USA Falls In Hawaii 23-7 In Season Finale

December 3, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jags Fall To Middle Tennessee 20-12 On Senior Day

November 18, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Seniors gather near midfield as the game captains B.J. Scott, Jake Johnson, Anthony Taylor and Trey Clark meet at mid field to represent South Alabama for the coin toss. From left to right: Andy Dalgleish, Cori Barnett, Michel Chapuseaux, Gabe Loper, Jonathan Cameron, Tremain Smith, Kennedy Helms, Ellis Hill and Ryne Baxter.


The South Alabama Jaguars fell to Middle Tennessee 20-12 on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in another hard fought game for the Jags. Logan Kilgore threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns while Jordan Parker carried the ball 24 times for 154 yards to lead the Blue Raiders over the Jaguars on Senior Day.

The Jaguars turned the ball over four times in the game while Middle Tennessee did not commit a single turnover. The conference win moved the Blue Raiders into a tie atop the Sun Belt Conference standings with Arkansas State (6-1 SBC) with a 5-1 conference record.

Jake Johnson had 15 total tackles while B.J. Scott added 11 tackles in their final home game in a Jaguar uniform. Johnson equaled his highest total of the season while Scott tied his career best. Terrell Brigham and Alex Page both added 10 tackles each in the game as well.

“We can’t do that and win,” Jag head coach Joey Jones said of the turnovers. “We talk about it and work on it. It’s just part of the game that happens sometimes. But the bottom line is if we don’t take care of the ball, we’re not going to win. That’s very simple. We have to do that to have a chance to beat these teams.”

“I’m awful proud of the way our kids fight,” Jones continued. They continue to do that. We’re just not quite finishing games and making plays at the end. But I’m real proud of our young men. That is a team that’s probably going to play for the conference championship. The positive is that we’re close to playing with those teams. The negative is we’re not making enough plays in games to win, and we have to do that. I’m proud of the way they’re fighting. They certainly aren’t giving up, and are representing the University of South Alabama in a positive way.”

This was the fourth consecutive game that the Jags got on the scoreboard first with a 19 yard field goal after they drove 74 yards in 14 plays on their opening possession. Metheny connected with Jereme Jones for an eight yard gain on third and two to get the first first down of the drive. The reception also extended Jones’ streak of consecutive games with a reception.

But the Blue Raiders would take the lead shortly afterwards. They used three plays of 20-plus yards in a four-snap sequence to take the lead with just over five minutes left in the first quarter. The previous week against North Texas, the Jaguar defense only allowed two plays of 20-plus yards.

South Alabama had two drives end in the second quarter with interceptions within the opponents 10 yard line by Harley and T.T. Barber.

MTSU would drive for a field goal with just over two minutes remaining before halftime to extend their lead to 10-3. But the Jags would mount a drive of their own at the end of the half. The Blue Raiders would force what they thought was a three and out, but a penalty for running into the kicker would give the Jags the yardage they needed for a first down. On the first down play, Metheny would find Lavender open down the left sideline for 22 yards to start moving the ball. Chapuseaux would hit a 45 yard field goal with seconds remaining to cut the MTSU lead to 10-6 at halftime.

South Alabama would control the ball for over 18 minutes in the first half, but would only control the ball for eight minutes in the second half.

MTSU would extend their lead on the opening drive of the second half when Kilgore would find his receiver open on a slant pattern from the six yard line to cap off a 10 play, 75 yard drive that spanned over five minutes. That would extend their lead to 17-6.

After a forced fumble at the Jaguar 41, the Blue Raiders had a great opportunity to add to their lead, but the Jaguar defense held firm and forced a field goal attempt from 35 yards that would sail wide left.

The Jags would open the next possession with pass completions from Metheny to Jones for 12 yards. Jones would leave the game after the reception due to a concussion. After the injury time out, Metheny would hit Gabe Loper down the left sideline for a 45 yard completion to the Blue Raider 20 yard line. Metheny would cap off the drive with an 18 yard touchdown pass to Corey Besteda. The two point conversion would fail to lead the Blue Raider lead at 17-12 with under four mintues left in the third quarter.

MTSu would add another field goal but the Jaguars would not be able to put together another scoring drive against the Blue Raider defense for the final score of 20-12.

The Blue Raiders would outgain the Jags 445 to 338 overall including 212 to 149 rushing and 233 to 189 passing. Both teams would run 70 plays on offense in the game. MTSU would end up holding a 33:31 to 26:29 time of possession edge over the Jags.

Terrance Timmons would lead the Jaguar rushing attack with 76 yards on 18 carries, Metheny would gain 32 yards on 11 carries. Kendall Houston would add 22 yards on 7 carries before injuring his ankle and being held out of the remainder of the game. Glover would rush four times for 19 yards as well.

Metheny would go 17-of-30 for 189 yards with three interceptions and a touchdown. Jereme Jones would lead the receiver corps with six receptions for 53 yards in the game. Lavender would catch three for 41 yards, Besteda would add two for 29 and Timmons would catch two for -1 yards. Loper would catch one for 45, Saxton caught one for 11 yards, Glover caught one for 8 yards and Houston caught one for 3 yards.

“I told our players before the game and told them at half time that nobody should be surprised by the score of the game. We knew it was going to be a 60-minute game,” Blue Raider head coach Rick Stockstill said. “We knew that South Alabama was good on defense and that nobody had really run past them or blown them out. All of their games had been close, so we knew it was going to be this type of game. We practiced for this type of game and we got exactly what we thought we would get.”

South Alabama will play their final two games of the season on the road starting this weekend with a trip to Louisiana-Lafayette. The game will be aired on ESPN3 with a 4pm kickoff.

Coach Jones Pleased With Tuesday’s Practice

November 14, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

2012 South Alabama Football Senior class. – Photo from USAJaguars.com


South Alabama returned to the practice field on Tuesday to continue preparation for Saturday’s game against Middle Tennessee State.

“We had a pretty good day today,” head coach Joey Jones said. “I think we had a good one from the standpoint that they were paying attention and they had a good inside drill today, running the football on both sides of the ball, offense and defense. I thought we had a goods crisp period where they got after it and on Tuesday’s you’ve got to have a good physical practice because you’ve got to carry it over to the game.”

Similar to last week, the Jags practiced in shells and will most likely do it again on Wednesday as well. As they are in the midst of a long stretch of games with three more to go the staff does not want to over extend the players while still working on keeping them sharp and implementing the game plan for their next opponent.

Coach Jones also said in his weekly radio show that Demetre Baker was doubtful for the Jags game this weekend. This will likely put Kendall Houston as the starter against the Blue Raiders on Saturday. Baker missed the second half against North Texas with an ankle sprain suffered in the second quarter.

Houston has 185 yards on 71 carries this season and has made appearances in all 10 games. Baker is the teams leading rusher with 595 yards on the season.

Clifton Crews, who suffered a concussion in the second quarter against North Texas, is probable for this weekends game. He will still have to pass a battery of tests to make sure there are no lingering affects from the concussion before that decision is finalized.

Prior to this Saturday’s game, the University will honor 15 seniors in a pre-game ceremony. Trey Clark, B.J. Scott and Jake Johnson have started all 10 games this season. Cori Barnett and Brandon Ross have not seen the playing field this season due to injuries.

Ryne Baxter, Jonathan Cameron, Michel Chapuseaux, Andy Dalgleish, Kennedy Helms, Ellis Hill, Gabe Loper, Chris Rivers, Tremain Smith and Anthony Taylor will all join the previously mentioned players to be honored as the 2012 senior class.

“I want to thank our seniors for all they have done and committed to this football program, for what they have meant not only to this university but to our team,” said Coach Jones. “They are great leaders and great young men, they care about this team and have done all the right things to build this program from the ground up. Some of the guys have been here the whole time, some have transferred in, but the bottom line is that they have all contributed in great ways. They will be forever missed because they have done a good job here, they have created an atmosphere of hard work and character. We will be indebted to them forever.”

“I think this is a special day, it really is, because you almost treat it a little differently since it is your last day to play at home,” he continued. “Not that you are going to go out and play any harder, because those guys are going to play hard anyway, but you look at it with a little different perspective because you realize this is your last one. There are not many things in life that you know are going to end, maybe retirement.”

The parking lot at Ladd-Peebles Stadium will open at 8am for tailgating and gates to the stadium will open at 12:30pm. The Jaguar Prowl will take place around 12:10pm in the South parking lot. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30pm.

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.

Despite Loss Jags Continue To Improve

October 29, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Head coach Joey Jones chats with Ross Metheny on the sidelines just before the second half began against Florida Atlantic.

Head coach Joey Jones is proud of the way the Jags played against Louisiana-Monroe over the weekend. He sees them continuing to get better despite the score on the scoreboard. But he will quickly tell you that, despite that, he will quickly tell you that he saw mistakes that probably cost them a chance at winning, not just keeping the game close.

As coach Jones said after the game, “We played pretty good football for three quarters and we played tough. ULM is a very good football team. 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 (Kolton Browning) and receivers made some great plays.”

“Overall, I’m proud of the team,” Jones continued. “There were some things we could have done better, but I’m proud of where we are and what we accomplished today. But 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.”

“We just have to work on us,” he said in conclusion. “We’ll start fixing some things here and there, and we’re going to be there.”

ULM improved to 6-2 on the season, 4-0 in the Sun Belt, with only losses to Auburn in overtime and Baylor.

South Alabama’s record fell to 2-6 overall and 1-3 in the Sun Belt. But they will be hosting Florida International this weekend who enters with a record of 1-8 on the season, 0-5 in Sun Belt play after a 14-6 loss at home to Western Kentucky.

Dropped passes helped to stall the offense as they only went 3-of-13 on third down conversions against ULM. Also big plays continued to be problematic for big third or fourth down conversions or just long plays down the field.

Quarterback Ross Metheny has emerged as a good leader for the offense while his confidence continues to grow. He threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns, both to Jereme Jones. He was adept at avoiding sacks and moving around to find an open receiver or finding some room to scramble if needed.

Including his two touchdown catches, Jereme Jones caught seven passes with Bryant Lavender catching six passes and Gabe Loper with three.

And for the first time this season, a Jaguar running back rushed for over 100 yards in a game. Demetre Baker ran 14 times for 115 yards including a 61 yarder that set up the Jags first score. This was the first 100 yard rusher since Baker’s performance against Henderson State last season.

The Jags had two sacks in the game to break their tie with last season’s number of 15 for a total of 17 this season.

The Jags and FIU kick off at 2:30 pm on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Monday Press Conference

October 23, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

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

The University of South Alabama held their Monday press conference. Head coach Joey Jones was joined by defensive lineman and Sun Belt Special teams player of the week Pat Moore and wide receiver Gabe Loper to recap Saturday’s game against Florida Atlantic and to look ahead to this weekend’s match-up with Louisiana-Monroe.

Below are highlights from the press conference.

Coach Jones began with his opening statement. “We’re very excited about our win [over FAU] this past weekend. I can’t tell you enough about our young men and staff for what they’ve done to put this thing together. We not only played well this past weekend, but I also thought we played well the weekend before at Arkansas State. We’re getting better, and we came through in the fourth quarter [last weekend] like we needed to. It was a great win for us and something we’ve been striving for, so my hat’s off to our team.”

Jones then answered a question concerning what he learned about his team after Saturday’s come-from-behind win over FAU. “I told them [the team] after the game that when we were down 14 [points], I didn’t see quit in anybody on the sideline. Once we got the ball and drove down and scored to get within seven, I knew we had a shot. The defense came out and forced a three-and-out, and then we got the ball back and drove 85 yards for a touchdown. What makes me feel good is that these guys have been working their tails off all this time, and to have some rewards on the field for their hard work meant a lot to me for them, and they deserved it. I told them that I don’t know if anybody deserves anything, but I felt like they deserved that win.”

He then addressed a question concerning switching Gabe Loper from defensive back to offense. “Gabe [Loper] was a receiver pretty much most of the years he has played football. He played safety a couple of seasons in junior college, but is probably naturally a receiver. We have a lot of people playing press coverage against us, and we felt like we needed to get another guy over there [on offense] that could make plays against press coverage and he did that [last weekend]. You have to have some big plays when they [opposing defense] are doing that, and he really pulled through for us.”

Jones then previewed Louisiana-Monroe. “If I had to rate a team number one in the league, and I know they are just based on the [conference] standings, they are the best team I have seen in the league overall. They’re great offensively, they present so many problems. What they do is so different. They run a lot of empty, five wide receiver stuff and the quarterback [Kolton Browning] is just uncanny in his ability to make plays. He just has an unbelievable knack for making plays, and he’s a big reason for why they are so successful offensively. And they do a great job scheme-wise too.”

“Defensively, they take a lot of chances and play zero coverage and man coverage. You have to be ready for blitzes. They [ULM] are hard to prepare for both offensively and defensively, because you don’t see that type of scheme pretty much anywhere else in the league. That’s what is so difficult, and you put on top of that that they are playing so confident right now. You can tell they are playing with a lot of confidence.”

He then talked about ULM quarterback Kolton Browning. “He’s what I call football-savvy. He understands the game and has an innate ability to make plays on the field. His pocket-presence is unbelievable. It seems like if someone is coming behind him, he knows they’re coming without seeing them and he will step up and make a play or run the ball. There’s so many times where defensive linemen get there, and they can’t tackle him. He must be really strong to break tackles. And with all that, he’s aware of the pocket and what’s going on downfield. That’s a very rare thing to have. When he scrambles he has his eyes downfield, and he can make plays on the move. He’s the toughest one [quarterback] that I think we’re going to go against, from the standpoint of what all he can do because he can do so many things. He just makes plays all over the field, and makes great decisions.”

He then spoke about the ULM defense itself. “Our offensive line and [running] backs are going to have to do a great job of picking up the blitz. We have to be able to throw and catch it. We’re pretty balanced. We like to run the football and we’re going to have to run it some against them but we’re also going to have to complete passes to have a chance to move the ball.”

Coach Jones then answered a question about moving forward after the program’s first FBS and SBC win. “It’s a great opportunity for us to play against the best in the league, and that excites our players. We’re going to go out there ready to go. They [ULM] have a great football team, and they’ll let us know where we are as far as competing against the top in the league.”

Defensive lineman Pat Moore first spoke about the importance of getting the win over FAU on Saturday. “It was a big win for us. We’ve been looking forward to getting a win and turning it around. Hopefully we can win again and make it contagious and keep it going. We’re trying to keep pushing and get more wins for our team.”

He then spoke about his two blocked field goals against FAU. “It wasn’t something that was designed, I was just feeling the moment. I had to do something. I had to make a play. I just happened to be in the right position. I got my hands up and I made sure I could block it.”

Moore then spoke about the mood on the sideline during the FAU game. “We’re not going to quit in any game we play. We’ll always finish all the way through. We were down but we were trying to get our team up. We said ‘We’re going to finish this. We want to make history for our team.’ We had to rally up and turn it around.”

Wide receiver Gabe Loper also spoke about the importance of getting the win over FAU. “It was a huge win for our team. To take on a team like Florida Atlantic, a very aggressive team in our conference, and win in double overtime was a morale builder. We have to take that confidence with us when we play Louisiana-Monroe. They’re a powerhouse in the Sun Belt, they’re right up there with Arkansas State, who won the conference last year. To get the FAU win before we go on the road this week is going to be huge for us. This could be a pivotal point in our season.”

He then spoke about making the switch from defense to offense. “This was something that I pushed for. I’ve been longing for it for a long time and I never thought it would really happen. It was something that I wanted and something that I had the ability to do, I played receiver in high school. I’ve always wanted to work myself back toward that position. I would joke with the coaches, saying, ‘Throw me over there, I can make plays for you.’ But for them to have faith in me to learn the system and to throw me in a game as big as FAU, it was a big role for me and I had big shoes to fill.”

He filled those shoes well and gave extra spark to the Jaguar offense.

Jaguars Grit Key To Win On Saturday

October 22, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Head coach Joey Jones chats with Ross Metheny on the sidelines at the end of halftime.


Why did the Jaguars win? The defense kept it close and the offense was able to produce.

Trailing by 14 points early in the fourth quarter, the Jags kept grinding, fighting and attacking. The ground out a pair of touchdowns and blocked two field goals to give Michel Chapuseaux a chance to kick the game-winner in the second overtime period.

South Alabama dominated the time of possession in the fourth quarter by controlling the ball for 10:30 in the final quarter of regulation. The key drive that controlled most of the time went 80 yards in 13 plays and capped off by Demetre Baker’s run.

Then to tie the game, quarterback Ross Metheny found Gabe Loper in only his second game at wide receiver for a one-handed touchdown reception.

Pat Moore kept the game alive with a blocked field goal at the end of regulation play to send the game into overtime. He also blocked the attempt in the first overtime to set up the game-winning attempt in the second overtime period.

After the game, head coach Joey Jones said at the end of his post-game press conference, that the fans who left early missed a great finish. “Those people who left, they missed a heck of a football game,” Jones said. “It was a heck of a football game and it got exciting. I appreciate the fans that stayed with us in the fourth quarter.”

South Alabama will refocus and prepare for their trip to Monroe, Louisiana to face the Warhawks. ULM defeated Arkansas earlier in the season in overtime and lost to Auburn in overtime.

Kickoff is set for 6pm on the ULM website.

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.

Fetner, Loper Will Expand Roles In Offense

October 17, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

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


Head coach Joey Jones said that backup quarterback Trey Fetner’s role in the offense will likely increase as they go forward.

Fetner, the odd man out in the Jaguars quarterback race this season, has found a spot in offensive game plan after all. The redshirt freshman had three carries for 17 yards last weekend in Jonesboro from the wildcat formation.

Fetner also scored the only touchdown against Troy where he had five carries for 21 yards including the three yard score.

“Trey’s a good football player and if there’s a player on our sideline we think can win for us we’re going to try to get him our there the best we can,” head coach Joey Jones said. “He’s really found his niche there (as a Wildcat formation quarterback) and we’re going to expand that package. We talked about that this weekend. He’s going to be a good asset, especially in short yardage. And the thing about it, he can throw it too. It’s not like he’s a Wildcat quarterback who can’t throw, so that’s going to create some diversity in our third-down situations.”

Also you may have seen a new receiver on the field if you happened to watch the Arkansas State game. Gabe Loper, a former defensive back, has transitioned to play in the receiver corps.

During regular season practice one single play stood out to the coaching staff that was looking for a spark on offense. A defensive play he made on a hail mary pass that made them think.

He made the switch during the Jaguars off week which gave him some extra time to get adjusted to the new position. His debut game with an 11 yard reception against Arkansas State, his first reception as a Jaguar and likely not his last. “You never know when coaches are watching and we tell guys that all the time,” receivers coach Jerry Mack said. “Back in fall camp Gabe made an extraordinary catch on a Hail Mary. He jumped over everybody and caught it in the back of the end zone. That’s when he first kind of caught all the coaches’ eyes, especially on offense, that hey, this guy may have a skill set that we can use on offense.”

“As the season went along, we were always looking for that spark, always looking for that guy who could be a playmaker on the offensive side of the ball,” Mack continued. “We decided last week to work him into the receiver rotation a little bit more and it’s been nothing but good news ever since.”

Jags Returned To Practice Field Sunday

September 3, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jaguar offense looks to the sideline for play adjustments against UTSA.

The Jags returned to the practice field on Sunday afternoon following their 33-31 loss to Texas-San Antonio the day before.

They held a light practice in shells for a little over an hour as they worked to correct the mistakes that led to four turnovers.

South Alabama had a pass intercepted in the end zone in the first quarter as they tried to take a 14-0 lead early in the game. Later they would have three fumbles; T.J. Glover would fumble on a big kickoff return, C.J. Bennett would fumble the exchange from Center Trey Clark when they went under center for a third and one and another fumble by Bennett at the Jaguar 21 yard line when it appears that Demetre Baker slid beside Bennett and knocked the ball out of his hands.

“We did a lot of good things but had a few mistakes that we’ve got to fix,” coach Jones said. “The turnovers were obvious and we had a couple of mental busts. We didn’t have a ton of penalties, but we had a couple at the wrong time. So really a lot of things that we’ve got to work on is we’ve got to work on us. We’ve got to stop that to win.”

Coach Jones believes that the Jags will bounce back well from the loss and that they will put all of their focus on preparing for Nicholls State. “It’s tough when you lose. They aren’t going to come out here happy,” he said. “But they realize that you (have to look ahead). We always preach next play, the next game, the next day, so bottom line, that’s what we’ve got to focus on.”

One of the things the defense will have to work on is getting more pressure on the quarterback. The defense produced five tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries, but no sacks.

On a positive note, there were no injuries for South Alabama according to director of sports medicine Jinni Frisbey. Defensive back Gabe Loper was assisted off the field, but was suffering from leg cramps. Offensive lineman Melvin Meggs also suffered from cramps.

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