been through four-and-a-half weeks of camp and five weeks of games, you’re talking about nine weeks without a break. It’s coming at a good time.”

The team will practice through Wednesday then the players and coaches will have three days off before getting back to work on game-week preparations for Arkansas State.

Jags Lose Tough Conference Opener To Troy

September 30, 2012 · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference · 2 Comments 

Game Captains for South Alabama Romelle Jones, B.J. Scott, Greg Hollinger and Alex Page meet the Troy captains at mid-field for the coin toss in the two teams first meeting and the Jaguars first Sun Belt Conference game.

The South Alabama Jaguars lost their Sun Belt conference opener to Troy 31-10 in a penalty-filled, wet mess. Coming into this game, the Jags knew where they had been and knew where they wanted to be, but after this game they know where they are, at least for the time being.

The Jaguars had four turnovers in the game and could only muster 59 yards passing in the game. Troy’s Corey Robinson threw for 223 yards and ran for a touchdown in the win. But the game had 25 penalties, 15 on the Jaguars for 142 yards.

South Alabama forced five Troy turnovers, a number of them in very key situations where Troy was driving for scores. But the Jaguar offense only managed 51 yards of total offense and two first downs in the second half after they were able to gain 201 yards in the first half.

“Troy played a great game. They were probably a little better than us, and we made a few mistakes. You’re not going to play it close when you do that,” Jaguar head coach Joey Jones explained. “We had some first-half chances and I really thought after halftime that if we came out and scored it would be a different ballgame, but we didn’t do that. We’re a young program. We’re trying to get this thing going and sometimes this is part of it. We kind of know where we are now. Troy is a dominant team in the league, they’ve been there, done that.”

“Their defense made adjustments in the second half, and really shut us down,” Jones said. “I thought we moved the ball pretty good in the first half, but we didn’t in the second half and that was due to them making adjustments and playing well.”

“Offensively, they’re real explosive. They can move the ball at the drop of a hat,” Jones said. “I thought we played pretty good defensively at times, but they are very good offensively.”

Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said after the game, “We made the same basic game-plan calls in the second half that we made in the first. We probably ran them a little bit better. After you play a team for a half, you sort of scout them as you go as coach Dye used to say. You get better playing the things that they are doing. I think that was part of it. I thought we had a good plan against (South Alabama). They did some things a little different in some of the things they had done, but nothing majorly different. We sort of got in tune with them in the second half and played pretty hard and played better. Made some tackles and got a couple of tackles for loss, interceptions and turnovers.”

The game started well with B.J. Scott intercepting Corey Robinson on the Trojan’s first play from scrimmage, but the Jags were unable to convert the early turnover into points as they went three-and-out and forced to punt at the Troy 47 yard line.

After a rush for 11 yards and a first down, the Troy offense would be forced to punt, but T.J. Glover would fumble the punt at his own 29 yard line and it would be recovered by the Trojans.

The first and ten play would go for 24 yards to the Jaguar five yard line, but the Jaguar defense punt the clamps on again and forced Troy to settle for a 21 yard field goal.

Again the Jags would go three and out and the Scott Garber punt would be downed at the Troy 43 yard line. Corey Robinson would complete back-to-back passes for 16 and 38 yards to set up at the Jaguar one yard line. They would punch it in on the next play to take a 10-0 lead on the Jags with 8:05 left in the first quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, T.J. Glover would return the kickoff from the one yard line 21 yards but a holding penalty would put the Jags at their own 12 yard line. Demetre Baker would rush for 7 and 9 yards and a Jaguar first down. But Ross Metheny would run on the quarterback keeper and fumble the ball away to Troy at the Jaguar 30 yard line.

Troy would get flagged for a hold on their first down play and get backed up to the 38 yard line with a first and 18. A screen pass to Shawn Southward would be go for a loss of five as Jake Johnson and Romelle Jones combined for the stop. On second and 23, Southward would take the handoff 31 yards before Darrius Morrow would force a fumble that Terrel Brigham would recover at the Jaguar 6 yard line.

The Jags would finally get a good drive put together starting at the Jaguar 6 yard line. Baker would rush for 2 yards then lose a yard on the second run. Then C.J. Bennett, who rotated in for Ross Metheny, would scramble for 10 yards and a first down at the 17 yard line. Baker would rush again for 3 more yards then the Jags would take a time out with 3:29 left in the first quarter.

On 2nd and 7, Glover would come in as a running back and rush for nine yards and a first down. Bennett’s pass attempt to Wes Saxton would fall incomplete, then Glover would rush for 6 more yards to set up a 3rd and 4 at the Jaguar 35 yard line. Demetre Baker would come in for Glover and run for 10 yards and another Jaguar first down. After an incomplete pass to Cameron Broadnax, Bennett would opt to keep the ball and find a seam for a 50 yard run down to the Troy five yard line. Another run around the right side for Bennett would net two yards.

Trey Fetner would come into the game and run left for the three yard touchdown to get the Jags on the board 10-7 with 46 seconds left in the first quarter.

Troy would answer the Jags touchdown with one of their own. An 8 play, 70 yard drive spanning 4 minutes on the clock would put the Trojans up 17-7 with 11:46 left in the second quarter.

On the kickoff, Glover would get a 22 yard return out to the Jaguar 24 yard line, but a personal fould on Terrel Brigham would place the ball at their own 12 yard line. The Jags would go three and out and after a four yard return, would be set up near midfield at the Troy 48 yard line.

After a holding penalty on Troy, they faced a 2nd and 13 at the Jaguar 39 and Gabe Loper would intercept the Robinson pass at the 28 yard line and return it 19 yards out to the Jaguar 47 yare line. with 8:17 left in the half.

Baker would open the series with a 15 yard rush down to the Troy 48 yard line. Bennett would then run the ball for another 9 yards. On back to back rushes by Baker, he would rush for 4 and 1 yards, but on the second rush Troy’s Zach Miller would be flagged for a personal foul to place the ball at the Troy 12 yard line with a first down. After a Kendall Houston rush for three yards, Bennett would throw an incomplete pass intended for Lavender. Then on third and 7 at the Troy 9 yard line, Bennett’s pass intended for Jereme Jones in the end zone would be picked off and returned 10 yards.

The Jags defense would force a three and out and get the ball at their own 49 yard line with 4:18 left in the game. Metheny would return to the game and hand off to Demetre Baker on the first two plays for 6 and 3 yards. Then the Metheny pass intended for Greg Hollinger would fall incompleted forcing Garber to punt again.

Starting on their own 20 yard line, Robinson’s pass to Chip Reeves would go for 19 yards then the Jaguar sidelines would be penalized 5 yards for a delay of game as well as Tyrell Pearson being flagged for a personal foul for another 15 yards, putting the ball at the Jaguar 41 yard line. After an incomplete pass, Robinson would find Reeves again for another 39 yards to the Jaguar 2 yard line. Robinson would run the ball in on the next play to put the Trojans up 24-7 with 2:13 left in the half.

The Jags would put together another good drive on the ensuing possession. A short kickoff would be fielded by Randon Carnathan and returned 12 yards to the 35 yard line. Baker would rush for one yard on the first down play. Then Metheny would find Corey Besteda for a 19 yard gain to the Troy 45 yard line. Then Metheny would run for five yard and get out of bounds to stop the clock. Baker would run for another three yards followed by Metheny gaining a yard then the Jags would call a time out with 38 seconds left in the half to set up their 4th and 1 play.

After coming out with Fetner at quarterback and Metheny at receiver, Troy would burn a timeout to adjust. Then the Jags would come out with Metheny back at quarterback to which Larry Blakeney would be forced to burn another time out to adjust to. Then, with Troy out of time outs Fetner would return to the game and run for the needed yard and a first down at the Troy 35.

Metheny would throw a pass to Baker in the flat, but he would cut it back inside for no gain and forced the coaching staff to call a time out to stop the clock with 20 seconds left. Metheny would hit Jereme Jones for 11 yards and a first down at the Troy 24 yard line. The field goal unit would run on the first and the 41 yard attempt would be blocked but recovered by Demetre Baker at the Troy 31 yard line with 4 seconds left in the half. The Jags would be penalized for delay of game. With one second left in the half, the Jags would get one last shot and Chapuseaux would connect on the 53 yard field goal for a halftime score of 24-10 in favor of Troy.

The Jags would go three and out on their first series of the second half. Troy would drive down to the Jaguar 7 yard line befroe facing a 3rd and 6 at the 7 yard line, Alex Page would sack Robinson for a 13 yard loss and forcing Troy to attempt a field goal. The attempt would be blocked and recovered by Gabe Loper.

The next Jaguar possession, they would go three and out. Garber’s punt would be fair caught at the 26, but an illegal block would back them up to the 16 yard line. Troy would drive down to the Jaguar 7 yard line facing first and goal, Justin Albert would get caught for a loss then Jesse Kelley would force a fumble that would be recovered by Enrique Williams at the Jaguar 16 yard line and avoiding a Trojan score.

Yet again, the Jaguar offense would go three and out and forced to punt. Back to back competions for Troy would go for 17 and 19 yards down to the Jaguar 27 yard line to end the third quarter. Two plays later, Robinson would be picked off in the end zone by Charles Watson for a touchback.

Baker would rush for a yard, Bennett’s first pass would fall incomplete intended for Hollinger, then on third and 9, Bennett would hit Jereme Jones for 19 yards to the Jaguar 40 yard line. Bennett would keep the ball for an 8 yard gain then Baker is caught for a two yard loss to set up third down and 4. Tremain Smith would be flagged for a false start then the 3rd and 9 pass would fall incomplete forcing the Jags to punt again.

On the punt, Troy would be flagged for holding to put the ball back at the Troy 14 yard line. Deon Anthony’s pass would be thrown up in the sky and completed to Chris Williams for a 44 yard gain. Again the Jaguar bench would be flagged for a 5 yard delay of game penalty as well. Troy would get a touchdown a few plays later for the final score of the game to make it 31-10.

The Jags would get the ball two more times. Metheny would be intercepted on his first pass attempt on a deep throw at the Troy 17. On their second, The Jags managed one first down before being forced to punt with 34 seconds left in the game.

“It’s our first Sun Belt Conference game, and I have to keep things in perspective as do our kids,” Coach Jones observed. “We’re all competitors and want to win. For us to play and beat a team like Troy in our first conference game would be a miracle. But as a coach, I look at it and think there were things we could have done to have been in the ballgame. We’re going to get there, we’re not quite there yet, but we’re going to get there. We’re just going through a growing time right now.”

Sometimes those growing pains hurt the worst when you had a chance in the game. But some penalties were so bizarre, that it was unbelievable.

For instance in the waning moments of the first half the Jags elect to kick a field goal with 14 seconds remaining on first down. The Chapuseaux kick was blocked and recovered by the Jags so the Troy field goal unit went to the sidelines to celebrate what they thought was a block and turnover. The South Alabama coaches found the nearest officials and told them that the ball should still be possessed by the Jags since an attempt was made and the ball was blocked and therefore never went past the line of scrimmage.

Meanwhile, the Jaguar kicking unit stayed on the field and the Troy coaches, special teams unit and offense were all grouped together near the sidelines conferring with the officials. Once the referee made the call, the Jaguar special teams unit was standing at the line of scrimmage waiting to snap the ball as the official stood over the ball. Once the whistle was blown, the Jags snapped the ball but it was immediately whistled dead. The penalty? Delay of game on the offense.

After marking off a five yard penalty, Michel Chapuseaux drilled a 53 yard field goal, the longest in his career and set a new Jaguar record for longest field goal.

That was such as the game went. Numerous obvious fouls occurred in front of officials that were perputrated by Troy that were never called. Junior defensive back Zach Miller, after a long incompletion by the Jags, was walking back to the line of scrimmage and as Corey Besteda jogged past him, shoved him in the back. It wasn’t a “genty nudge” or anything like that. It was a full on shove that was meant to try to make him lose balance. But it was not called, nor did the referee in the area caution him about the incident.

I think that sequence to end the first half really let the air out of the team in many ways. But they did not give up. They fought very hard in the second half and turned away a couple of scores, the offense could not get going with the hole they faced.

Jags Fall In Starkville 30-10

September 23, 2012 · Filed Under Football · 1 Comment 

C.J. Bennett reads the defense while head coach Joey Jones looks on from the sidelines in Starkville Mississippi.

South Alabama (1-3) played a tough game against Mississippi State (4-0) on Saturday evening, though they came up short on the scoreboard as they lost 30-10. The difference in the game was big plays, but the Jags led or were very close in several stats.

Mississippi State scored first on a 44-yard run and had five pass completions for over 20 yards, two kickoff returns that went for over 40 yards and two interceptions that were returned over 40 yards in the game.

However statistically the Jags held their own. The Jags had more first downs than the Bulldogs (21-15), more passing yards (224-200) and led the time-of-possession (30:35-29:25) and dominated the time of possession in the fourth quarter 9:07 to 5:53. The Jags were within ten yards of matching the Bulldogs overall offensive production 356-347 total yards.

The Jags improves on last weeks 0-for-11 third down performance. They converted 5-of-15 this week. They Jaguar defense held the Bulldogs to 5-of-14 on third down themselves. While that third down conversion stat isn’t what they would like to see, it is an improvement and it was against an SEC defense.

Demetre Baker lead the Jags rushing with 12 carries for 49 yards. C.J. Bennett ran three times for 29 yards including a stunning hurdle of a Mississippi State player to gain a first down in the red zone. Unfortunately on the next play he would throw an interception inside the five yard line. Kendall Houston would rush eight times for 21 yards.

C.J. Bennett would go 14-of-26 for 154 yards with the one interception and one touchdown. Ross Metheny, the starter of the game, would go 8-of-17 for 70 yards with an interception.

Bryant Lavender led all receivers in both receptions, with six, and yards with 80. Jereme Jones and T.J. Glover both caught four passes for 49 and 12 yards respectively. Greg Hollinger had three catches for 49 yards and the only receiving touchdown of the game. Corey Walden added three catches and 17 yards. Three other Jaguars caught passes as well.

Defensively, the Jags would finish with three players racking up double-digit tackles for the first time in school history. Enrique Williams had a career best 12 tackles including 1.5 tackles-for-loss. Jake Johnson and B.J. Scott both had 10 stops. Johnson had 1.5 tackles-for-loss and Scott had one TFL.

“We have some things we need to work on for sure, but I saw a lot of heart on that football field tonight,” said Jaguar head coach Joey Jones. “You’re talking about a top-23 team, and we’re a new program. We fought our rear-ends off. I’m just proud of the team as a whole, and I told them in the locker room that I could live with that. We have to get better, we’re a young team and have a long way to go, but I can’t tell you how proud I am of them tonight.”

The Jags came out inspired in the first quarter and played lights-out defensively holding Mississippi State to only 27 total yards and zero yards rushing while gaining 67 yards offensively.

After marching down the field late in the first quarter, the Jags drive stalled at the Bulldog 30 where Michel Chapuseaux attempted a 47 yard field goad which would sail wide left. The Bulldogs would respond by driving 70 yards in three plays to score the games first touchdown.

With the Bulldogs leading 17-0 just before halftime, the Jags Tyrell Pearson would intercept a Tyler Russell pass and return it 25 yards. However two snaps later the Bulldogs would intercept the Ross Metheny pass and return it 66 yards to set up a field goal as time expired in the second quarter.

Both of the Jags scoring drives would come in the second half, both drives marching over 70 yards and spanning at least five minutes each. Metheny would lead the first scoring drive that covered 71 yards in 13 plays, but the Jags would not be able to punch the ball into the end zone from inside the five yard line and would settle for a 22-yard field goal.

Around midway through the fourth quarter Bennett would guide the offense on a 12 play 78 yard scoring drive that would be capped off by an 18 yard touchdown pass to Greg Hollinger.

Jereme Jones broke the record previously held by Courtney Smith by catching a pass in his 18th consecutive game. Jereme was quoted after the game saying, “It’s special because it puts me up there with one of the best receivers [in school history], but I’m more focused on the win-loss record. We took a huge step forward, playing with a nationally-ranked SEC team. We fought with them.  It’s disappointing we couldn’t come out with the win, but we’re a work in progress.”

“We have to grow from this,” coach Jones stated. “We have to get better. We’re brand new and we’re trying to learn and find our way through it, but I was proud of what we did. We learned some things offensively. We moved the ball pretty good, but we threw a couple of interceptions in the red zone and we have to find a way to run the football down in the red zone. We have to get that done. Defensively, I thought we fought hard the whole game. Special teams weren’t as good tonight as it has been. Our coverage wasn’t that great. We gave them good field position a couple of times on kickoffs.”

The Jags return home to host their first Sun Belt game when they face the Troy Trojans at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 2:30pm.

On the third down play on Mississippi State’s first possession, defensive end Anthony Taylor went down in extreme pain. Trainers from both teams cared for him and appeared to place an air splint on his right leg. We were not able to get any information about his status.

Jags Try To Replicate MSU Speed In Practice This Week

September 20, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Quarterback Ross Metheny reads the NC State defense pre-snap in Raleigh, NC.

The South Alabama football team has returned to pitting their first string offense versus their first string defense in practice this week. The Jaguars are gearing up for their first game against an SEC team which happens to be their first game against a top-25 ranked opponent as well.

As the Jags try to replicate what they may see in Starkville against Mississippi State, both first-team squads are facing each other. “We actually backed off that a couple of weeks ago and didn’t do as much of that,” Jones explained. “We’ve got to get back to that for the speed of the game. When you play N.C. State and you play Mississippi State and you play Troy and everybody we’re going to play this year, they’re fast football teams, physical football teams, so you simulate that by going ones versus ones, and I think that’s going to help.”

Ross Metheny appears to be getting more time with the first-team offense this week as they face the scout team defense. Although there has been no word from anyone close to the program if it will be Metheny or C.J. Bennett starting the game against the Bulldogs. However, Coach Jones said on tuesday that they intend to continue the quarterback rotation in Starkville this weekend.

I would not be surprised if Metheny starts in Starkville. Actually, it makes sense if Coach Jones and Coach Matthews really wants to evaluate their two quarterbacks to decide who will be the starter as they enter conference play.

Coach Jones believes that his team has been able to put last Saturday’s loss to NC State behind them this week. “Its been good,” Jones said to the Press-Register of practice so far this week. “Our kids have bounced back. We’re building a football program right now. Our kids are trying to get things going. We played N.C. State to 31-7. We don’t like it, but the bottom line is our kids are working hard every day to build this football program. They’re excited about the teams we’re going to play and we’re going to get better and better as we grow.”

Coach Jones recapped Wednesday’s practice by saying, “It was good. I told the kids we’ve got to have that look in our eyes every day at practice, any time we play. We’ve got to have that look in our eyes, what I call our game face. We’ve done that. The kids are working hard and I’m pleased with them.”

Coach Jones said he is pleased to have the opportunity to play a nationally ranked SEC team in Mississippi State. “I’m excited about it,” he said. “Our kids are going to Starkville and playing and they’re ranked No. 23 in the country. When you walk in a venue like that, they’re playing with a lot of confidence right now and they’re playing well. They beat Auburn 28-10. Our kids want to be in environments like that and our kids are looking forward to it.”

Three key starters where wearing gold non-contact jersey’s on Wednesday. Free safety B.J. Scott, linebacker Jake Johnson and running back Kendall Houston were all participating and are expected to be available for Saturday’s game in Starkville.

Jags Fall 31-7 In Raleigh

September 15, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Senior linebacker Jake Johnson zeroes in on a NC State runner for one of his 14 tackles in Raleigh, NC.

South Alabama fell in a tough road game at North Carolina State on Saturday night by a score of 31-7. The Jags (1-2) finally scored in the fourth quarter to prevent a shutout.

NC State’s Mike Glennon went 24-of-34 for 257 yards and three touchdowns (all in the first half) to lead the Wolfpack over the Jags. On the Wolfpack’s first possession, Glennon went 8-of-9 and accounted for all but five yards of the 80-yard drive. He capped off the first drive with a 33-yard touchdown pass with 9:22 left in the first quarter.

Glennon’s second touchdown pass came with four minutes left in the first quarter and went for 44-yards. His third touchdown pass put the Wolfpack up 28-0 before halftime.

Demetre Baker led the Jags with 45 yards rushing on seven carries. Kendall Houston added 17 yards on four carries.

Ross Metheny went 14-of-20 for 189 yards with an interception and a touchdown. C.J. Bennett went 10-of-15 for 74 yards with an interception. Both quarterbacks were sacked three times each.

Jereme Jones extended his catch streak, and tied the all time record set by Courtney Smith, with his eight yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Demetre Baker led the receiver corps with five catches for 55 yards. Wes Saxton added four catches for 72 yards. Corey Besteda got the offense going on the touchdown drive with a 43 yard reception. Besteda caught three passes for 68 yards. T.J. Glover added three catches for 10 yards. Three other Jaguars had two catches each and another three had one catch each.

Jake Johnson led all players with a season high 14 total tackles. Alex Page had five tackles, with two sacks for 14 yards. Clifton Crews and Anthony Taylor both had sacks as well.

The wolfpack had 22 first downs to only 14 for the Jags. Overall, NC State outgained the Jags 384-314. The wolfpack out-gained the Jags on the ground 127 to 51, but the Jags would outgain their adversaries 263-257 through the air.

In the Jaguars first drive, Bennett picked up first downs with completions to Saxton and Besteda, but a poor pass was intercepted on a third-and-15 near midfield. Then on the ensuing Wolfpack drive, one of Page’s sacks put the Wolfpack with a third-and-15, but a personal foul gave them a first down. But the Jaguar offense could not recover from the setback.

“We knew when N.C. State held Connecticut to seven points last weekend that they were a very good defensive football team,” South Alabama head coach Joey Jones said after the game. “When you look at their film from last year and this year, they are two totally different teams. They showed that today. They were very good up front, and got to the quarterback several times. We could have done some things better, but they are very good defensive football team.”

“I thought we fought hard defensively, and the positive thing was that I thought we won the second half,” Coach Jones continued. “I challenged them at halftime to win the second half, and we came out and did that. We didn’t quit. Our kids fought hard. There are obviously some things we can work on, but a lot of it had to do with the fact that they were pretty good on defense.”

If the Jags can limit their mistakes, such as turnovers, negative yardage plays and penalties at key times, the Jags offense could move the ball and score like they did in the season opener against UTSA. But it seems that, once the offense commits a mistake, they have a hard time regaining their forward momentum.

Metheny really looked good at quarterback tonight after Bennett started struggling. He did a great job getting the ball out to his receivers quickly. The offensive line had their hands full with a big, quick defensive line for the Wolfpack. Drew Dearman had another great block on a screen pass play that allowed the receiver to gain some extra yards.

The Jags will continue their two game road-trip with a Saturday night match-up with Mississippi State in Starkville, Mississippi. Kickoff is scheduled for 6pm.

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