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Four Jags Earn Conference Honors

December 5, 2012 · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference · Comment 

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.

Four Jaguars have been honored with All-Sun Belt Conference honors on Wednesday.

First-team selection Jake Johnson was the top tackler in the conference. Alex Page was voted to the second-team All-Sun Belt team. While B.J. Scott and Enrique Williams were chosen for honorable mention recognition.

Voting was conducted by the 10 head coaches in the conference and selected members of the media. This was the first time in the programs four year history that they were able to be selected for All-Conference honors.

Jake Johnson is a 6’1″, 240-pound senior linebacker from Fredericksburg, VA. He is the only player in the conference that averages double-digits in tackles after totally 131 total stops in 13 games this season. He ranks third in the conference with 15 tackles for loss with at least one in every game this season. He also has three sacks and six quarterback hurries. He led the team in stops seven times this season and had double-digit tackles in a game five times this season.

Alex Page, a 6’1″ 245-pound junior defensive lineman from Prattville, AL, ranked fifth in the conference with six sacks and eighth with 11.5 tackles for loss. He recorded a career-best 64 tackles which ranked fifth on the team and the most among the Jags defensive linemen. He also became the first player at his position in Jag history to record double-digit tackles with 10 against FAU.

B.J. Scott is a 5’11” 205-pound senior safety from Prichard, AL. He transferred to South Alabama from the University of Alabama with two years of eligibility. Scott ended the season with 84 tackles, six of them for a loss. He also had two interceptions, three passes broken up and two forced fubmles with a fumble recovery. He had four games with double-digit tackles including a career-best 12 in the season finale against Hawaii. He finished tied for 15th in the conference this season with an average of 6.5 tackles per game.

Enrique Williams is a 6′, 235-pound junior linebacker from Mobile, AL. He finished the season with 105 tackles, which was good enough for seventh in the conference, with six of them for losses. He finished four games with double-digit tackles and led the team in tackles on five occasions. He had a career best 12 tackles against then #23 ranked Mississippi State and again at Arkansas State in the Jags first ever conference road game.

The defense, led by these four individuals, allowed an average of 383.7 yards per game to finish the season ranked second in the conference in total defense and ranked 3rd in the conference against the pass. The Jags also led the conference in red zone defense and was second in opponent third-down conversion percentage as well.

 

Jags Practice In Shells On Tuesday

November 7, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Enrique Williams combines with another Jaguar to tackle a FIU runner.

South Alabama deviated from their usual schedule on Tuesday morning by practicing in shells rather than full pads. Coach Joey Jones mentioned conserving energy in a long season as a reason for doing that. Though the intensity and work was the same as if the team had actually wore full pads.

“We just felt like we’re at least 13 or 14 weeks into practice, and this just gives them a little (break),” Jones said. “We didn’t practice any different, we just took the pads off. A lot of teams go to that late in the year to just give them a little mental break.”

One area of concentration was to make sure to get reps for backup players in every phase of the game. Jones noted that it was very important for those players who don’t get to see as many reps in practice as the starters to be ready in a moment’s notice.

“I thought we had pretty good focus,” he said of the practice. “We’ve got to make sure that our back-up guys, guys that are on our second string, are ready to go too. I think that sometimes you lose focus as a back-up but you’re one injury away from playing. We’ve got to get with those guys and make sure that they’re ready to go. Other than that, I think we had a good practice.”

Linebacker Jake Johnson did not practice on Tuesday as his right arm is in a sling. Though the injury is not serious and is expected to be back at practice on Wednesday. Johnson continues to be the leading tackler in the conference with 92 as he collected 15 total against FIU, 12 of them solo. He average 10.2 tackles per game.

Randon Carnathan’s season is over as Coach Jones said during his radio show that he had a torn ACL.

Linebacker Enrique Williams ranks 4th in the conference with 82 tackles and averagind 9 tackles per game. Alex Page is ranked #2 in the conference with five sacks. Pat Moore is tied for 4th in the same category with four in eight games.

Moore also ranks #7 in the conference in tackles for loss while Page ranks 8th in the same category.

Jags Fall To FIU After Valiant Rally In Second Half

November 3, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Bryant Lavender hauls in the pass from Ross Metheny at the goal line against FIU, but would be called down inside the one yard line.

South Alabama put up a valiant fight in the second half but just could not erase the first half deficit to fall at home against Florida International 28-20.

Coming into the game the FIU Golden Panthers were chosen to win the Sun Belt Championship in the preseason, but where 1-8 and were 0-5 in the Sun Belt. Head coach Joey Jones told everyone all week that FIU was a better team than what their record said. They definitely were a big team and played well in the first half.

The South Alabama defense held FIU to 31 yards in the second half, a mere 18 yards rushing and 13 yards passing to help the team fight it’s way back into the game.

The Jags scored first but FIU would score 28 consecutive points in the first half to go into halftime with a 28-7 lead. But the Jags would not allow them to score again for the remainder of the game.

“Obviously we dug too big a hole in the game and got behind 28-7 at the half,” coach Jones said. “We made a good comeback but we didn’t score down there in the red zone in the second half. That was the tale-tale sign of the game right there. We dug too big a hole early.”

“They’re very athletic on the defensive front and they just get after you,” Jones said of FIU. “They held Western Kentucky to 14 points and we knew they were good on defense.”

South Alabama’s first score came on their first possession. They drove 53 yards in nine plays after Pat Moore recovered a fumble. T.J. Glover scored on a 15 yard run around the left side, which was his first rushing touchdown since November of the 2010 season, to take a 7-0 lead with 7:36 left in the first quarter.

FIU would answer the Jaguar score with a 76 yard drive on eight plays and capped off by a 26 yard touchdown pass from Jake Medlock to Willis Wright. They would score again with a 27 yard pass before the first quarter ended to take a 14-7 lead.

In the second quarter FIU would score their third touchdown of the game on a 19 yard run by quarterback Medlock with 7:45 left in the second quarter to make the score 21-7 FIU.

Later Kendrick Rhodes would score with on a 2 yard rush to pull ahead 28-7 with 1:07 left in the second quarter.

The Jags would down the second half kickoff for a touchback to start on the 25 yard line. On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Ross Metheny would find an open Corey Besteda over the middle and he would take it in for a 75 yard touchdown to cut the FIU lead down to two scores, 28-14. That touchdown reception was the longest pass play in school history.

The Jaguar defense would hold FIU to a three and out on their first possession of the second half. Glover would return the punt down to the FIU 19 yard line, but they would not be able to put the ball into the end zone. Michel Chapuseaux would connect on the 39 yard field goal attempt to further cut into the FIU lead, 28-17.

FIU would drive from their own 32 yard line down to the Jaguar 42 before the drive would stall out and force a punt. Glover would call for the fair catch at the Jaguar 9 yard line. On third and seven from their own 30 yard line, Demetre Baker would rush for four yards but would fumble the ball and it would be recovered by FIU at the Jaguar 33 yard line.

Again the Jaguar defense would force a three and out. The FIU punt would fly into the end zone for a touchback.

On first down from their own 20 yard line, Metheny would run for 13 yards out to the 33 yard line. After Terrance Timmons rushed for a five yard gain, Metheny would hit Wes Saxton for a 24 yard gain to the FIU 38 yard line. Metheny would come back and hit Corey Besteda for an 11 yard gain to the FIU 27 yard line. Then the Jags would be forced to call a time out.

After the time out, Metheny would complete another pass to Saxton for five more yards to the FIU 22 yard line. Metheny would run for two yards to set up a third and 3 at the FIU 20 yard line, when FIU would call a time out with 19 seconds left in the third quarter.

After the time out, Metheny would complete a pass to Bryant Lavender for 13 yards to the FIU 7 yard line and the end of the fourth quarter. After the break, Trey Fetner would come in to run the wildcat for a three yard gain to the FIU 4 yard line. The Jags would be forced to call a time out as the play clock was running down.

After the time out, Metheny would complete a pass to Lavender again to inside the one yard line. Fetner would come in again to take a snap from under center, but Demetre Baker, who had lined up at tight end, moved early to draw a false start penalty. Instead of third and less than one, it becomes a third and goal from the five yard line. Metheny’s pass would fall incomplete intended for Lavender again. Chapuseaux’s kick would split the uprights to make the game a one score game at 28-20 with 13:05 left in the game.

Yet again the Jags defense would hold strong and force a three and out. After a 36 yard punt the Jags would start at their own 25 yard line.

After being sacked for five yard, Metheny would run for 20 yards out to the Jaguar 40 yard line. On first down at the FIU 47 yard line, Metheny would hit Saxton again for 25 yards down to the FIU 22 yard line. Terrance Timmons would then run three consecutive times for 2, 8 and 4 yards respectively to put the ball at the FIU 8 yard line. Houston would then run for two yards to set up a third down and four at the FIU 6 yard line. Metheny’s pass intended for Saxton in the end zone would be tipped and fly incomplete for a fourth down. Chapuseaux’s kick would bounce off of the left upright, no good with 5:17 left in the game.

The Jags would force yet another three and out to get the ball back with 4:15 left in the game. After driving from their 33 yard line down to the FIU 43 yard line, Metheny would throw three consecutive incomplete passes to face a fourth down and 10. Demetre Baker would take the pitch and gain seven yards to turn the ball over on downs with 3:00 left in the game.

Once more the Jags would force a three and out and get the punt at the Jaguar 31 yard line with 35 seconds left in the game.

Metheny would be flushed out of the pocket and goes down after gaining one yard. They would get up to the line and spike the ball. On third and nine, Metheny’s pass would fall incomplete then the fourth down pass would fly high and be intercepted at the Jaguar 32 yard line. FIU would kneel on the ball once to run the final seconds off the clock.

Overall the Jags led in all offensive categories. The Jags rushed for 188 yards to FIU’s 181, threw for 270 yards to FIU’s 153 for a total yardage of 458 for the Jags to 334 for the Golden Panthers. The Jags had 22 first downs in the game to FIU’s 20 and the Jags held a 30:07 to 29:53 time of possession advantage.

The Jags committed four penalties for 33 yards while FIU committed five penalties for 49 yards in the game.

Unfortunately leading all of those statistical categories does not mean much when you don’t convert that into points on the scoreboard.

Demetre Baker beat out Ross Menthey for the leading rusher for the Jaguars. Baker rushed 15 times for 74 yards while Metheny rushed eight times for 56 yards. Glover also ran four times for 30 yards and Timmons rushed eight times for 27 yards. Fetner and Houston also got carries in the game.

Metheny went 19-of-37 for 270 yards a touchdown and two interceptions. He also took two sacks in the game.

Wes Saxton was Metheny’s favorite target in the game with six receptions for 92 yards. But Corey Besteda had the most receiving yards with 96 on three catches including the 75 yard touchdown catch to open the second half. Lavender caught four passes for 26 yards, Jereme Jones caught three for 34 yards. Waldon, Glover and Baker also caught passes in the game.

FIU’s Kendrick Rhodes rushed 27 times in the game for 149 yards to lead all rushers. Quarterback Jake Medlock was 9-of-19 for 153 yards and two touchdowns.

Jake Johnson lead all defenders with 15 total tackles, seven of them being solo including one sack and a quarterback hurry. Alex Page, Enrique Williams and B.J. Scott all were next on the team with six total tackles. Enrique Willaims had one pass breakup and two quarterback hurries as well.

Montavious Williams and Will Thompson both recorded sacks in the game.

While some fans were disappointed that the Jags let a win get away from them, it is still amazing to think that in the Jags first season as an FBS transitional team we are disappointed that we should have won a game against a fellow FBS and Sun Belt team.

The Jags will travel to Denton, Texas to take on North Texas. Kickoff is scheduled for 4pm according to the schedule on the UNT Football website.

Jags Fall In Monroe 38-24

October 28, 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.


The South Alabama Jaguars fell 38-24 at Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday night. Jereme Jones caught two touchdowns in the game to give him a team-leading five touchdowns on the season.

Jones had a career high seven catches for 62 yards. His two touchdown catches in the game tied the school record set by Courtney Smith in 2009. Demetre Baker recorded his first 100-yard rushing game of the season with 115 yards on 14 carries for the Jags.

Ross Metheny was 21-of-41 for 211 yards with a career long 21 yard run as well. Bryant Lavender caught six pass for 33 yards while Gabe Loper had three catches for 48 yards. Baker’s 100-yard effort was the first for him since Henderson State last year.

ULM quarterback Kolton Browning completed 23-of-35 attempts for 250 yards. Brent Leonard had nine catches for 126 yards and four touchdown catches.

“We played pretty good football for three quarters, and we played tough. ULM is a very good football team,” said Jaguar head coach Joey Jones. “I’m proud of the way we played for three quarters, but they took the game under control a little bit in the fourth quarter. Their quarterback and receivers made some great plays. There were some things we could have done better, but I’m proud of where we are and what we accomplished today. We have to be honest with ourselves the negative things that happened, if we fix them, we’re probably in the game even more. But the positive side of it is we’re pretty close to a team that is really good in the conference, and is probably the top team in the league.”

“Overall, I’m proud of the team,” he concluded. “We just have to work on us. We’ll start fixing some things here and there, and we’re going to be there.”

Enrique Williams led the Jaguar defense with 11 tackles which was his third double-digit tacklet game in a row. Jake Johnson added nine tackles with two for a loss. Terrell Brigham had eight solo tackles, an interceptions and another pass break-up. Clifton Crews and B.J. Scott both had six tackles with two for losses.

South Alabama scored first late in the first quarter on a four play 72 yard drive that spanned only 47 seconds. After back-to-back dropped passes had the Jags facing third and 10 at its own 28 yard line when Demetre Baker broke free for a 61 yard run up the middle, the Jags longest play from scrimmage this season. Then Metheny found Jones in the end zone on the next play to take the 7-0 lead.

After ULM tied the game at 7, the Jags took the next possession and covered 86 yards in 10 plays to retake the lead. Facing third and 10 at the ULM 37, Jones would draw a pass interference penalty that would move the ball 15 yards with an automatic first down. Then, facing another third and 10, Metheny would find Loper in the end zone for the touchdown for the 14-7 lead.

ULM would tie the game again with under 2 minutes left until halftime. The Jags next possession would be a three-and-out. The Scott Garber punt would be blocked and ULM would have the ball at the Jaguar 37 yard line with 28 seconds left until halftime. After a 15 yard completion and a six yard run, the Jags would take a time out with 10 seconds left to prepare their defense. But Browning would still find Leonard in the end zone for a touchdown with six seconds left to take a 21-14 lead into halftime.

The Jags would put together a big 13 play, 93 yard drive to tie the game at 21 with 4:24 left in the quarter. Baker would keep the drive alive with a two yard run on fourth and one on the drive. Trey Fetner would cap it off with a two yard run.

ULM would pull away by scoring the next 17 points. The Jags would add a field goal in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 38-24.

The Jags return home to face Florida International with a 2:30pm kickoff scheduled at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. This weekend will be Hall of Fame weekend with former Jags Juan Pierre, P.J. Walters, Frantisek Babej and Cindy Summers all being inducted into the Jaguar Hall of Fame. They will be honored on the field during halftime.

South Alabama Post First FBS, Sun Belt Victory

October 21, 2012 · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference · 2 Comments 

The South Alabama Jaguars celebrate their double-overtime win against Florida Atlantic on Saturday. The win was the program’s first against an FBS opponent and also the first against a Sun Belt Conference team.

Lead by defense in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars fight their way back from a 14 point deficit in order to win it’s first ever game against a FBS opponent and also their first ever Sun Belt Conference.

Florida Atlantic would go up by 14 points early in the fourth quarter on a six yard rush on 3rd and goal. On the ensuing possession the Jags would start at their own 15 yard line but would move the ball down to the Owl 41 yards linbe before turning the ball over on downs.

The Jaguar defense would hold strong and force a three and out. The Owl punt would bounce into the end zone for a touchback.

Starting at their own 20, Metheny would come out firing by completing back to back catches to Jereme Jones for 14 and Greg Hollinger for 15 to quickly move the ball out to the Jaguar 49 yard line. After a rush for no gain by Terrance Timmons, a pass interference penalty would move the ball to the FAU 40 yard line. Then Metheny would complete a 27 yard pass to Gabe Loper to the FAU 13 yard line.

After an incomplete pass by Metheny to Jereme Jones, the Owls would be flagged for a personal foul to place the ball at the 5 yard line. Houston would go down for a loss of 3 yards back to the 8 yard line. A couple plays later the Jags are facing 4th down and goal from the FAU 7 yard line. The fourth down pass would fall incomplete but the FAU defender would be flagged for pass interference. Due to the penalty occurring in the end zone, the ball would be placed on the 1 yard line with an automatic first down.

Trey Fetner would run for a loss of one followed by Metheny rushing for no gain. After a time out, Metheny would hand the ball all to Demetre Baker who would plunge into the end zone for the touchdown to cut the Owl lead down to 31-24 with 5:45 left in the game.

The Jaguar defense would only allow four yards as they forced FAU to a three and out. The punt from their own 32 yard line would go 51 yards and T.J. Glover would lose two yards on the return to put the Jaguars first and 10 at their own 15 yard line with 3:54 left in the game.

The drive would start with a Baker rush for 18 yards before being force out of bounds at the Jaguar 33. Baker would run for another three yards on the next first down play. But back to back incomplete passes from Metheny to Jereme Jones and Gabe Loper would have the Jags facing fourth and 7 from their own 36 yard line.

The fourth down play would be another pass from Metheny to Gabe Loper down the left side, but it fell incomplete however FAU would have two flags thrown on them for pass interference. One would be declined and the other accepted to give the Jags 14 yards and an automatic first down at the midfield stripe.

Baker would rush for back-to-back gains of 8 and 4 yards for a first down at the Owls 38 yard line. Then Terrance Timmons would rush for four yards. On second and 6 at the FAU 34 yard line, Ross Metheny would find an opening and scamper 18 yards for a first and 10 at the FAU 16 yard line with 1:15 left in the fourth quarter.

After the time out, Ross Metheny would find Gabe Loper in the end zone for the 16 yard touchdown pass. Michel Chapuseaux would tack on the PAT and the Jags would have a tie game with 1:09 left in the fourth quarter.

The squib kick would be picked up and returned 11 yards to the FAU 39 yard line with 1:05 left in regulation. Graham Wilbert’s first two passing attempts would fall incomplete. But the third down pass would be caught for 19 yards to the Jaguar 42 yard line before stepping out of bounds. On the next play he would find the same receiver for another 16 yard completion to the Jaguar 26 yard line.

After an incomplete pass on first down, Pat Moore would sack Wilbert for a five yard loss back to the Jaguar 31 yard line forcing FAU to take a time out with 21 seconds remaining in regulation. After the time out, the Jags would let FAU line up before calling their final time out of the game to set up a defense for the play. After the Jaguar time out, on 3rd and 15, Wilbert would complete his pass to William Dukes, for the third time on the drive, for 16 yards and a first down at the Jaguar 15 yard line before getting out of bounds with about 15 seconds left in regulation.

Florida Atlantic head coach Carl Pelini sends out his field goal unit with Mitch Anderson, who is playing in his first game, to attempt the game winning field goal. Anderson, who already had one attempt blocked earlier in the game, would kick it low from the hashmarks and Pat Moore would get his hands up and block it with time expiring.

To begin overtime, FAU would win the toss and elect to go on defense first. The Jags, with the ball first, would start at the 25 yard line heading into the north end zone. On first down, Metheny would run for five yards to the 20 yard line. But back to back incompletions to Bryant Lavender and Greg Hollinger would force the Jags to kick a field goal from 37 yards to take a 34-31 lead, their first of the game.

FAU would then start their rebuttal possession with a four yard pass completion to the Jaguar 21 before being forced out of bounds. A run would only net two yards on second down. Then the quarterback keeper would lose one yard to the 20 yard line. Anderson would convert on the 37 yard field goal to force a second overtime.

In the second overtime, FAU would go on offense first again going into the north end zone. A two yard loss on the first down run would put the ball back at the Jaguar 27 yard line. Another rush for no gain on second down would set up third and 12 at the Jaguar 27 yard line. The third down pass would fall incomplete to force another field goal attempt from 44 yards. Kicking from the right hashmark the kick would be low again and Pat Moore would block it for the second time in the game.

South Alabama would then have the ball with the outcome of the game in their hands. Baker would run on first down for no gain. Baker would run again on second down for 7 yards. Then on third down, he would run again for no gain. After allowing the Jags to line up for the field goal attempt, Carl Pelini would call a time out to try to ice Chapuseaux.

After the time out, Chapuseaux’s 35 yard kick would never be in doubt. It flew right between the uprights and the crowd that had stayed went into complete pandemonium. The Jaguar players rushed the team on the field, coach Jones would get doused on the sidelines while FAU were quick to exit the stadium to get out from between the team and the students and band.

It was an amazing sight to behold as the Jaguars realized they broke their four game losing streak, won their first FBS game and also won their first Sun Belt Conference game.

FAU held edges in a couple key categories. They led in total yardage 461-359, passing yardage 303-179 and first downs 25-24. However the Jags did lead in rushing yardage 180-158 and time of possession 30:28 – 29:32. Penalties were down too with the Jags only being flagged four times for 50 yards while FAU was flagged 10 times for 80 yards. Neither side threw an interception. FAU fumbled once but recovered it themselves, while South Alabama fumbled twice but only lost one of them.

But FAU’s Anderson was 2-of-5 in field goals in his first ever game for the Owls, with all three misses being blocked. Michel Chapuseaux was a perfect 3-for-3 in route to the win.

FAU’s J. Wallace rushed 21 times for 101 yards to lead all in rushing. Demetre Baker, back from his suspension, rushed 16 times for 73 yards to lead the Jaguars running game. Timmons carried 11 times for 36 yards, Metheny had 13 carries for 34 yards and Glover carried 6 times for 29 yards. Jereme Jones, Trey Fetner and Kendall Houston also got carries in the game.

FAU’s Graham Wilbert was 27-of-41 for 303 yards and two touchdowns. Ross Metheny was 13-of-27 for 179 yards and one touchdown.

The game was definitely Gabe Loper’s coming out party. Loper caught four passes for 91 yards and a touchdown while also adding a blocked field goal and drawing a couple pass interference calls at key times for the Jaguars.

Jereme Jones had three catches for 19 yards and Greg Hollinger caught two passes for 34 yards. Lavender, Desmond Jones, Corey Besteda and Jared Palmer all caught a pass as well.

FAU’s William Dukes caught five passes for 119 yards and a 50 yard touchdown pass. Two other Owls had over 50 yards receiving as well.

Four Jaguars ended the game with double-digit tackles for the game, a first in school history. Terrell Brigham, B.J. Scott and Enrique Williams all recording 11 tackles and Alex Page adding 10 tackles as well. Clifton Crews and Jake Johnson both had eight tackles each as well. Darrius Morrow had four tackles and two passes defended. Pat Moore had three solo tackles all for loss to go with his two field goal blocks he was credited with.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of these young men and my [coaching] staff for what they’ve done — for hanging in there,” head coach Joey Jones said in the post game press conference. “They fought every day at practice, and the main reason we won the football game is because of character. These guys were down 14 points in the fourth quarter, and I didn’t see quit in anybody’s eyes. They kept fighting and all of a sudden we had a play or two go our way, and we were in the ballgame. We got into overtime, and Michel Chapuseaux did a great job kicking field goals at the end. I don’t know how many plays we made in the fourth quarter, but it was a bunch of them. My hat’s off to this team and the coaching staff for what they’ve done.”

Loper spoke after the game about the touchdown pass from Metheny to tie the game and give the Jags a chance to go into overtime. “All credit goes to Ross. He made a perfect pass. I leaned on the defensive back like the coaches taught me to. He had my hand hooked. It was a similar play to Arkansas State last week, and I just remembered that I had to redeem myself. The coaches have been preaching all week that if the officials don’t call it, take it out of their hands and make the play. That’s all I could think about. I was just blessed to have the ball thrown so perfectly.”

Ross Metheny spoke after the game giving praise to Loper. “Talk about a playmaker. We have been trying to get Gabe on the offensive side of the ball since week one, and he definitely has a special talent and the things he can do in the air to go get the ball are special,” Metheny said. “He’s only been working as a receiver for a couple of weeks, and he already has the offense down, knows which way to line up and runs his routes really well. He’s definitely a guy we can count on, and I’m fortunate that he’s my teammate.”

Michel Chapuseaux spoke about the game winning kick after the game. “When the time had come, my heart was pounding and I was nervous. I had to settle in because I’ve practiced so long for this,” he explained. “When I start taking my steps over, I zone out everything and I tell myself to be ready for it. When I kicked it, I made sure it was between the posts and then I just turned around. I didn’t even look at it. I just let the crowd tell me if it went in, and then I had a swarm of teammates just hitting me. We definitely needed this win. We wanted it more. We didn’t give up, and this is definitely going to help us throughout the rest of the season.”

Senior Linebacker Jake Johnson spoke after the game about how the defense played. “The game is never over until it’s over. Anybody can win, anything can happen. We came back and got that touchdown. We had three blocked field goals. Chap had three kicks that he made.  We played well in all facets.”

“Defensively we had a good game plan, we just weren’t communicating as well as we should have in the first half,” Johnson continued. “We communicated better and stopped them a lot more in the second half. We just never gave up. That’s one thing you can’t ever do is give up.”

No one could say it better than Ross Metheny though. “All I can say is wow, what a game. Talk about a monkey off your back, getting the first Division I [FBS] win. We needed the signature win to propel us. We’re definitely going to embrace this win and cherish it, but we’re still hungry. We want more and we want to win more, so we’re going to come on Monday ready to work toward our next opponent.”

South Alabama will travel to face Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 6pm according to the ULL website. The game is not scheduled to be broadcast on television, however ULL does have a online video stream available.

South Alabama blocks the overtime field goal attempt by FAU’s Mitch Anderson in the second overtime possession by the Owls.

Jags Look To End Three Game Skid Against Defending SBC Champ

October 10, 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’s off week came at a much needed time. As the Jags look to break their three-game skid they had a chance to heal up some nagging injuries and rest up for their eight game run to end the season.

Next up on the Jags (1-4, 0-1 SBC) schedule is a trip to defending Sun Belt champion Arkansas State (3-3, 1-1 SBC) who is coming off a Thursday night victory over Sun Belt preseason favorite FIU.

“It couldn’t have come at a better time. We were beat up,” South Alabama head coach Joey Jones said. “Being nine-and-a-half weeks into it, counting fall camp, it came at a great time for our players and coaches after an emotional three games of playing N.C. State, Mississippi State and Troy.”

“Arkansas State is a very good football team,” Jones continued. “I watched them play last Thursday at FIU, they went down there on the road and beat a very good team. Their losses have come to the likes of Oregon and Nebraska, so they are a very good football team. They’re very good on offense, and have a lot of juniors and seniors starting in their offensive and defensive lineups. They are a veteran team, and we expect them to be a great football team when we walk into the stadium.”

Arkansas State was trailing FIU 10-7 with about four-and-a-half minutes to go in the first half and would go on and score 27 of the next 30 points to take control of the game. Running back David Oku ran for three touchdowns while quarterback Ryan Aplin accounted for another. The ASU Red Wolves gained 421 yards of total offense and averaged seven yards per snap.

Aplin was the preseason offensive player of the year for the Sun Belt Conference. On the season he has completed 119-of-194 passing attempts for 1,388 yards and eight touchdowns. He has also rushed for 243 yards and two touchdowns while ranking third in the confernece in both passing and total offense.

Oku is fourth in the conference with almost 77 yards per game rushing.

Wide receiver J.D. McKissic leads the Red Wolves with 39 receptions for 452 yards while fellow receiver Josh Jarboe has caught 28 passes for 287 yards. Both have two touchdowns on the season.

The Arkansas State offense is very balanced as they lead the league with an average of 232.2 yards rushing per game. They also average 238.7 yards per game passing and stand third in the conference in total offense. They score an average of 30.5 points per game.

Defensively Nathan Herrold leads the way with 52 tackles, including four for a loss. Tim Starson leads the team with 6.5 tackles for loss. Their defense allows an average of 158.2 yards per game passing but are last against the run by giving up an average of 218.7 yards per game.

The Jaguar offense is coming off a season best 193 yards rushing in their Sun Belt Conference debut against Troy. Demetre Baker rushed for 62 yards on 16 carries. While the Jags have five receivers who have caught at least 10 passes each. Bryant Lavender leads the way with 13 catches for 122 yards while Jereme Jones leads the team with 160 yards on 12 receptions. Corey Besteda has 10 catches for 144 yards and Greg Hollinger also has 10 catches for 135 yards.

Junior transfer Ross Metheny, who was named the starter last week by Coach Jones and his staff, has completed 34-of-59 passes this season for 354 yards and one touchdown.

“We just felt like it was a move we needed to make for the offense,” Jones said. “We’re trying to find that identity in where we are, so I think that will help us with him getting more reps in practice. We think it’s going to help us [to name a starter]. We tried to let it pan out over the last five games, but I think it will help us just from the standpoint that they [offense] know that he [Metheny] is going to be the guy right now.”

“We have not put a complete game together,” Jones continued. “We have a young offense. We started the season with two freshmen and five sophomores on the offensive unit. We have to get better, but it isn’t easy to get better when you’re playing the teams we are playing. We’re a better team than we were last year, but we’re playing much better competition right now and it just isn’t showing.”

“We have to be able to stick the ball into the end zone. Defense and special teams are playing good enough to win, so if we can get that part going on offense then we’re going to get this thing rolling. But we have to get out there and get it done.”

Senior linebacker Jake Johnson is leading the Sun Belt by averaging over 10 tackles per game. Enrique Williams, along with Johnson, leads the defense unit from their linebaker positions.

The Jaguar defense is second in the Sun Belt by only allowing an average of 350.2 yares per game and is fourth in the conference by allowing an average of 25.6 points per game.

“I would hate to have known that we would have to have gotten ready in one week for what they’re doing,” Jones observed. “[Head coach] Gus [Malzahn] does a great job of changing things up and scouting himself. You can tell that he scouts himself well with their personnel groupings. They give you fits all over the field, both horizontally and vertically.  They really make you play the whole field on defense, that’s probably the most difficult thing.”

The Jags and Red Wolves kick off in Jonesboro at 6pm and the game can be heard on 105.5 WNSP.

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 Fall At Home To UTSA 33-31

September 2, 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.

South Alabama fell in their season-opening game versus Texas-San Antonio 33-31 on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Four turnovers and ill timed penalties did the team in. Each turnover resulted in a UTSA score.

UTSA kicker Sean Ianno, who’s game winning field goal attempt was blocked last year in the Alamo Dome, made the 51 yard attempt with 16 seconds left in the game to avenge a 30-27 double-overtime loss to South Alabama last season. It was UTSA’s first-ever road victory in the program’s second season of competition. This was the second consecutive loss at home for the Jags and second loss all-time at home.

The opening drive went as planned, they drove 75 yards in eight plays and scored a touchdown. An 11 yard rush by Demetre Baker capped off the drive as the Jags took the early 7-0 lead.

On their next possession, the Jaguars were driving again and reached deep into UTSA territory before quarterback C.J. Bennett tossed an interception in the end zone to end the drive. UTSA took that turnover and drove 80 yards to answer and tie the game at 7-7.

The ensuing kickoff was returned by T.J. Glover from near the goal line out past the 50 yard line before he fumbled. The ball was recovered by UTSA and scored a second touchdown to take the lead 14-7.

In the second quarter, UTSA kicked field goals of 47 and 32 to increase their lead to 20-7 before South Alabama fought back last in the quarter. The Jags drove down and scored on a play-action pass to running back Desmond Jones with 20 seconds left in the half to cut the lead to 20-14.

Michel Chapuseaux added a 43 yard field goal in the third quarter to cut the UTSA lead to 20-17. Later, Kendall Houston waltzed in from one yard out to give the Jags a 24-20 advantage early in the fourth quarter.

The roadrunners scored on a 34 yard forth-down play to retake the lead at 27-24. After the kickoff, Bennett took the snap and was preparing to make a throw, but Demetre Baker cut in front of him and brushed the ball out of Bennett’s hands. The fumble was recovered by UTSA at the Jaguar 21 yard line. The defense held them to a field goal, but were trailing 30-24.

The Jags fought back though. Bennett found a wide open Jereme Jones open down the left side for a 34 yard touchdown pass to put the Jags back on top 31-30 with 2:46 to play.

On the ensuing kickoff, Chapuseaux’s kick was fielded just short of the end zone and returned out to the 31 yard line, but Tyrome Bivins was flagged for a personal foul, the 15 yard penalty put UTSA at their 46 yard line. The Jags would get five of those yards back on a false start penalty.

After an incomplete pass, UTSA’s Okotcha rushed for five yards before being forced out of bounds by Jake Johnson. Their 3rd and 10 play was a pass completion from quarterback Soza to Armstrong for 15 yards to the Jags 39 yard line. Okotcha then had back to back runs for no gain and four yards. Soza completed a pass for one yard to get to the Jaguar 34 yard line before the roadrunners used their final time out to bring on the kicking unit. Sean Ianno nailed the 51 yard kick to take the lead 33-31 with 16 seconds left.

T.J. Glover returned the kickoff to the Jaguar 29 yard line. Terrance Timmons gained seven yards on the next play, but could not get out of bounds quick enough as time expired.

UTSA out-gained the Jags 398 to 308, out-rushed the Jags 126 to 183 and out passed the Jags 182-215. Jags held the edge in first downs 18 to 16 though.

Jaguar quarterbacks combined to go 15-of-26 with one interception and two touchdowns. UTSA led the way in penalties with 11 for 114 yards while the Jags only had seven for 80 yards, with the personal foul on the kickoff return being the most costly of the game.

Jags returned two punts for 37 yards, averaging 18.5 yards per return, and returned two kickoffs for 95 yards, which averaged 47.5 yards per return. UTSA returned two punts for -7 yards and three kickoffs for 58 yards.

UTSA held the edge in time of possession 33:07 to 26:53. The Jags fumbled three times and lost all three.

Demetre Baker led the Jags on the ground with 63 yards rushing on 12 carries with Kendall Houston rushing 11 times for 43 yards, Terrance Timmons ran four times for 20 yards, Bennett rushed nine times for 12.

Bennett went 15-of-24 for 182 yards, two touchdowns and one interception with one sack. Ross Metheny went 0-for-2.

Jereme Jones led the receivers with 51 yards on three receptions, including the long 34 yard catch late in the fourth quarter. Corey Besteda also had three recptions for 40 yards. Greg Hollinger added 42 yards on two receptions, Glover had 25 yards on two catches, Lavender had 12 yards on two catches, Kendall Houston added 10 yards on two catch as well.

T.J. Glover led the game with 145 all-purpose yards with 25 receiving, 95 in kickoff returns, 37 in punt returns but -12 on one reverse.

Jake Johsnon and Enrique Williams both led the Jags with eight total stops. Alonzo Long added seven stops and Darrius Morrow and Tyrell Pearson both added five. Pearson picked off one Soza pass and returned it 28 yards.

After the game, Jaguar head coach Joey Jones spoke about the game.  “First of all I want to congratulate UTSA. I thought they played a great game, and my hat’s off to them,” he began. “They played well, and we knew they would. They played us into double overtime last year, and we knew they had a good football team. They have a lot of good players. They didn’t do anything any different. We obviously turned the ball over too many times. I think it came down to turnovers and key penalties at the wrong time.”

Speaking about the final Jaguar touchdown to regain the lead with 2:46 left in the game. “We had to find the right time to run the play,” stated Jones. “We got in the formation and they ran what we expected them to.  Everyone did their job and we executed. We saw a mismatch with Jeremé.  We had been waiting to call that play, and we found the right spot.”
“The offense showed a little fight. We teach ball security, and today we got away from that. Turning the ball over is something you can’t do in a close game, and they [the turnovers] really came back to bite us in the end. The good thing is all these mistakes are correctable.”

Jags Ready To Embark On Toughest Season Yet

August 31, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

On the eve of South Alabama’s season opener against Texas-San Antonio it’s a good time to look at what this season means to the program. After three seasons, the first two undefeated, and a 23-4 record the Jaguars are about to embark on their most challenging quest yet.

Last season they stepped up and faced two FBS teams, the first in the programs history. This season, they will face their first full Division I schedule. The only non FBS school on the schedule is FCS Nicholls State. Additionally, with the Hawaii rule, the Jags will play 13 games in 14 weeks this season including a full eight game Sun Belt schedule.

This is what the Jaguars have been working towards for the last several years. When they take the field, they will be a transitional FBS member.

Coach Jones can finally guage where his team stands in the FBS pecking order. “I think the biggest challenge for us, especially early, will be the depth on our team,” he Jones. “We’ve been recruiting to Division I really just this year. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t have any Division I football players, we do. But do we have the depth that everybody else has because they’ve been recruiting for a while and have 85 scholarships and D-1 players? I would think that will probably be the biggest issue, depth, especially on the offensive and defensive lines.”

What about this season’s schedule? “The most difficult thing is playing 13 games in 14 weeks for us and playing pretty much all Division I opponents,” Jones said. “Whereas in past years we’ve played seven, 10 and 10 (games per season), we had some off weeks and some time to get ready for games. You’re going to get your three or four days of practice and that’s going to be it, then you’re going to have to move on to your next game.”

Gone is offensive coordinator Greg Gregory and in is Robert Matthews brining the spread to South Alabama. Matthews, who learned the spread at Oklahoma State and Southern Miss, will bring a completely different attitude to the offensive side of the ball. The offense will run as quickly as possible with a no-huddle tempo that is designed to keep the defense off guard and guessing what is coming next. Plus it is designed to take advantage of the depth South Alabama has at the skill positions.

The offensive line is where the biggest unknown is located coming into this season. Gone are three starters from the previous two seasons. However back is senior Trey Clark and sophomore Melvin Meggs. In steps Drew Dearman, Chris May and Shaun Artz. Also a second string, Ucambre Williams and possibly Kentucky transfer James Elliott if he receives a hardship waiver from the NCAA. But this is the biggest offensive line the Jaguars have had in it’s short history.

Behind the line, there is plenty of talent on the roster. C.J. Bennett returns as the starter with Virginia transfer Ross Metheny as his backup and redshirt freshman Trey Fetner as the third quarterback. The South Alabama backfield is also stocked with talent. Back are Demetre Baker, Kendall Houston and Ellis Hill from last season along with Brandon Ross returning from a knee injury and redshirt freshman Terrance Timmons among others ready to contribute. At wide receiver back are Jereme Jones, Bryant Lavender, T.J. Glover, Corey Besteda and Tyrome Bivins with true freshman Cameron Broadnax who showed plenty of skill in preseason camp. With two tight ends graduating, Greg Hollinger moved over from wide receiver joining JuCo transfer Wes Saxton to fill their positions.

The defense is arguably the strength of the team. Led by Jake Johnson, the linebackers are the heart of the defense, with Clifton Crews, Enrique Williams, Maleki Harris, Bryson James, Ben Giles and Cordivido Grice to help him out.

The defensive front will need to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks than in past seasons. Returning ends Anthony Taylor, Romelle Jones, Alex Page and Will Thompson will be joined by JuCo transfer Pat Moore to help towards that goal. At nose and tackle positions they return Randon Carnathan and Andy Dalgleish, who lead the group last season, with help from Montavious Williams, Rodney Thomas and Shane Doty (who moved from offensive line).

In the secondary, Alabama transfer B.J. Scott has stepped up as a leader. The staff focused their recruiting efforts to find more help there too. Darrius Morrow and Tyrell Pearson both come in and are expected to start. Alonzo Long will suit up next to Scott at free safety. Gabe Loper should get playing time as he is the returning secondary player with the most interceptions last season.

Michel Chapuseaux takes over the placekicking duties with Scott Garber also returning to handle punts.

“We want to be competitive. We want to win every game that we play,” head coach Joey Jones said. “That’s our goal. Now, is that going to be tough to do? Sure. I understand that it will be. The bottom line is I don’t want to cut our kids short in what we’re doing. We’re going to prepare and we’re going to go out there and prepare to win. But we also know there’s a difficult schedule ahead of us and we’ve got to step up each week. I think that our kids probably will play with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder this year. Bottom line, every week that we play we’ve got to prove something. Anybody that we beat will be a big deal. We’re representing a lot of people, not just our football program but the university.”

The schedule will be tough. After UTSA and Nicholls State, the Jags travel to N.C. State again and Mississippi State before returning home for their first-ever Sun Belt Conference game against Troy. Troy, whom most expect will quickly develop into one of the leagues best rivalries, will mark the first part of the season. After their one and only off week, the Jags then visit the SBC defending champion Arkansas State. Then the downhill stretch of FAU (home), ULM (away), FIU (home), North Texas (away), MTSU (home), ULL (away) and their “bowl game” of the season at Hawaii.

If you only count wins and losses as the measuring stick for a season, it could be a difficult season. But if you expand your criteria for this team that will be completing it’s two year FBS transition at the conclusion of this season, you may be surprised.

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.

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