South Alabama Come From Behind To Defeat Western Kentucky 31-24

September 15, 2013 · Filed Under Football · 1 Comment 
The Jaguars rally at mid field after they enter the field to just prior to kickoff against Western Kentucky on Saturday, September 14, 2013.

The Jaguars rally at mid field after they enter the field to just prior to kickoff against Western Kentucky on Saturday, September 14, 2013.

The University of South Alabama football team fought back from an 11-point deficit at halftime to tie the game in the fourth quarter and then get the winning touchdown in the last two minutes of the game to defeat conference foe Western Kentucky 31-24. The Jags improve to 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in the conference while Western Kentucky falls to 1-2 on the season and 0-1 in Sun Belt play.

Senior cornerback Tyrell Pearson was key to helping the Jaguars defeat the Hilltoppers. He had not seen any playing time in the previous 11 quarters of play until the fourth quarter of the game against Western Kentucky. But he made two key plays in the final stanza to help propel the Jags to the win.

With less than three minutes left in the game, Doughty’s pass is picked off by Pearson with only green turf between him and the endzone to set up the Jaguars go-ahead touchdown. Then with Western Kentucky facing 4th and 10 at the Jaguar 13 needing a touchdown with :05 left in the game, Pearson would pick off Doughty’s pass in the endzone to seal the victory.

The Hilltoppers opened the game with a 5 play, 79 yard drive spanning 2:40 to quickly go ahead 7-0. However the Jaguars would respond with their own drive. Highlighted with passes by Ross Metheny to Jereme Jones for 18 yards, Wes Saxton for 7 yards, Danny Woodson Jr for 9 yards to get down to the Hilltopper 37 yard line. Then Metheny would run for 13 yards before hitting Shavarez Smith for 15 yards for a 1st and Goal at the WKU 9 yard line. Facing 4th and goal inside the 1 yard line and after a time out, Metheny would lean on his offensive line and get the touchdown to cap off the 10 play, 75 yard drive spanning 4:14 to tie the game at seven.

The Hilltoppers would put together another scoring drive of 15 plays, 73 yards taking 7:34 off of the clock to take a 14-7 lead over the Jaguars.

The Jags next possession would begin with :32 left in the first quarter at their own 28 yard line. A rush by Jay Jones for four yards would end the first quarter. Starting the second quarter, Metheny would find Saxton for a 37 yards pass to get down to the ‘topper 31 yard line. The Jags would only be able to get to the 25 yard line before behind held to a 42 yard Aleem Sunanon field goal to cut the Hilltopper lead to 14-10. The drive was 6 plays, 47 yards and took 1:36 off the clock.

The Jaguar defense stiffened and opened the WKU possession with a 12 yard sack of Brandon Doughty by Romelle Jones to put them 2nd and 22 at their own 27 yard line. On 4th and 16, WKU would boom a 52 yard punt and T.J. Glover would lose two yards on the return to be downed at the Jaguar 13 yard line.

After getting a first down on a Trey Fetner run around the right side of the line out to the Jaguar 27 yard line, Metheny would be sacked for a 13 yard loss back to the 14 yard line. The Jags would not be able to get a first down and Scott Garber’s punt would go 42 yards and the returner would lose a yard on the return to the WKU 42. A holding penalty would back them up to the 32 yard line with 9:10 left before halftime.

The Hilltoppers would put together a 6 play, 68 yard drive over 3:23 to score a touchdown on a 20 yard pass for Western Kentucky to take a 21-10 lead with 5:47 left in the second quarter.

The ensuing USA possession would start at their own 25 yard line but on the first play they Metheny would connect with Saxton again for 23 yards out to the 48 yard line. Facing 4th and 1 at the WKU 43, Coach Jones would call a time out after lining up for a punt. After the time out, the snap in the punt formation would go to Trey Fetner and he would roll out to the right and try to connect with Jereme Jones, but the ball would fall incomplete to turn the ball over on downs with 3:20 left before halftime.

The Jags received the ball to begin the second half. Glover would return it from the two yard line out to the 27 before being hit and fumbling the ball forward where Desmond LaVelle would recover it for the Jaguars at the 39 yard line. Brandon Bridge would enter the game at quarterback and after back-to-back incompletions, he would find Corey Waldon for a 15 yard first down into Western Kentucky territory at the 46 yard line. He would take a seven yard sack but would connect with Saxton for a 24 yard gain to the ‘topper 29 yard line. After another seven yard loss by Bridge, Dinham would gain 10 yards on a rush to set up Sunanon’s 43 yard field goal that he would put through the uprights. The USA drive went 35 yards over nine plays spanning 3:25 to cut the Hilltopper lead to 21-13 with 11:35 left in the 3rd quarter.

South Alabama’s defense would force a punt on the next WKU possession, only allowing one first down and 24 total yards.

Starting at their own 11 yard line with 8:59 left in the 3rd quarter they would begin a critical drive, both for the team and for the fans in the stands. Brandon Bridge would pull the ball down and run for 23 yards out to the Jaguar 38 on 3rd and 6 for a fresh set of downs and getting the Jaguar offense in gear. Jay Jones would rush for five yards, then Bridge would find Bryant Lavender for six yards out to the Jaguar 49 yard line. After an eight yard sack, Bridge would load up and connect with Jereme Jones for 25 yards and a first down at the WKU 34 yard line.

Facing 3rd down and 4 at the WKU 28, Coach Jones would call his second time out of the half with 5:04 left in the 3rd quarter. Bridge would connect with Jereme Jones again for seven yards and another key first down. on 3rd and 8, Bridge would scramble for 15 yards and slide down at the 4 yard line. Jay Jones would punch it in with 3:23 left in the game to cut the Jaguars deficit to two points. Coach Jones would immediately call for a two-point conversion to try to tie the game. They would use some trickeration with a snap to the running back, a lateral to Jake Howton who would throw to a wide open Ross Metheny in the end zone to tie the game at 21.

Western Kentucky would begin at their own 28 after the kickoff. A few plays later, facing 2nd and 10 at the Jaguar 15 yard line, Romelle Jones and Clifton Crews would combine for a 12 yard sack on Doughty back at the Jaguar 27 yard line to end the 3rd quarter, a quarter in which the Jags held a time of possession advantage of 9:01 to 5:59.

Doughty’s 4th down pass would fall incomplete and they would have to settle for a 44 yard Garrett Schwettman field goal to take a 24-21 lead with 14:47 left in the game.

The ensuing kickoff would go out of bounds at the Jaguar 8 yard line, the penalty would place the ball at the 35 yard line. The Jags would have to call their second time out of the half prior to the first down play after the kickoff as the play clock was running down. On the first down play, Bridge would scramble for a 26 yard gain to the Western Kentucky 39 yard line before getting out of bounds. Jay Jones would then rush for 12 yards to the WKU 27. Bridge’s pass on 3rd and 3 at the WKU 20 intended for Saxton would fall incomplete but Sunanon would drill a 37 yard field goal to tie the game at 24-24 with 12:28 left in the game.

On the ensuing WKU possession, Anthony Wales would return the kickoff 30 yards out to the WKU 45 yard line to begin the drive. A few plays later, facing 4th and 2, Bobby Petrino would decide to go for the first down, but the Jaguar defense would hold as the pass would fall incomplete giving South Alabama the ball at the Jaguar 47 yard line with 10:25 left in the game.

Ross Metheny would return to the game and would connect with Shavarez Smith for a leaping catch for a 50 yard gain at the Western Kentucky 3 yard line. Kendall Houston appeared to score the go-ahead touchdown, but after review, they placed the ball at the one foot line for 3rd and goal. Metheny would be unable to punch it in and Coach Jones decided to kick what seemed like an easy three points. However, Sunanon’s 17 yard kick from the right hashmarks would stay right of the goalpost leaving the game tied at 24-24.

Western Kentucky would take over at their own 20 yard line and drive down to the Jaguar 46 before Doughty’s 3rd down pass was intercepted by Alex Page at the WKU 42 yard line with 4:24 left in the game.

Looking like the Jaguars were going to be able to drive down and set up a game-winning score while milking the clock, Western Kentucky would force a fumble by the sure-handed Jereme Jones to give them the ball at their own 17 yard line with 2:59 left in the game.

On 3rd and 10, Doughty would connect with Norris for 29 yards and a first down at the WKU 46 yard line. But on the very next play, Tyrell Pearson would make a break on the throw and intercept it at midfield for what looked like a pick-six touchdown. However, he would be flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for celebration at the 1 yard line, negating the touchdown. The 15 yard penalty would back it up to the 16 yard line with 2:12 left in the game.

Jay Jones would open the possession with a two yard rush to the WKU 14 and forcing Petrino to use one of his time outs with 2:02 left. Metheny would rush for 12 yards and a first down at the two yard line before getting out of bounds and stopping the clock. Kendall Houston would only manage a one yard gain to around the 1 yard line forcing Petrino to use another time out with 1:46 left in the game. Trey Fetner would finally put the ball in the end zone to give the Jaguars a 31-24 lead with 1:38 left in the game.

The Hilltoppers would field the kickoff at their 13 and return it 21 yards to their own 34 yard line. Montell Garner would be flagged for pass interference spotting the ball at the 43 yard line with an automatic first down. Andrews would rush for 15 yards to the Jaguar 42 yard line. Another pass interference would be called, this time on Maleki Harris to place the ball at the 41 yard line. The Hilltoppers would get down the Jaguar 13 yard line with a 1st and 10 and time continuing to run. Alex Page would put pressure on Doughty to force and incomplete pass. After another incomplete pass, the Jags would call a time out on 3rd and 10 to set their defense and get a quick breather.

After the time out, Pat Moore would put the pressure on Doughty to for another incomplete pass bring up 4th and 10 at the 13 with :05 left in the game. Bobby Petrino would use his final time out to set up his last chance. This time Doughty would be pressured again and Tyrell Pearson would intercept it in the end zone to seal the Jaguar victor, 31-24.

South Alabama was outgained by Western Kentucky in total yards 427 – 414, passing yards 282 – 270 and rushing yards 145 – 144. WKU had 26 first downs to the Jaguars 18. The Hilltoppers ran 74 offensive plays, while the Jags ran 66. WKU converted 9-of-17 third downs while South Alabama converted 5-of-13.

Jay Jones led the Jags with 49 yards rushing on 11 carries. Bridge added 42 on six carries. Dinham and Metheny both added 22 yards.

Ross Metheny went 11-of15 for 193 yards and was sacked once. Bridge wen 5-of-11 for 77 yards and had two sacks. Fetner went 0-of-1.

Receiving, Wes Saxton had 91 yards on four receptions. Shavarez Smith had 72 yards on three catches. Jereme Jones added 68 yards on four receptions. Woodson, Waldon, Lavender and Dinham all also had catches in the game as well.

Qudarius Ford led the defense with 12 tackles. Enrique Williams was right behind him with 11 and combined with another Jaguar for a tackle for loss. Clifton Crews had six tackles and a half of a sack. Romelle Jones added four stops including 1.5 sacks.

“The game was as exciting as it gets. I can’t take any more of those kind of games,” Jag head coach Joey Jones joked after the game. “That’s three in a row that have come down to the last play. But I’ll take the win.”

“I’m so excited for our guys, they fought through until the end,” he continued. “Last year we weren’t making plays at the end of the game, this year we are.”

Metheny stated after the game, “I think we executed at a higher level tonight, offensively. Going in tonight I think we had a better game plan and to be able to respond to adversity the way we did. We just executed at a high level tonight. We can see what we can do offensively when we do that.”

“That’s a tough loss, we had our opportunities to win the game,” said Western Kentucky head coach Bobby Petrino. “Starting right at the end of the first half, we have control of the game and a chance on a two-minute drive to go score, and we don’t take advantage of the opportunity. They (South Alabama) made some plays in the second half. We had our chances at the end, we dropped a couple of touchdown passes and threw an interception, so we just didn’t get it done. I thought we would come down here and perform well, so I’m pretty disappointed in our performance but you have to take your hat off to South Alabama. They played well.”

“I want to commend coach Petrino and his team. Western Kentucky is a great football team. We knew that coming in,” Jones stated. “They have a first-class organization, they do things right. For us to come out on the winning side against those guys is definitely the biggest win we’ve had since I’ve been here at South Alabama. You saw how big and physical they were, and our guys stood up to the challenge.”

South Alabama will have an off week before returning to action in Knoxville, Tennessee on September 28 when they face the University of Tennessee at Neyland Stadium.

South Alabama Defeats Tulane 41-39 In The Superdome

September 9, 2013 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
South Alabama celebrates their 41-39 win over Tulane on Saturday, September 7, 2013 in the Superdome.

South Alabama celebrates their 41-39 win over Tulane on Saturday, September 7, 2013 in the Superdome.

Hard work pays off.

After the season opening loss to Southern Utah, the Jags refocused and went through a week of hard nosed workouts to prepare for their trip to New Orleans. They were determined to prove they are a better team than what the fans saw on Thursday night against the Thunderbirds.

They did just that.

“That was a great win for a lot of reasons,” head coach Joey Jones said after the game. “We struggled last week at the end of the game. We played well for three-and-a-half quarters but then lost it. In this game we played well, but then they came back and we bowed up and won it. That’s a sweet way to win a ballgame. Tulane is a much improved team.”

“But my hat’s off to my staff,” Jones continued. “We worked 16 hours a day since last Thursday night because we care about these players. And these players care about this team. They came and worked, we had a great practice week. They did everything we asked them, never dropped their heads and they came out and won the ballgame today. That’s what it’s all about. That is a good life lesson for them there.”

The Jaguars got started early when Jay Jones picked up 29 yards on the first play from scrimmage. After an incomplete pass, Metheny would gain 11 yards on a quarterback draw. Metheny would cut up the middle again and race in for a 35 yard touchdown to take a 7-0 lead in only 47 seconds of play.

Tulane responded with passes from Nick Montana to Rob Kelley for 15 yards, Ryan Grant for eight but Terrell Brigham would force a fumble that would be recovered by Montell Garner at the Tulane 46 yard line. The second possession would not yield points for the Jaguar though, as Cris Dinham could only manage eight yards on 3rd and 11 and would lose two yards on fourth down to turn the ball over on downs.

After a three and out by the Jaguar defense, Ross Metheny and the Jaguar offense would begin at their own 40 after a 16 yard punt by Tulane. Metheny started the drive with a five yard run, but a personal foul on Sam Scofield would add 15 yards to put the Jags in Tulane territory at the 40 yard line. Metheny would then connect with Wes Saxton for 26 yards before connecting with Shavarez Smith for the 14 yard touchdown to take a 14-0 lead with 10:18 left in the opening quarter. The drive spanned three plays covering 60 yards in 56 seconds.

The Green Wave would respond on their next possession. Montana would hit Grant for a 41 yard gain with Orleans Darkwa capping it off with a run over right tackle for two yards for the touchdown to cut the Jaguar lead in half at 14-7 with 5:56 left in the first quarter.

South Alabama would get it back on their next possession. Dinham opened the series with a four yard rush to the Jaguar 29 before Metheny went back to his tight end Wes Saxton for 24 yards down the sideline to the Tulane 47 yard line. After a short gain by Dinham again, Metheny would run on back to back plays for seven and five yards. A couple plays later, facing 3rd and 3 at the Tulane 30 yard line, Metheny would connect with Davin Hawkins for his first career touchdown reception as the Jags lead extends to 21-7.

The Jaguar defense would force a punt on Tulane’s next possession. Metheny would open the Jaguars drive on the USA 20 yard line and would quickly throw a strike to Danny Woodson for 41 yards to the Tulane 39 yard line. Metheny’s pass intended for Bryant Lavender would fall incomplete, however a pass interference call would would move the ball down to the Tulane 24 yard line. Kendall Houston would end the quarter with a four yard rush up the middle to the Tulane 20. Metheny would find Saxton open on 3rd and 6 to get the first down at the Tulane 12 yard line. After an incomplete pass, Metheny would run for 12 yards on a quarterback draw for the touchdown and a three score lead at 28-7 with 13:52 left in the second quarter.

The Green Wave would piece together an 11 play, 80 yard drive for a touchdown to cut the Jaguar lead to 28-14 with 10:23 left in the game.

On the kickoff, T.J. Glover took the ball out of the end zone and only got out to the 12 yard line, but an illegal block would move it back to the Jaguar 6 yard line. USA managed one first down before being forced to punt from their 17 yard line. However, a bad snap would get past Scott Garber, but a heads-up play by him prevented a touchdown and only gave Tulane two points on a safety to make the score 28-16.

The Jags defense would force a three-and-out on the next Tulane possession, but on the second down play, Randon Carnathan would be injured and did not return to the game. More on his injury below.

T.J. Glover would return the punt 27 yards from the Jaguar 14 to the 41 to start their possession. On the first play, with Brandon Bridge in at quarterback, the Jags would be flagged for a false start to back them up to five yards. Jay Jones would get it back and then some with a 13 yard rush up the middle just short of midfield. Two plays later on 2nd and 9, the offense would be flagged for another false start to make it 2nd and 14 and coach Jones would call a time out to settle his offense down. The Jags would be forced to punt two plays later. Garber’s 46 yard punt would go into the endzone for a touchback with 3:06 left until halftime.

Tulane would open their possession with another deep pass from Montana to Grant for 45 yards to get to the Jaguar 35 yard line. The Jaguar defense would hold the Green Wave to a 47 yard field goal as Tulane cut Jaguar lead to 28-19 with 1:31 left until halftime.

Starting from their own 25 after the touchback on the kickoff, Jay Jones would rush for five yards on back-to-back plays as it looked like Coach Jones and Coach Matthews were content to run out the clock on the half. But then Metheny would find Jereme Jones for an 18 yard gain to the Tulane 47 yard line. The offense would run to the line to spike the ball as the Jags only had one time out with 14 seconds left till halftime. Metheny would then go back to Saxton again for 10 more yards to the Tulane 37 with :07 seconds left and they would call their final time out. Metheny would connect with Saxton one more time for eight yards and he would get out of bounds at the Tulane 29 yard line. Aleem Sunanon would make the 46 yard field goal attempt to lead the Jaguars into the lockerroom with a 31-19 lead at halftime.

Tulane would begin the second half with Dante Butler returning the kickoff from the endzone to the 19 yard line before Rush Hendrix would take him down. A false start would back them up to their own 14 yard line. On 3rd and 14, Romelle Jones would sack Montana for a six yard loss at the Tulane 9 yard line.

The Jags would have Glover’s 12 yard punt return brought back as E.J. May was flagged for an illegal block to start a bad possession for the Jaguars. Two plays later on 3rd and 5 at the Tulane 48 yard line, Metheny’s pass would bounce off of Bryant Lavender’s chest and would be intercepted by Nico Marley and returned 30 yards to the Jaguar 30 yard line, but a personal foul would move the ball to the 15 yard line. Tulane would score a touchdown three plays later when Darkwa would take it in from one yard out to cut the Jaguar lead to 31-26 with 11:42 left in the 3rd quarter.

On the ensuing possession for the Jaguars, facing 3rd and 8 from the Jaguar 27, Metheny would find Jereme Jones across the middle for 11 yards and a first down. But two plays later Metheny, running the read option, would fumble the exchange with Dinham that would be recovered by Marley at the Jaguar 39 yard line. The Jags would force an incompletion by Montana on 4th and 2 at the Jaguar 31 to give the offense the ball back on downs with 8:47 left in the 3rd quarter.

Metheny would start the possession with a 12 yard run before connecting with Saxton on back-to-back passes for 12 and 4 yards. But on 3rd and 5 at the Tulane 40, Metheny would be flushed from the pocket and try to float a pass to Saxton on the right sideline, but a leaping defender would pick it off and return it 25 yards to the Jaguar 40 before offensive lineman Drew Dearman forced him out of bounds saving a touchdown.

Montana would connect with Grant again for a 40 yard touchdown pass on their first play. Grant would be flagged for excessive celebration and the Jags would be flagged for roughing the passer. The defensive penalty was enforced on the kickoff while the celebration penalty was enforced on the PAT. Tulane would get their first and only lead of the game at 33-31 with 6:35 left in the 3rd quarter.

The Jags would drive 17 yards before being forced to punt which was fair caught at the Tulane 20 yard line. On 3rd and 8 from their own 22, Montana was sacked for a 10 yard loss by Alex Page. The special teams unit stepped up to help the offense as Qudarius Ford blocked the Tulane punt and Terrance Timmons would recover it in the endzone for a Jaguar touchdown to give the Jags the lead once again at 38-33 with 1:13 left in the 3rd quarter.

The Tulane and the Jaguars next possession would be three-and-out’s. Tulane’s next possession would be a disaster. A nine yard rush by Kelley would come back on a holding call to make it 1st and 20 at the Tulane 45. A bad snap would cause them to lose six more yards for a 2nd and 26 at their own 39 yard line. Montana’s screen pass to Butler would be sniffed out by Romelle Jones for a four yard loss to make it 3rd and 30 at their own 35. Clifton Crews would then sack Montana for another six yard loss to make it 4th and 36 from the Tulane 29.

The Tulane punt would be fielded at the Jaguar 25 by Glover and returned one yard, but Montell Garner would be flagged for a personal foul to move it back to the Jaguar 13 yard line with 10:43 left in the game.

The Jags would go three and out again and Scott Garber’s 45 yard punt would be returned only three yards to put the ball at the Green Wave 45 yard line. Montana would try another deep pass but Roman Buchanan would pick him off at the Jaguar 16 yard line and  it would be upheld after a review.

The Jags would take over at their own 16 yard line with 9:46 left in the game and a 38-33 lead. Metheny would open up with a 15 yard completion from Metheny to Davin Hawkins but he would fumble it out of bounds at the Jaguar 31 yard line. Then Metheny would load up again and connect with Shavarez Smith for a big 43 yard gain to the Tulane 26 yard line. After a rush by Dinham for no gain and an incomplete pass, the Jags faced 3rd and 10. Metheny would hand it off to Dinham who took it over left end and would go out of bounds after a 14 yard gain to the Tulane 12 yard line and another South Alabama first down. Jay Jones would run off left end for eight more yards to the Tulane 4 yard line. Houston would lose two on a rush, then on 3rd down Metheny’s pass to Jereme Jones would fall incomplete. Coach Jones would opt to take points and kick a 23 yard field goal to put the Jags up 41-33 with 6:07 left in the game.

Brandon McKee’s kickoff would be fielded at the one yard line and David Hawkins would bring down the Green Wave returner at the 18 yard line. Montana would find Matt Marfisi for 18 yards to the Tulane 36. After a deep pass intended for Grant fell incomplete, he came right back to Grant for nine yards on the sideline. Darkwa would get the first down on 3rd and 1 by getting two yards. Montana, after an incomplete pass, would find Xavier Rush for 10 yards and another first down. A run by Montana would go for 11 yards to get into Jaguar territory at the 43 yard line. A screen pass to Kelley would gain six yards, then a slant pass to Sydie London would gain three more yards to the Jaguar 23. Two plays later Montana would complete a pass to Rush for 10 more yards to the Jaguar 12 yard line. After a draw play only gained two yards to the Jaguar 10 yard line, Tulane would take a time out with 1:31 left in the game. After lining up, the Jags would take a time out to adjust their defense. On 2nd and 8 at the Jaguar 10 yard line, Montana’s pass appeared to be intercepted by Roman Buchanan, but after a review it was called an incomplete pass. On the next play Montana would hit Grant for a 10 yard touchdown to draw them within a two point conversion with 1:19 left in the game.

On the two point play, Montana was pressured out of the pocket to the right sideline when the Jaguars brought a blitz, he would put up a throw but it would be intercepted by Maleki Harris leaving the Jaguars up 41-39. The Jags would use their final time out to set up for the onsides kick. The kick would go nine yards and would be recovered by Bryant Lavender at the Tulane 44 yard line. The Jags could finally end the game with the victory formation.

South Alabama put up great offensive numbers. They gained 328 yard in the first half, which almost equaled the the 335 yards they gained in the whole game against Southern Utah in the previous game.

The Jags ended the game with 465 total yards of offense, 297 yards through the air and 168 on the ground. USA gained 25 first downs to Tulane’s 20. Tulane ended with a slight edge time of possession with 30:03 to USA’s 29:57.

Ross Metheny ended the game as the leading rusher with 75 yards on 11 attempts and two touchdowns. Jay Jones gained 64 yards on 11 carries, Dinham added 28 yards on 10 carries and Houston had 17 yards on 7 carries.

Tulane’s Orleans Darkwa rushed 10 times for 32 yards and two touchdowns.

Ross Metheny went 19-of-30 for 290 yards and two touchdowns while taking two sacks and two interceptions. Bridge was 1-of-2 for seven yards.

Nick Montana went 29-of-47 for 327 yards and three touchdowns and one interception.

Wes Saxton led the Jaguars with 92 yards on 7 catches. Jereme Jones added four catches for 50 yards, Danny Woodson also had 50 yards on three catches. Shavarez Smith gained 57 yards on two catches with a touchdown. Davin Hawkins caught two passes for 45 yards and his first career touchdown as a Jaguar. Two other Jags had catches as well.

Tulane’s highly touted receiver lived up to his billing with 187 yards on 14 catches and two touchdowns. Xavier Rush was the next closest with 34 yards on three catches.

Defensively, Qudarius Ford led the Jags with 8 total tackles, two pass breakups and a punt block. Romelle Jones and Terrell Brigham both added seven stops with Jones collecting two tackles for loss and one sack. Clifton Crews and Alex Page both had a sack as well. Roman Buchanan had the only interception for the Jaguar defense.

Tulane’s Sam Scofield led all tacklers with 15 total, 13 solo and two for loss. Robertson added 11 tackles, two for loss and a sack for the Green Wave.

South Alabama scored touchdowns on four of their first five drives.

Tulane rebounded early in the second half by turning three Jaguar turnovers into 14 points to take the lead on the Jags.

Qudarius Ford said after the game, “We practiced that punt block all week. We knew they weren’t going to be ready for it. When the coaches called it, I knew it was going to work. We just executed. We saw how the wings always flared out, and it left the underneath gap wide open. I knew when I got through that it was money.”

It was the first time since Tennessee-Martin on October 15, 2011 that the Jaguar offense has put together multiple scoring drives that were under a minute.

The 21-7 first quarter marked the most point production by the Jaguars in the first quarter of a game since they scored 20 against Lamar on September 10, 2011. They gained 245 yards and 11 first downs in the opening quarter.

The 465 yards of total offense is the most against an FBS school in the University’s short history. Metheny’s four scores is another school-record.

“We were just taking what they gave us and kept rolling,” Ross Metheny stated after the game. “We made the plays tonight, and that’s what our offense is set up to do. We put ourselves in position to make the plays, we just have to make them. We struggled with that a little last year and last week as well. But we finally made the plays and did what we were supposed to do tonight.”

“We got up big early,” Metheny continued. “The offense played great the first half, probably the best offensive half we have had. Then we came out and had three turnovers fairly quickly in the second half, but the defense was playing really good in the second half. We had to have a big play, and we blocked the punt. The punt return staff did a great job of coming up with that punt block. It was something we saw on film, and it worked just right. You have to make those plays in order to win big games and we did it.”

“It’s the biggest win we’ve ever had,” Jones stated. “We have a lot of games coming that we can win. Winning is a habit. We want our guys to win, and they have done that. I’m so proud of the way they fought back, and fought against the fact we lost last week late in the game and came out here and won a tough game on the road.”

“Tulane is a much-improved team, and they have a good football program,” he continued. “They’re going to do well in Conference USA. For us to come on the road and win one like that is big for the South Alabama football program. Curtis Johnson (Tulane head coach), his staff and the players acted first class the entire game. My hat’s off to them. They are the kind of team you want to play against, because they play the game the right way.”

Coach Jones spoke about true freshman Roman Buchanan by saying, “Coming in and playing like that in Division I football as a true freshman is big. We know he’s a great player, and he’s going to be a great one in the future for sure.”

Coach Jones also spoke about stopping the two-point conversion at the end of the game. He said, “That was big. Most teams want to sprint out to the right, and I went up to coach Sherrer and asked him if we were going to bring edge pressure and he said, ‘We’re going to bring everybody.’ We brought an all-out blitz and pressured the quarterback, and he couldn’t really get his feet set to throw the ball. It was a great call by coach Sherrer.”

When asked if he would like to see a series between the two schools, Jones replied, “I would love for it to be. Two hours away; we’d love to have a rivalry with them in the future.”

However the two teams are not scheduled to play again until October 10, 2020 when Tulane travels to Mobile.

Randon Carnathan’s injury turned out to be some sort of Achilles heel injury and was in a protective boot on the sidelines when he returned to the sideline. The extent of his injury is unknown

JuCo tranfer Jerome McClain came out of the game with a concussion. He will have to clear medical tests before he will be allowed to return to practice or games.

Losing two defensive linemen will hurt their depth at that position.

Jereme Jones consecutive games with a catch streak is up to 29 now.

South Alabama will open Sun Belt play on Saturday when they play Western Kentucky for the first time. The game will feature Bobby Petrino’s up-tempo offense that they used to defeat Kentucky on the road to open the season. South Alabama and Western Kentucky is set to kick off at 6:30pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Come out and support your Jaguars in this key Sun Belt game. Go Jags!

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.

Jones Pleased With Preparations For ULL

November 23, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Coach Tommy Perry talks with running back Terrance Timmons during preseason camp.

Overall Coach Jones is pleased with the preparations his team and coaching staff has made this week for their trip to Lafayette. Jones noted the balance the Ragin’ Cajuns have on both sides of the ball and how this will be a tough game for his team.

“I think the coaches have done a good job of honing things down. I say simplifying or cutting out some of the excess things we had in the gameplan where the kids could go out there and execute,” Jones said. “I think that’s the best thing that’s happened. I think the kids have studied it and have executed it very well to this point.”

The Jags went through a two-hour practice, their final prior to the game, on Thursday morning at the South Alabama Practice Facility. They met again later for a Thanksgiving lunch.

This is another first in South Alabama history as they have never played this late into the season before so this was the first time the team and the coaching staff had to schedule practices and activities around Thanksgiving day.

“First of all, you wish these young men could go home and be with their families, but obviously we are their extended family and I think there’s a certain love there as family members on this football team,” Jones said. “It’s the second best thing to going home.”

“We’re going to feed them at lunch and treat them like they are at home,” Jones continued. “Some of the guys will go home today, guys who live close by, will go home to eat and be with their families. They’ll be back tonight and get ready to leave (Friday) to go to Lafayette.”

South Alabama’s woes at the running back position will continue this weekend at Louisiana-Lafayette as both Demetre Baker and Kendall Houston will not play. Head Coach Joey Jones said after practice on Thursday that both have ankle injuries.

Baker and Houston are two of the top three rushers on the team. Baker leads the running back corps with 595 yards in nine games while Houston is third on the team with 207 yards rushing in 11 games. They have combined to score five of the teams nine rushing touchdowns.

When asked if the loss of Baker and Houston would limit what the Jags will be able to do offensively against the Ragin’ Cajun’s Coach Jones said, “It really doesn’t. We’re going to run our offense. Obviously, in goal-line situations we have some other guys who are going to come in. But other than goal-line and short-yardage, we’re going to run our offense.”

“Certainly, we don’t need to get anymore of them hurt,” Jones continued. “We’re down to the few and the proud right now. But we’re not going to change our offense.”

Terrance Timmons and T.J. Glover will see the most playing time at running back for the Jags against ULL. Ellis Hill, Julian Valentin will also see some playing time as well as quarterback Trey Fetner in certain situations.

Defensive lineman Will Thompson will miss the game as well with an ankle injury.

Jereme Jones, who sufferred a concussion against Middle Tennessee game last week, has been cleared to play. He has the school record of 25 consecutive games with a reception. He is also the teams leading receiver with 444 yards on 39 catches with six touchdowns.

South Alabama and Louisiana-Lafayette will kick off at 4pm in Lafayette, Louisiana. The game will be televised on ESPN3 and can be heard on 105.5 WNSP or their website http://www.wnsp.com/

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.

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.

Monday Press Conference

October 30, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama held their weekly press conference on Monday. Head coach Joey Jones was joined by wide receiver Jereme Jones and placekicker Michel Chapuseaux. They recapped their game at Louisiana-Monroe and their upcoming game against Florida International.

Below are some highlights from the press conference.

Coach Jones’ opening statement. “On a positive note about the game the other night, it’s late in the third quarter, almost the fourth quarter, the score is 21-21 and I was thinking how we were playing with the top team in the league. I had a good feeling about it, then we faltered a little bit in the fourth quarter. Some of that is due to depth right now. We had to play a lot of guys out there with no reps. I noticed that they were rotating a lot of guys, they just had more depth than us and that affected us a little in the fourth quarter.”

“That’s the positive side of it,” Jones continued. “Like the young men said earlier, we don’t want to lose. We keep fighting, but deep down inside I know our kids are really improving, especially on offense, the defense has been pretty consistent all along. On special teams we didn’t play great the other night, and that really hurt us with field position. The kickoff coverage wasn’t great, and we had a punt blocked that affected us right before the half. We have some areas we have to improve on, and special teams is definitely one of them.”

“FIU’s team and their record don’t match up,” Jones observed. “They are 1-8, but I know that they have a great staff down there and they have great players. Their quarterback was hurt for a few games and they lost all those games when he was out, when he came back they barely lost to Troy, barely lost to Middle Tennessee and barely lost to Western Kentucky. They are a very good football team, there is no doubt about it. When I look at them on film, I don’t see a 1-8 team at all.”

Coach Jones then spoke about the strides that the offense have made in recent weeks. “I think that it’s two things. Number one, it’s just the maturity of the offense. It’s a new system for us, the players are starting to learn the system better. Second, I think that settling on a quarterback has really helped, Ross has come in and done a great job with leadership and with managing the game. We’ve had one turnover in the last three games on offense, that’s something we talked about after we played Troy and had four turnovers. I don’t want to say that we have fixed it, but we have definitely gotten better with taking care of the football, and that’s a big reason why we are having more success.”

“And I think that the guys are just growing together,” Jones continued. “On the offensive line there are a couple of guys who have really improved, they are starting to grow up. Chris May played a great game this past week, he’s a freshman and is starting to learn, so we have some young guys on offense who are starting to pull it together.”

Jones then answered a question about third down conversions. “We were 3-of-13, and we dropped five passes. If we catch those five passes we’re 8-of-13 and everybody is smiling. It’s not an execution thing from the standpoint of what we are doing schematically, we just had a bad night the other night catching the football. There’s no other way around it. We usually don’t drop many passes, but the other night guys had balls right in their hands and dropped it. We just have to catch the ball and we will be fine.”

A question was asked about the discrepancy between FIU’s record and being picked to win the Sun Belt Conference Championship. “Their record and what we see on film are just two totally different things. I can’t believe that you look at them and they are 1-8 because they are a lot better football team than that. They have had some injuries, they have had some bad breaks and they lost their quarterback. We know they are a very good football team.”

“Troy was down 16 points in the fourth quarter and came back and beat them,” Jones observed. “Middle Tennessee won at the end of the game, and they ended up losing to Western [Kentucky] 14-6. It was 7-6 in the fourth quarter against a team that is probably as good as anybody in the league. That record is very, very deceiving.”

Wide receiver Jereme Jones spoke about the game against ULM. “We played OK in the first half [at ULM]. We didn’t do too much offensively in the second half. You’re never satisfied with a loss. We can always get better, but we made strides offensively. I think we’re still trying to get to where we want to be [offensively]. We’re still trying to bring offense and defense together, so that’s going to take some time.”

He then spoke about what they team has learned over the last few weeks. “Offensively, we learned that we never can be satisfied no matter how well we play. Sometimes we [offense] may have to carry the team the way the defense did the first few games before we found our groove. Now the offense is playing good, so we just have to come together and play as a team in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams.”

He then answered a question about the progress they have made against conference competition. “We feel good, but you never can be satisfied. Our record is not where we would like it to be, but we’re still trying to find what we’re looking for to start winning. But you never can be satisfied.”

Jones was asked about how the offense has improved over the last few games. “The chemistry has improved. We’re not running a two-quarterback rotation anymore, so I think we’re [offense] starting to get a feel for [quarterback] Ross [Metheny] and are learning where he likes to throw the ball. We’re getting used to him being that leader on offense.”

Finally he answered a question about what the team needs to do in order to be successful against FIU. “We have to improve on converting third downs offensively. We didn’t do too well at that last game [Louisiana-Monroe]. We made a few plays, but we’re not making the ones we need to make to get a ‘W’. So we just have to convert better on third downs and not get in third-and-long situations. We need to focus on that at practice this week in order to put ourselves in a position to earn a win this week.”

Placekicker and the Jaguars first player to be chosed to the weekly “Player of the Week” list by the Sun Belt Conference for special teams play, Michel Chapuseaux answered questions at the press conference.

He first spoke about last weekend’s game in Monroe. “Special-teams wise, we have a lot to improve on. I have a lot to improve on with kickoffs. Field goals have been a big part [of scoring], and I’m just happy to have the [six consecutive field goals made] streak that I have to this point and hopefully I can continue. We just want to continue to improve and finish our season strong.”

He also answered a question about what the team has learned over the last few weeks. “We’ve seen that we can hang with these guys [Sun Belt opponents]. There’s not much difference between their play and ours. It just comes down to execution and discipline.”

He then spoke about the progress made against conference competition. “We’re not satisfied, but to see what we’ve come from from the beginning [of the program] and what we’re doing now is a little unrealistic in some parts. But it’s really good to see what is going on now and where this program plans on going next.”

He also answered a question about what the team needs to do in order to be successful against FIU. “We just need to keep on executing on special teams, on field goals, extra points and kickoffs. We have to tighten it up on kickoff coverage, and get them [opponents] pinned down further than what we have been so far. We just have to pick it up coverage-wise.”

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.

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.

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