Jags Fall To North Texas 24-14 On Saturday

November 12, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Receiver Jereme Jones looks in the pass from CJ Bennett in the first half of the 33-31 loss to Texas-San Antonio.

Jags gave up two long touchdown runs over 50+ yards as they lost to North Texas 24-14 on Saturday.

After holding the Jags on a fourth and one at the 49 yard line, Jereme Brown broke the second play of the second quarter, the first play of the possession for UNT, for a 51 yard touchdown run to tie the game with the Jags 7-7.

South Alabama would mount another scoring a little past midway through the second quarter that began with a 17 yard completion from Ross Metheny to Wes Saxton. After an incompletion, Metheny would complete passes to Bryant Lavender and Greg Hollinger for 6 and 14 yards respectively. A facemask penalty would move the ball to the North Texas 13 yard line where Metheny would find Jereme Jones for the touchdown and a 14-7 lead with under three minutes to go in the half.

The next possession by North Texas would begin with an illegal formation penalty against the Jags on the kickoff and wouldn’t get any better after that.

After an incomplete pass, UNT’s Derek Thompson would complete back to back passes for 15 and 18 yards to quickly move down to the Jaguar 33 yard line. Another incomplete pass and a rush for one yard forced the Mean Green to call a time out with 1:33 left in the half to consider their options for a 3rd and 9.

Coming out of the time out, Thompson would connect with his receiver for an 18 yard gain and a first down. After two more incomplete passes and UNT wuold face another long third down play. This time they would only get four yards but one of the Jaguar defenders would pick up the ball, thinking it may have been fumbled, and took off with it. That would draw a delay of game penalty on the Jags to give the Mean Green a fourth and 1 at the Jaguar 5 yard line. Then a substitution infraction would give UNT a first down at the 2 yard line. After a rush for no gain and an incomplete pass, Thompson would find an open receiver for the touchdown to tie the game at 14 with 17 seconds until halftime

South Alabama would begin the second half with a promising drive that would stall at the North Texas 11 yard line with a fourth and 1. Michel Chapuseaux would attempt a 28 yard line but it would miss wide right.

After taking over at the Jaguar 20 yard line, UNT would be flagged for a false start. But this would not matter as Brandin Byrd would take the first down handoff 85 yards for a touchdown to take a 21-14 lead with 9:32 left in the third quarter.

On the next Jaguar possession, Terrance Timmons would fumble the ball away at the Jaguar 46 yard line. North Texas would capitalize by driving down for a field goal to cap off the scoring 24-14.

A couple of possession later, the Jags had a golden opportunity to cut into the Mean Green lead when Tyrell Pearson would pick off a pass at the North Texas 40 yard line and return it down the left sideline. He would return it 38 yards to the two yard line and try to dive/reach for a touchdown, but the officials would rule it a fumble that would go into the end zone and out of bounds giving the ball back to North Texas at the 20 yard line.

The fourth quarter would become a punt fest. The Jags would go for it near midfield when they faced a fourth and 23 at the Jaguar 47, but Metheny’s pass completion to Gabe Loper would come up 2 yards short of the first down.

The Jags record falls to 2-8 (1-5 SBC) while North Texas’ record improves to 4-6 (3-3 SBC).

South Alabama held edges in some statistical categories. Jags edged the Mean Green in total yards (366-303), net passing yards (233-106), first downs (24-12) and time-of-possession (33:08 – 26:52). North Texas would lead the Jags in rushing yards 197-133.

Kendall Houston led the Jaguar running game with 42 yards on 11 carries, and his first touchdown since Georgia State over a year ago, as he filled in for Baker who did not see the field in the second half. Baker would end the game with 39 yards on six carries, Glover would add 36 yards on eight carries and Metheny would gain 17 yards on eight carries.

Metheny would go 23-of-45 for 233 yards and a touchdown. Lavender would haul in six passes for 36 yards, Jereme Jones would add five catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. Saxton had three catches for 38 yards, Corey Besteda had two catches for 31 yards, Loper added 26 yards on two catches. Greg Hollinger and Corey Waldon would both add a catch for 14 yards each.

Alex Page and Bryson James would both end the game tied for the most tackles with seven. Jake Johnson would add six tackles and a tackle-for-loss. The Jags were unable to get to the quarterback for a sack in this game.

“We played a good first half. We played hard and smart. They dominated us in the third quarter,” Jaguar head coach said after the game. “We had a good drive [to open the second half], and we missed a chip-shot field goal that would have put us up 17-14. We were playing great defense but we missed the field goal, then they scored on a long run and kind of dominated us from that point on. We didn’t much on offense after that.”

“We’re just a few guys behind right now,” Jones continued. “Everything we do has to be perfect, but I told them in the locker room that we have to stick together. This is as tough of a thing as any of us have been through, nobody likes to lose. We have to stick together and back up and support each other. This [transition to FBS] is a tough thing to go through. My hat’s off to North Texas. They came out and made great adjustments at halftime, and played a better game in the second half.”

“The good teams learn from the losses, watch film, make corrections and move forward. That’s what we have to do,” quarterback Ross Metheny said. “We have to put it behind us. It’s tough. There comes a point where being so close is not enough. We’re so close in so many games, and hopefully we’ll put it all together. We have three more chances to win football games, and that’s what we’re looking to do.”

“I told the guys in the locker room that I will never quit on them,” stated Jones. “We knew this year was going to be like this, so we have to stick together. Those guys really care about each other, and that’s all I can worry about right now. I can’t worry about what anybody else says. We just have to keep working and building these men up. They’re going through a tough thing right now. They have been asked to step up in a very good Division I league and try to win, we’re just coming up a little bit short in a lot of games.”

South Alabama returns home to Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday for their final home game of the season against Middle Tennessee. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30pm on Saturday.

Jags Defeat Nicholls State 9-3

September 9, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Left guard Drew Dearman (72) looks to pick up the rusher getting by Ucambre Williams (76) as CJ Bennett (15) loads up to throw downfield.

South Alabama gets it’s first win of the season in a defensive struggle against Nicholls State. Three-and-outs and forced turnovers were the story of the game. The Jaguar defense held Nicholls State to a mere 118 yards while forcing three turnovers and only allowing three points to the Colonels.

“Putting pressure on the quarterback really helped us tonight,” head coach Joey Jones said. “I thought we played with a lot more energy on defense, it looked like the defense that I’m used to seeing.”

The first quarter saw several three-and-outs in the first quarter as Nicholls only managed 23 total yards and the Jags only 19 total yards. Each team faced four third downs and only the Jags converted one in the entire first quarter. On top of that, the first two Jaguar drives started at their 2- and 1-yard lines respectively.

Finally on Scott Garbers third punt, the Jags were able to flip field position. Facing 4th and 20 from their own 22 yard line Garber punted, with the aid of the wind, a 69 yard punt to the Colonel 9 yard line. The Jags forced them to punt and had great field position at the Colonel 46 yard line with 1:51 left in the quarter. The offense drives down to the 35 yard line, but on the final play of the quarter, Ross Metheny takes a three yard sack.

After switching sides of the field, the Jags faced a 3rd and 13 going into the wind. An incomplete pass forces the Jags to punt, but Garber cannot keep it out of the end zone.

The Colonels are able to drive, on the ensuing possession, to the Jaguar 20 yard line, but are backed up by a 10 yard loss on a fumbled snap by the quarterback on first down. After back to back incomplete passes, Nicholls State finally break 0-0 tie with a 48 yard field goal, aided by the wind, to take a 3-0 lead on the Jags.

But the Jags answer right back with a drive of their own. Starting at their own 25 yard line after a touchback on the kickoff. T.J. Glover rushes for no gain on first down, then Bennett completes back to back passes to Terrance Timmons and Glover for a first down. Then they rush the ball five consecutive times, three by Baker for 6, 15 and 8 yards respectively. Then Kendall Houston rushes for 6 then loses 3 back to the Nicholls State 30 yard line. Bennett then finds Wes Saxton for 11 yards to make it 3rd and 2 at the Colonels 19 yard line. Timmons rushes for no gain, but a personal foul gives the Jags half the distance to the goal and an automatic first down.

After a penalty and facing 3rd down, Bennett hits Jereme Jones at the goal line but is marked down at the one yard line. Facing third and goal, the hand-off to Kendall Houston loses a yard. After looking like the Jags were going to go for the touchdown, Coach Jones sends on the kicking team but calls a time out when the play clock starts to wind down. Michel Chapuseaux converts the 19 yard field goal to tie the game.

In the second quarter, the Jags defense held Nicholls to -13 yards rushing.

After punts by both teams to start the second half, the Jags put together another drive starting at their own 48 yard line until they reached the Colonel 17 yard line and stalled out. Chapuseaux’s kick into the wind misses wide left.

On the second play of the Colonel’s ensuing possession, Bryson James would pick off the Landry Klann pass at their 33 yard line. On first down, Bennett would find Houston open on the screen pass and with a big block by Drew Dearman, he would scamper for 14 yards to the Colonel 19. But a roughing the passer penalty would put them at the 9 yard line with 1st and goal. A four yard run by Houston would be followed up by two incomplete passes to Lavender and Besteda before settling for a 21 yard field goal with 5:17 left in the third quarter.

The Colonels would go three and out on their next possession and their punt would be fair caught at the Jaguar 22 yard line. Later on in the drive, on third and 6 at the Jaguar 38 Ross Metheny would be flushed out of the pocket and find daylight on the left side. As he was approaching the sideline, the Nicholls State defender was playing the angle to get him but would be completely leveled by T.J. Glover. The game would have to stop and trainers went to assist the injured player.

The player would eventually put on a backboard and have his neck immobilized before put on a stretcher and carted off the field. He was moving his arms and legs and even game the crowd a thumbs-up as he was loaded onto the cart. He was taken to a local hospital for observation as a precaution.

However, on the next play after the stoppage, Terrance Timmons would fumble the ball away to Nicholls State at the 50 yard line with three seconds left in the third quarter.

The Colonels would drive down to the Jaguar 17 yard line, but on 2nd down and 12 yards, Montavious Williams would recover a fumble at the Jaguar 19 yard line ending the scoring threat again.

The Jaguar offense, led by Ross Metheny again, would begin the drive with
three consecutive completions to Saxton for two yards, Hollinger for nine yards and T.J. Glover for 29 yards to put the Jags in Colonel territory at the 41 yard line. The Jags would eventually get down to the Colonel 17 yard line where they would have to settle for another field goal by Chapuseaux to put the Jags up 9-3 with 9:01 left in the game.

After a touchback on the kickoff, the first play by the Colonels would be intercepted by Terrel Brigham at the Colonel 38 yard line. After driving down to the Nicholls State 19 yard line, Baker and Bennett would fumble the handoff exchange and it would be recovered by the Colonels.

With a chance to run out the clock after a couple first downs, the Jags would go three and out starting at their own nine yard line. The Scott Garber punt from the Jaguar 16 would go 48 yards and only returned 6 to the Nicholls State 42 yard line with 2:38 left in the game.

Klann’s first down pass would fall incomplete, but the second would be caught for four yards before getting out of bounds. Then Klann would find tight end Nich Scelfo open for 9 yards and into Jaguar territory. Then a 16 yard pass completion and run down the right sideline would put them at the Jaguar 29 yard line. B.J. Scott would be flagged for pass interference on the subsequent play, putting the Colonels at the Jaguar 14 yard line needing a touchdown.

The first down play would go for a loss of one yard. Followed by an incompletion then a Pat Moore sack of Klann would back them up to the Jaguar 18 yard line facing 4th and 14. Nicholls would call a time out with 38 seconds remaining in the game to scheme a play. After allowing the defense to line up, they could call their final time out. Then the fourth down pass would be broken up by Darrius Morrow to save the game. After a knee, the Jags would watch the time run off the clock for the 9-3 win.

South Alabama led with 279 total yards, 169 passing and 110 rushing while Nicholls State ended the game with 118 total yards, 96 passing and a mere 22 rushing. The Jags held the time of possession lead with 34:52 to 25:08  while they also ran 75 plays to the Colonels 52 plays.

Demetre Baker lead all players with 75 yards rushing while Metheny had 14 , Bennett had 13 and Houston only 10.

T.J. Glover lead the receiver corps with 43 yards on three catches. Hollinger and Lavender both had three for 36 yards and 20 yards respectively. Jereme Jones caught two for 22 and Wes Saxton also caught two for 13. Also Corey Waldon returned from his knee surgery in preseason camp to catch his first pass of the season for seven yards.

Bennett would go 11-of-20 for 111 yards and no interceptions. Metheny would go 6-of-10 for 58 yards and would be sacked three times.

Chapuseaux would go 3-of-4, hitting field goals from 19, 21 and 34 yards but missing a 35 yarder.

“South Alabama is good up front, they rotated eight guys in there,” Nicholls Statate head coach Charlie Stubbs said. “We are kind of young up front in a couple of positions and we weren’t able to substitute as freely as they did. I feel like they kind of wore us down in that area. We weren’t able to really establish much of a running game, except what I could muster with LaQuinton Caston as a Wildcat quarterback, so that goes hand-in-hand. South Alabama made us one-dimensional, and we’re not good enough right now in the passing game to try and win just by dropping back and throwing the ball. Against a defense like that, we have to play really well, execute and stay out of long-yardage situations.”

“It was big for us to win this game. We lose that game and we’re reeling,” Coach Jones said. “I told the kids, ‘A win is a win.’ Ten years from now we’ll look back and remember we won the football game, but we also have to be honest with ourselves and what we have to work on. We were just a little out of sync on offense, and a lot of that had to do — and I’m not making excuses — with not having film on them. When you go into a game and you haven’t watched any film on them, you’re not able to watch their schemes. They changed some schemes up from two years ago. The first few times we had the ball, it was on the one or two- yard line, and we kind of got started on a bad note. I don’t think we adjusted very well, and that’s something we have to look at next week.”

The Jaguar defense played lights-out defense for the game. The Colonel defense schemed well to get enough pressure on the quarterback to cause problems and did well at times at containing the running game.

The Jaguar offense did well when they sped up the tempo can caught the defense in mismatches. But when they got something going, something would cause them to stall out. This will have to be worked on in the next week before the Jags travel to North Carolina State.

However, NC State lost to Tennessee to begin the season then squeaked out a win over FBS-transitional UConn on Saturday. We’ll have to wait and see what the Jags will do against the Wolfpack next saturday when they travel to Raleigh for their first road game of the season.

The Jags and Wolfpack will kickoff at 5pm CDT at Carter-Finley Stadium. The game will be streamed online by ESPN3.

South Alabama Is More Experienced Than Many Think

August 28, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Offensive line gets set while Coach Clark directs the defense during a practice early preseason camp.

You may already know the cliche “defense wins championships.” Over the last three college football seasons you can see that a stifling defense does win championships. While South Alabama is far from that level, they do have a very experienced defense.

The team was unclassified by the NCAA in their first two years of competition so the players who joined the team were allowed to participate in games during their redshirt season. This allows them to play in all five of their seasons of eligibility.

The defense is the more experienced side of the ball. Four seniors, six juniors and a sophomore on the first team defense. The senior starters are Anthony Taylor at Jack linebacker, Jake Johnson at Mike linebacker, B.J. Scott at safety and Andy Dalgleish at nose tackle.

Junior defensive starters include Montavious Williams at tackle, Alex Page at end, Clifton Crews at Sam linebacker, Enrique William at Will linebacker, Darrius Marrow at cornerback and Tyrell Pearson at cornerback. Alonzo Long is the only sophomore starting on the defense at strong safety. Long and Pearson are both JuCo transfers.

There are five sophomore starters on the offense with five of them entering into their third season of play. They are joined by one senior, two juniors and one redshirt freshman. Trey Clark at Center is the only Senior slated in as a starter with Tremain Smith listed as a possible starter at right tackle. Junior starters are Bryant Lavender with Greg Hollinger and Corey Waldon both listed as optional starters. Sophomore starters are Drew Dearman at left guard, Shaun Artz at right guard, C.J. Bennett at quarterback and Demetre Baker at running back with Wes Saxton at tight end, Ucambre Williams at left tackle, Melvin Meggs, Jereme Jones at receiver are all optional starters.

So when the Jags hit the field on *Thursday, they will be an experienced team ready for competition. While they are not eligible for the Sun Belt Conference championship hopefully the experience on the defense, and on offense for that matter, will translate into a very competitive season.

The size and experience is what worries UTSA defensive coordinator Neal Neathery. He mentioned that Baker and Kendall Houston took turns exploiting holes opened up by the offensive line in the Jaguars 30-27 win in the Alamodome. “Both of the (backs) they played were physical, strong, in between the tackles runners. I thought it was a game where we didn’t feel great about ourselves when it was over when it comes to who was the tougher team,” Neathery said.

“Just as a unit last year they were probably the toughest, most physical offensive line we played,” Neathery said. “They were really good, and their running backs had a lot to do with that.”

* Currently the Jaguars are set to kickoff on Thursday, August 30th against Texas-San Antonio but Tropical Storm Isaac could postpone the game.

Junior WR Corey Waldon Undergoes Knee Surgery

August 4, 2012 · Filed Under Football, News · Comment 

South Alabama’s Junior Wide Receiver Corey Waldon underwent knee surgery on Friday. Waldon, who was held out of practice on Thursday, will likely miss 3-5 weeks but aim to have him ready for the Jaguars season opener against UTSA on Thursday, August 30.

Trainer Jinni Frisbey said that his surgery went well.

Jags blue out the Reddies 28-3

October 30, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Myles Gibbon encouraging the team as they go to the sideline to start the game.

South Alabama rebounds from turnover fueled, double-overtime loss at Georgia state to force a school record seven turnovers in a 28-3 win over Henderson State. Demetre Baker and Jordan Means combined to account for 22 of the 28 points for the Jags while donning their all blue uniforms for the first time.

Last years game was much closer with the Jags icing the game with a late field goal to win 37-31. But the rematch was never in doubt really. Both teams went three-and-out on their first possessions, but Enrique William’s interception on the Reddies second drive got the offense in gear. They started at the HSU 25 and have first and goal on the two yard line, but three consecutive rushes, two by Houston and one by Baker could not get the ball into the end zone thus they would settle for the field goal.

On the Reddie third possession, Clifton Crews would force a fumble on their first play which would be recovered by Gabe Loper setting up Demetre Baker to rush for 16 and 7 yards respectfully for a touchdown to go up 10-0 in the span of about three minutes.

Then on the fourth Reddie possession, they would line up in the punt formation but would fake it and run but would be stopped short of the one yard they needed for the first down. This gave the Jags the ball at the Reddie 29 yard line. Baker would take it into the end zone again for his second touchdown of the game. What looked like a bad snap would be handled by Taylor Noon and pitched to Jordan Means to run with, but he would be caught failing to convert. This left the Jags leading 16-0 with 1:57 left in the first quarter.

After a HSU punt on another three-and-out, the Jags would start at their own 27 yard line. Jereme Jones would almost get caught for a loss, but would break a 65 yard run down to the Reddie 8 yard line before being tackled out of bounds. Jones would be injured on the play and taken to the sideline and eventually to the locker room.

The Jags would again fail to punch it in with 1st and goal from the Reddie 4 yard line on three consecutive runs by Baker. The Jags would settle for a field goal by Means what was shorter than an extra point to go up 19-0 with 12:52 left in the 2nd quarter.

Henderson State would finally move into Jaguar territory and get as far as the 43 yard line before the drive fizzled out and forcing a punt which was downed at the Jaguar 14 yard line.

The Jags Paul Bennett would catch a good pass from CJ Bennett but would fumble it to the Reddies at the Jaguar 42 yard line. But on 3rd and 6 on the Reddies possession, the Jags would force a fumble and Romelle Jones would recover it at the Jaguar 44 yard line.

The Jags would then march 56 yards in nine plays with CJ Bennett running it in from 9 yards out to cap off the drive. Means’ PAT would be blocked leaving the Jags lead 25-0 with 4:15 left in the 2nd quarter.

Henderson State would start at their own 32 yard line after a short kickoff was fair caught at their 32 yard line. The Reddies would then begin driving into Jaguar territory getting down to the 37 yard line. But the defense would hold on 4th and 11 at the Jaguar 42 to get the ball back.

The Jags would then use their hurry-up offense to try to put points on the board before halftime. Bennett would find Lamontis Gardner for 3 yards on first down. The Jags would call a time out with 41 seconds left in the 2nd quarter. Bennett would find Bryant Lavender for 8 yards and a first down at the HSU 47 with the Jags calling their 2nd time out of the half.

Bennett would find Corey Waldon for 13 yards down to the Reddie 34. Bennett would rush the offense up to the line and spike the ball to stop the clock. Bennett would tuck the ball and run for 6 yards before stepping out of bounds at the Reddie 28 yard line. After an incomplete pass on 3rd down, Means would line up for a 45 yard field goal into the wind with 9 seconds left until halftime. His kick would just barely make it over the crossbar giving the Jags a 28-0 halftime lead.

Henderson State would add a field goal with 33 seconds left in the 3rd quarter to break the shutout, however that would be the only score in the second half.

The first part of the second half was really sloppy for the Jags. After playing a penalty free first half, they would lose some composure in the second half.

It did give Coach Jones and the team to go deeper into their depth chart for a second time this season. At one point, there was only one starting player in the lineup on offense. JJ Keels saw plenty of time at running back and Greg Hollinger got more time than he had all season as well.

Romelle Jones continues to play like a beast on the defensive line. The secondary is playing thin without Damond Smith and BJ Scott. Jereme Jones suffered a bit of a hyper extension to his shoulder but is okay. We probably will not know if he is able to go on Thursday until Tuesday’s radio show.

Drew Dearman has been seeing more playing time on the offensive line and the coaches seem to be quite comfortable with his play. He did a great job on Saturday.

Coach Jones had the following to say at his post game press conference. “Those takeaways were big and we had a short field on offense a good bit tonight, and that’s always a good thing. I thought we really played a good game defensively for the entire game. We didn’t give up any big plays, and if we don’t do that then we are going to be very hard to score on. They did that tonight and I was proud of them.”

“We were prepared, the coaches had them prepared and we had a good week of practice,” he continued. “We match up with teams that are in the spread formation pretty well. I think our athletes fit the spread defensively, and we had a good pass rush tonight. That’s one thing we haven’t had in a while. We put pressure on the quarterback, and we were hitting them and trying to knock the ball loose.”

The Jags defense held the Reddies to 155 yards passing and a mere 55 yards rushing for only 210 total yards. While the Jags offense racked up 252 yards rushing and another 123 yards through the air for 375 for the game. The Jags also held a 37:06 to 22:54 time of possession advantage as well.

Demetre Baker had his first 100+ yard rushing game with 113 yards on 20 carries. Jereme Jones ran once for 65 yards, Myles Gibbon ran 7 times for 27 yards. JJ Keels ran 12 times for 27 yards. While Kendall Houston only carried the ball three times on the opening drive for four yards and that was his game.

CJ Bennett went 11-of-18 for 101 yards with one interception for the game. Myles Gibbon went 4-of-8 for 22 yards and no interceptions. Corey Walden and Bryant Lavender both caught three passes each. Waldon had 35 yards and Lavender had 26 yards.

The Jags have a quick turn-around as they host Mississippi Valley State on Thursday night with kickoff scheduled for 6:30pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The Jags will be dressed out in their white uniform, so the athletic department is asking the fans to wear white to the game.

Jags drop second straight game on the road

September 25, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Coach Turner working with the offensive line between series.

The Jaguars football team put itself in an almost impossible position at Kent State on Saturday. The Golden Flashes held a 26-0 advantage at halftime and lead 33-0 early in the 3rd quarter before the Jaguars mounted a comeback.

South Alabama’s comeback was valiant and furious but fell 23 yards short of a potential game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion, 33-25 in the first of three meetings between these two schools. The Jaguars fall to 2-2 on the season after losing for the second week in a row to an FBS team. The Golden Flashes improve to 1-3 with their first victory of the season.

The Jags were behind 7-0 in the first quarter, but allowed 19 points in the second quarter to fall behind 26-0 at halftime to end the worst half of football in the programs short history to date. Defensively, South Alabama was being pushed off the ball giving the Kent State quarterback time in the pocket, opening gaps for running backs and throwing lanes for the receivers. Offensively, the Kent State defensive was causing fits for the offensive line, closing gaps when the running back got there and had tight coverage on the receivers.

The first quarter appeared to be a defensive standoff. South Alabama totalled five yards on nine plays. Four rushes netted 2 yards and 2-of-5 passing netted 3 yards. Kent State rushed 16 times for 53 yards and was 2-of-4 passing for 21 yards. The Jags only possessed the ball for 4:21 in that first quarter.

The second quarter was more of the same. The Jags rushed five times for 14 yards and was 3-of-11 passing for 25 yards and two interceptions while only possessing the ball for 5:38 in the quarter.

The halftime stats was demonstrative of how the first half went. Kent State scored 26 points with 13 first downs. Rushed 31 times for 142 yards while going 6-of-11 passing for 56 yards and no interceptions. They were 7-of-11 on third down conversions while only being were flagged twice for 20 yards. They held the ball for 20:01.

South Alabama on the other hand, has only two first downs. They rushed nine times for 16 yards and was 5-of-16 passing for 28 yards and two interceptions. The Jags punted five times for an average of 43.2 yards per punt. They were penalized three times for 36 yards and also went 1-of-7 on third down conversions.

After forcing the Kent State offense to punt on a three and out to start the second half, Kendall Houston would be caught behind the line and fumble the ball. The Golden Flashes would pick it up and return it 27 yards to the Jaguar 11 yard line. Two plays later they would make it 33-0 with 11:36 left in the 3rd quarter.

This is when the Jaguars finally came to life. Demetre Baker would spark the team with a 37 yard kick return to put the Jags at their own 40 yard line. Bennett would find Corey Besteda for 37 yards to the Kent 23 yard line. Bennett would then run the draw for another 18 yards to the Kent 5 yard line. Kendall Houston would gain three on the first down play. Bennett would try to find Kevin Helms in the end zone but it fell incomplete, then facing 3rd and goal at the 2 yard line, Coach Jones calls a time out with 9:48 left in the quarter. Out of the time out, Bennett would give the ball to Baker who would take it in for the first Jags points of the game. Jordan Means would add the PAT to make it 33-7.

After a 17 yard kick return, Kent State would start at their own 18 yard line against a rested and rejuvinated defense after halftime. After a two yard rush and an incomplete pass, Kent State quarterback Spencer Keith would find his receiver for an 18 yard pass but Jake Johnson would force a fumble that would be recovered by Ken Barefield at the Kent State 42 yard line.

Bennett would throw an incomplete pass to begin the series but would run a quarterback keeper for 11 yards and a first down at the Kent State 31 yard line. Baker would lose a yard on first down, but Bennett would find Kevin Helms this time for 21 yards to the Kent State 11 yard line. Back to back rushes by Baker would gain 3 yards and no gain. Kent State would call a time out with 5:28 left facing a third down and 7 and their 8 yard line. Bennett’s pass to Bryant Lavender would fall incompleted and the Jags would settle for a 25 yard field goal by Jordan Means to inch closer, 33-10.

Kent State’s next drive started at their 28 yard line and would manage one first down and span five plays and 17 yards taking 1:54 off the clock. A short is fielded by Jereme Jones at the Jaguar 22 yard line and returned 7 yards to the 29.

Bennett would loft up a big pass to Bryant Lavender spanning 61 yards to the Kent State 10 yard line. Lavender would fumble and the Jags would recover it at the 10. Houston would rush for five yards to the 5 yard line, but would give four of it back on the next play. On 3rd and goal Bennett’s pass to Waldon would go incomplete. A bold but necessary move to put points on the board led to Coach JOnes’ decision to go for it on fourth down. Bennett would find his clutch receiver Jereme Jones in the end zone for the touchdown with 1:05 left in the third quarter. Means would add the PAT to shrink the lead to 33-17.

A 28 yard kick return would put Kent State at their own 37 yard line to start their next possession. A short pass for two yards and a one yard rush
would end the quarter.

Starting the fourth quarter, Kent State faced a third down and 7. Keith’s pass would fall incomplete forcing the Golden Flashes to punt again. Jereme Jones would field the punt at the 13 yard line and return it 15 yards to put the Jags in business at their 28 yard line.

Again the Jaguar offense came out with momentum. Bennett would find Lavender for 7 yards, then Baker would rush for five more yards to the Jaguar 40 yard line and a first down. Then Bennett would find his go to receiver Bryant Lavender for 19 yards to get into Kent territory at their 41 yard line. Bennett would run for six yards, Baker would rush for 13 and a first down at the Kent 22. Houston would rush for six yards and Bennett would run for seven more and another Jaguar first down. Houston would rush for four more yards to the Kent 5 yard line. But two consecutive incomplete passes would force another fourth down decision for Coach Jones. Bennett’s pass to his clutch receiver would fall incomplete and turn the ball over on downs to Kent State.

Kent would go three and out after only gaining 8 yards during the possession. Jereme Jones would field the punt at the Jaguar 45 and return it eight yards to the Kent State 47 yard line.

Another big pass play from Bennett to Waldon would cover 42 yards to the Kent 5 yard line. A substitution infraction would move the ball to the three yard line. Houston would rush for one yard then Baker would punch it in on second down. Playing catch-up with the points, the Jags went for the two-point conversion and Bennett would find Kevin Helms in the left side of the end zone to pull within one score of the Golden Flashes at 33-25.

Kent State would return the kickoff to the 22 yard line and start their drive with 5:59 left in the game. The defense and coaches knew that they were going to give the ball to their big running back Trayion Durham, which they did. On first down the ran for 3 yards however Damond Smith would be flagged for a personal foul giving the Golden Flashes 15 extra yards out to their 40 yard line and a first down. Durham would rush for one yard on first down then on the next play he would rush for nine, but Kent State would be flagged for a personal foul themselves, thus backing them up to their 26 yard line facing second down.

Durham would rush again for two yards on second down. Rob Hollomon would rush for eight more yards on third and 22 and the Jags would call a time out with 3:22 left before the Kent State punt. Jereme Jones would receive the punt at the Jaguar 19 yard line and return it 10 yards.

On first down, Bennett’s pass would fall incomplete intended for Waldon. The second down pass intended for Lavender would also fall incomplete. Bennett’s third down pass would be intercepted at the Jaguar 47 yard line and returned one yard. However, the Jags didn’t give up.

On first down Durham rushed for three yards and the clock was running since the South Alabama was out of time outs. Durham rushed for two yards on second down. Then Anthony Meray would be stopped for no gain at the Jaguar 43 yard line. Kent State would let the play clock expire before punting.

After a touchback, the Jags started at their own 20 yard line with 29 seconds and 80 yards between them an possibly tying the game. Bennett’s pass intended for Lamontis Gardner fell incomplete on first down. Then his pass intended for Greg Hollinger would also fall incomplete. On third down Bennett would find Jereme Jones open for 23 yards and a first down out to the Jaguar 43 yard line. The offense would rush to the line and spike the ball stopping the clock with 4 seconds showing. Bennett would run around and eventually toss up a ball that would be caught by Corey Besteda but he would be caught trying to get to the left sidelines at the Kent State 23 yard line ending the game.

The final stats was much better than the halftime stats. Jags would have 14 first downs to Kent’s 16. The Jags would gain 93 yards on 27 rushing attempts for a 3.4 yard per rush average. Kent State would rush 49 times for 187 yards for a 3.8 yard per rush average.

Jags quarterbacks would go 14-of-38 for 281 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Kent State would go 10-of-19 for 94 yards and a touchdown. The Jags would outgain the Golden Flashes 374 yards to 281. Kent would win the time of possession 34:59 to the Jags 25:01.

C.J. Bennett would be the leading rusher with five rushes for 40 yards. Demetre Baker would have 10 touches for 28 yards, Kendall Houston had 11 touches for 23 yards and Myles Gibbon ran once for two yards in the first half.

Bennett got the most passing stats going 14-of-36 for 281 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Gibbon threw once and it was incomplete. Bryant Lavender caught five passes for 97 yards, Jereme Jones had three for 31 yards and a touchdown. Besteda has two for 71 yards, Kevin Helms had two for 32 yards and Waldon and Gardner had one catch each for 42 and 8 yards respectively.

The Jaguar defense held Durham to 72 yards on 27 carries and Anthony Meray to 64 yards on 13 carries.

Defensively Jake Johnson totalled 17 tackles, 6 solo and a forced fumble. Ken Barefield totalled 10 tackles, 4 solo and a fumble recovery. No Jag recorded a sack. Kent State only got one sack.

The average field position was interesting. In the first quarter, the Jags average field position was the Jaguar 15 to Kent State’s Jaguar 46 yard line. It improved in the second quarter where the Jags averaged their own 32 while Kent averaged their own 41 yard line. The third quarter, the Jags averaged the Jaguar 42 yard line to Kent State’s own 38 yard line. Then the fourth quarter the Jags averaged their own 32 and Kent’s worst of the game, their own 26 yard line.

Coach Jones commented after the game. “The first half was just a comedy of errors.  We fell behind 26-0 at halftime, but we talked to them and they came out ready to play,” he said.  “I didn’t think we were ready to play early, and I take the blame on that. But the field position was horrible in the first half, and turnovers and all of the things we talk about that we can’t do we had happen. In the second half, we came back and played our football and started moving the ball, scoring and the defense started stopping them. We played a good second half, but came up just a little bit short. I’m real proud of the way they came back. Most teams beat themselves and I keep preaching that, we just have to make sure we avoid doing that.”

Talking about the second half adjustments he and his staff made, Coach Jones said, “We changed a few things in the running game, and made some checks and started running toward the boundary. That helped us, and we started pitching and catching it pretty good. But we just got some momentum; we never got any momentum in the first half.”

South Alabama gets a much needed week off before hitting the road again for their road game against the University of Texas San-Antonio on October 8th. This game is currently scheduled to be aired on the Longhorn Network.

Kent State preview

September 22, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Jaguar secondary

The Jaguar secondary going through pregame warmups at NC State.

The South Alabama Jaguars are rebounding from a loss for the first time in the programs short history. While the Jaguars did lots of good things in the game against NC State, they will have to continue to improve in order to be ready for their next opponent.

Coach Jones will be the first to say that the Jags played a great game, but did not make enough plays to win the game. They have flaws that they must correct. While Kent state has faced some very tough challenges in their first games of the season, they are still a good football team.

Coach Jones said that he and his team know that the Golden Flashes are a good offensive team and are also known for their defense. “They were top five in the country last year against the running game,” he said. “They have one of the best players I have seen in Roosevelt Nix on the defensive line – he was a preseason All-American. He is undersized, but can really play. Alabama didn’t block him, so we have to be ready for those guys because they are really good.”

In their first three games, Kent State has rushed for 181 yards total, -9 against Alabama. They have thrown for 294 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. Their defense has allowed 515 yards and eight touchdowns rushing and 461 yards passing with two passing touchdowns but have five interceptions to their credit.

Through their first three games, Kent State has only scored 19 points while giving up 105 points. But they have only allowed just over 325 yards per game and the defensive front forced five turnovers against Alabama in their opening game of the season.

In Monday’s press conference, Corey Waldon said, We are hungry — we want it. We feel like we let ourselves down. We had a meeting as a team after the game, and we felt like that it was on us to win that game and we let it get out of reach. It’s on us to go into practice this week hungry and get better.”

Kent State’s numbers are skewed because they have played some difficult opponents in Alabama and Kansas State under first year head coach Darrell Hazell. Coach Hazell spent the previous seven seasons at Ohio State University under Jim Tressel where he coached wide receivers. He has coached a number of All-Big Ten players with six of them currently playing in the NFL. He has also coached at Rutgers, West Virginia and Army among others.

While on paper this looks like the Jaguars should be able to win the game. If they played like they did against NC State, they will definitely have a chance if they capitalize on turnovers and protect the ball themselves. While it seems that the Jags are putting the loss behind them and preparing for their next trip, will they be able to do that when they hit the field in Ohio? I think they will be able to.

The Jags and the Golden Flashes kickoff at 2:30pm in Kent, Ohio on Saturday. The game will be shown for free on kentstatesports.com.

Jags streak end with loss at NC State

September 17, 2011 · Filed Under Football · 1 Comment 
CJJ with NC State Coach in pre-game warm-ups

Coach Joey Jones speaks with an NC State coach during team warm-ups.

South Alabama may have lost the game if you looked at the scoreboard, but if you watched the game and look at the stats, you will see it wasn’t a total defeat. In only it’s third year of football, the Jags proved that they have come a very long way in a very short time.

Facing their first FBS (Division I-A) team, the Jags performed well. It’s easy to say that NC State now knows who South Alabama is.

The game by the numbers. NC State outgained the Jags through the air 297 – 182 yards. However the Jags outgained the Wolfpack 104 – 95 on the ground. State held the overall yardage gained 392 to 286 yards.

The Jags gained 18 first downs to State’s 19. The Jags averaged 3.2 yards per rush on their 33 attempts while State rushed 37 times and averaged 2.6 yards per rush. The Jags ran 65 offensive plays to 59 for the Wolfpack.

The Jags punted four times for an average of 41.8 yards per punt. The Jags also held the time-of-possession advantage 32:45 to State’s 27:15. South went 7-of-15 on third down conversions while State was 5-of-9.

Unfortunately the Jags were flagged nine times for 50 yards while State was only flagged once for 15 yards.

Kendall Houston rushed 18 times for 117 yards with a long of 24 and averaged 6.5 yards per touch. Demetre Baker added 18 yards on eight carries with the Jags first touchdown against a FBS opponent. CJ Bennett went 17-of-32 for 182 yards and two interceptions.

Corey Waldon lead the Jaguars receivers with 5 catches for 57 yards. Jereme Jones added five catches for 35 yards. Bryant Lavender caught three passes for 39 yards. Besteda, Houston and Gardner all had receptions as well.

Jordan Means made field goals of 46 and 36 yards but missed an attempt from 44 yards.

The Jags defense played very well most of the time. Jake Johnson paced the team with eight total tackles, five solo and a sack. Charles Harris also added eight total tackles, three solo. Romelle Jones sacked Glennon twice for 17 yards. Alex Page also added a sack for the Jags total of four sacks.

With a cleaner game penalty wise and some better coverage on a few big plays, the Jags would have made this a much closer game that it ended up being. Even with those miscues, the Wolfpack did not have an easy game like they first thought.

The Jags have some things to work on this week in preparation for their trip to Kent State. But they have many things that fans and coaches can be proud of. Being outsized and out manned, the Jaguars played with heart, and when they played smart and disciplined, they outplayed the Wolfpack.

South Alabama defeats Lamar 30-8

September 12, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Corey Waldon Touchdown

Corey Waldon makes a leaping touchdown grab.

The Jaguars greatly improved from week one to week two when they hosted Lamar University at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday. This was the first time the Jaguars faced an opponent for the second time in the programs history. But the outcome was similar as they won 30-8 and improved their all-time record to 19-0.

In the Jaguars first game, they had to overcome four turnovers to defeat West Alabama 20-10. After an extra two days between games, the Jaguars returned to the field and played brilliantly against the Cardinals.

The Jags outgained the Cards 349-238 in total yards while rushing for over 200 yards for the second straight game this season. Demetre Baker was the leading rusher with 13 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown, half of his yards came on the opening drive. Kendall Houston added 13 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown. Myles Gibbon added 45 yards in the second half.

Bennett went 9-for-14 for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Bryant Lavender caught three passes for 41 yards. Corey Waldon caught 2 passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. Kevin Helms caught 2 for 36 yards, Lamontis Gardner had one for 10 and Jereme Jones caught one for 10 yards and a touchdown.

Coach Jones summarized the improvement this week by saying, “I thought it was a much better game this week. We played much more soundly and stayed away from the turnover game,” said Coach Jones. “Offensively, we were much more efficient with the football and defensively we played well again. I felt like it was a good game. Lamar is really talented, they are going to win a lot of ballgames. We just played hard tonight and some good things happened by the way we approached the game. Our week of practice was much better, and our backs were against the wall a little. We knew this team could come in here and beat us, and we came out and played really well.”

The Jags will turn their focus towards North Carolina State and their first ever game against a FBS school. Kickoff is scheduled for 5pm Central (6pm Eastern) in Raleigh, North Carolina. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN3.com.

West Alabama game notes

September 4, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Demetre Baker, Paul Bennett and Kendall Houston line up in the wishbone at the goal line.

The Jaguars get the job done, but it wasn’t pretty. The Jags had to shake off four turnovers in the first half to get the 20-10 victory and extend their all-time record to 18-0.

The Jaguars racked up 205 yards on the ground and another 151 yards in the air in the game. The rushing attack was lead by Kendall Houston who ran for 78 yards on 11 touches for two touchdowns after being suspended for the first half with three other players. Ellis Hill added 40 yards on seven carries in the start. Demetre Baker, another player suspended for the first half, added 39 yards on six carries. C.J. Bennett ran for 31 yards on eight runs with a touchdown. Santuan McGee chipped in 17 yards on four carries.

C.J. Bennett was 12-of-21 for 151 yards and three touchdowns with one sack. Bryant Lavender lead the receivers with three catches for 55 yards. Corey Waldon also had three catches for 21 yards. Jereme Jones added 27 yards with his two catches. Four other receivers had receptions in the game, highlighted by Lamontis Gardner with a 28 yard reception.

South Alabama gained one more first down than West Alabama with 18 to their 17. Both teams gained 10 first downs on the ground. The Jaguars rushed for 205 yards on 36 carries to UWA’s 167 yards on 47 carries. USA averaged 5.7 yards per rush to UWA’s 3.6 yards per rush. Also the Jags only lost 10 yards while running the ball compared to UWA’s 49 yards lost rushing.

USA was 12-for-21 passing with three interceptions for 151 yards while averaging 7.2 yards per attempt and 12.6 yards per completion. UWA went 10-for-22 passing with two interceptions. They averaged 4.6 yards per play and 10.1 yards per completion.

South Alabama gained 356 yards on 57 offensive plays with an average of 6.2 yards per play. USA fumbled three times and lost one, both of the recovered fumbles were by Baker. West Alabama ran 69 plays while gaining 268 yards while averaging 3.9 yards per play. They fumbled twice and recovered both of them.

UWA won the time of possession battle 32:39 to 27:21 and also possessing the ball for 10:18 in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Gary Johnston was the Tigers leading rusher with 72 yards on 22 runs and a touchdown. He also threw for 101 yards while going 10-for-22. His favorite receiver was Gerald Worsham with five receptions for 44 yards. Ken may added 48 yards on three catches. Two other players had receptions as well.

UWA’s Gabe Poe lead all players with 12 total stops. Enrique Williams lead the Jags with 11 total stops, five solo. B.J. Scott  added 10 more stops, 8 of them solo. Ken Barefield was credited with a sack for 12 yards and Clifton Crews with Enrique Willams both credited with half a sack.

After the game Coach Jones commented on the game. “Not having Kendall and Demetre the first half didn’t help, but they are great running backs,” he said. “Those two guys are probably the core of our offense running the football. We’re a very good football team with those two guys running it.”

“Obviously it wasn’t a great ball game; we didn’t play extremely well though I thought West Alabama played really hard,” Coach Jones continued.  “When you have four turnovers in the first half, it’s not a good thing — we have to learn to protect the football. We had some penalties and untimely things happen, so we have to go back to work and see how we can get better.”

“But I think that was a great second half. We pounded the ball at them and ran it really well, we got Kendall and Demetre in there and controlled the ball,” he continued. “I thought we played better in the second half, but we have to play four quarters to beat good teams and we just didn’t do that tonight; we didn’t play extremely well the whole game.”

West Alabama coach Will Hall commented after the game as well. “I thought they wore us down a little bit. It’s a credit to them and their defense as well. We came out offensively in the second half and went three-and-out, and USA got it and went down and scored. There were some good adjustments by USA at halftime.”

“We spilled our guts out on the field. I expected our kids to do that, but I’m so proud of how they did. Credit to coach Jones and coach [Bill] Clarlk. They do a great job and have a great thing going here at South Alabama. I think these are the two most up-and-coming programs in the state of Alabama. I can’t say enough though about what they do at South Alabama and I can’t say enough about our kids’ effort tonight. I really think we have a chance to have a good D-II football team.”

Tremain Smith went off in the first half with the trainers looking at his hand, plus Melvin Meggs had to come off the field but redshirt Drew Dearmon came in and performed well on the line. Meggs should be back next week and hopefully Smith’s re-aggravated injury isn’t serious.

South Alabama will host Lamar on September 10th with kickoff slated for 4pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

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