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.
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/
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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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’s offense finally found a way to move the ball but cannot overcome a turnover and penalties in a 36-29 loss in Jonesboro, Arkansas to Arkansas State. The Jags would fall to 1-5 (0-2 SBC) for the season while Arkansas State would improve to 4-3 (2-1 SBC) for the season.
The Jaguar offense came to play against the Red Wolves on Saturday at Liberty Bank Stadium. The Jags took the opening possession on a 9 play 75 yard drive to open the scoring in the game. Then the defense would help them out by recovering a fumble on the Red Wolves first offensive play.
The Jags would move 16 yards in 7 plays before settling for a Michel Chapuseaux field goal to extend their lead to 10-0 with 7:52 left in the first quarter.
Chapuseaux would miss a field goal attempt, then convert another attempt as the Jags trail 14-13 at halftime. The Jags would not give up in the second half as they would score a touchdown with 17 seconds left in the game to cut the Arkansas State lead to 36-29. The Jags would not be able to recover the on-sides kick and fall on the road.
The Jags led in several statistical categories for the game. They led in first downs 24-23, rushing yards 132 – 113, passing yards 241 – 203, total offense 373 – 316, offensive plays 88 – 59 and time-of-possession 35:39 – 24:21.
Terrance Timmons was the leading rusher for the Jags with 43 yards on 13 carries, it would have been 56 yards except for a 13 yard loss late in the game. Kendall Houston added 36 yards on 18 carries, Metheny had 22 yards on 9 carries and Trey Fetner added 17 key yards on 3 carries.
With the new single-quarterback system, Ross Metheny went 24-of-38 for 241 yards, three touchdowns, an interception and a sack. T.J. Glover led the Jaguar receivers with 47 yards on 3 receptions, Corey Besteda led in receptions with 5 for 45 yards, Greg Hollinger added 30 yards on 5 catches, Jereme Jones had 44 yards on 3 catches as well. Bryant Lavender added 31 yards on three receptions, Timmons also had 3 catches for 29 yards.
The Jaguar defense held David Oku to 84 yards on 22 attempts. Ryan Aplin was 17-of-22 for 203 yards, three touchdowns and two sacks. McKissic caught seven of his passes for 41 yards and a touchdown. Another key receiver, Josh Jarboe was held in check as well with only 3 catches for 34 yards and a touchdown.
“You can see that this team is growing,” head coach Joey Jones said after the game. “I saw some great things out there tonight. We’re playing the Sun Belt champion from last year, they have a very good football team. We took them down to the wire and got to within six points in the fourth quarter, we were right where we wanted to be.”
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of these kids,” Jones continued. Despite what’s going on with a young team, they keep fighting and we’re getting better on the field. Offensively, we took care of the football and had 24 first downs, those were big positives. There were a lot of improvements, the kids fought and were having fun. It still hurts, but it was a darn good game.”
However the penalties were a bit too much to overcome. The Jags gave Arkansas State three attempts to convert a two-point conversion to go up 14 points in the fourth quarter. On the third attempt they converted.
But this was the spark that the offense needed. They got a solid, consistent performance at quarterback since the rotation is a thing of the past.
The offense came out and scored quickly and consistently moved the ball well throughout the game. The players should be encouraged at their progress this week.
The Jags will host Florida Atlantic on Saturday, October 20th for homecoming. FAU is also 1-5 (0-3 SBC) on the season. Kickoff time for the game should be announced early this week.
The South Alabama Jaguars lost their Sun Belt conference opener to Troy 31-10 in a penalty-filled, wet mess. Coming into this game, the Jags knew where they had been and knew where they wanted to be, but after this game they know where they are, at least for the time being.
The Jaguars had four turnovers in the game and could only muster 59 yards passing in the game. Troy’s Corey Robinson threw for 223 yards and ran for a touchdown in the win. But the game had 25 penalties, 15 on the Jaguars for 142 yards.
South Alabama forced five Troy turnovers, a number of them in very key situations where Troy was driving for scores. But the Jaguar offense only managed 51 yards of total offense and two first downs in the second half after they were able to gain 201 yards in the first half.
“Troy played a great game. They were probably a little better than us, and we made a few mistakes. You’re not going to play it close when you do that,” Jaguar head coach Joey Jones explained. “We had some first-half chances and I really thought after halftime that if we came out and scored it would be a different ballgame, but we didn’t do that. We’re a young program. We’re trying to get this thing going and sometimes this is part of it. We kind of know where we are now. Troy is a dominant team in the league, they’ve been there, done that.”
“Their defense made adjustments in the second half, and really shut us down,” Jones said. “I thought we moved the ball pretty good in the first half, but we didn’t in the second half and that was due to them making adjustments and playing well.”
“Offensively, they’re real explosive. They can move the ball at the drop of a hat,” Jones said. “I thought we played pretty good defensively at times, but they are very good offensively.”
Troy head coach Larry Blakeney said after the game, “We made the same basic game-plan calls in the second half that we made in the first. We probably ran them a little bit better. After you play a team for a half, you sort of scout them as you go as coach Dye used to say. You get better playing the things that they are doing. I think that was part of it. I thought we had a good plan against (South Alabama). They did some things a little different in some of the things they had done, but nothing majorly different. We sort of got in tune with them in the second half and played pretty hard and played better. Made some tackles and got a couple of tackles for loss, interceptions and turnovers.”
The game started well with B.J. Scott intercepting Corey Robinson on the Trojan’s first play from scrimmage, but the Jags were unable to convert the early turnover into points as they went three-and-out and forced to punt at the Troy 47 yard line.
After a rush for 11 yards and a first down, the Troy offense would be forced to punt, but T.J. Glover would fumble the punt at his own 29 yard line and it would be recovered by the Trojans.
The first and ten play would go for 24 yards to the Jaguar five yard line, but the Jaguar defense punt the clamps on again and forced Troy to settle for a 21 yard field goal.
Again the Jags would go three and out and the Scott Garber punt would be downed at the Troy 43 yard line. Corey Robinson would complete back-to-back passes for 16 and 38 yards to set up at the Jaguar one yard line. They would punch it in on the next play to take a 10-0 lead on the Jags with 8:05 left in the first quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, T.J. Glover would return the kickoff from the one yard line 21 yards but a holding penalty would put the Jags at their own 12 yard line. Demetre Baker would rush for 7 and 9 yards and a Jaguar first down. But Ross Metheny would run on the quarterback keeper and fumble the ball away to Troy at the Jaguar 30 yard line.
Troy would get flagged for a hold on their first down play and get backed up to the 38 yard line with a first and 18. A screen pass to Shawn Southward would be go for a loss of five as Jake Johnson and Romelle Jones combined for the stop. On second and 23, Southward would take the handoff 31 yards before Darrius Morrow would force a fumble that Terrel Brigham would recover at the Jaguar 6 yard line.
The Jags would finally get a good drive put together starting at the Jaguar 6 yard line. Baker would rush for 2 yards then lose a yard on the second run. Then C.J. Bennett, who rotated in for Ross Metheny, would scramble for 10 yards and a first down at the 17 yard line. Baker would rush again for 3 more yards then the Jags would take a time out with 3:29 left in the first quarter.
On 2nd and 7, Glover would come in as a running back and rush for nine yards and a first down. Bennett’s pass attempt to Wes Saxton would fall incomplete, then Glover would rush for 6 more yards to set up a 3rd and 4 at the Jaguar 35 yard line. Demetre Baker would come in for Glover and run for 10 yards and another Jaguar first down. After an incomplete pass to Cameron Broadnax, Bennett would opt to keep the ball and find a seam for a 50 yard run down to the Troy five yard line. Another run around the right side for Bennett would net two yards.
Trey Fetner would come into the game and run left for the three yard touchdown to get the Jags on the board 10-7 with 46 seconds left in the first quarter.
Troy would answer the Jags touchdown with one of their own. An 8 play, 70 yard drive spanning 4 minutes on the clock would put the Trojans up 17-7 with 11:46 left in the second quarter.
On the kickoff, Glover would get a 22 yard return out to the Jaguar 24 yard line, but a personal fould on Terrel Brigham would place the ball at their own 12 yard line. The Jags would go three and out and after a four yard return, would be set up near midfield at the Troy 48 yard line.
After a holding penalty on Troy, they faced a 2nd and 13 at the Jaguar 39 and Gabe Loper would intercept the Robinson pass at the 28 yard line and return it 19 yards out to the Jaguar 47 yare line. with 8:17 left in the half.
Baker would open the series with a 15 yard rush down to the Troy 48 yard line. Bennett would then run the ball for another 9 yards. On back to back rushes by Baker, he would rush for 4 and 1 yards, but on the second rush Troy’s Zach Miller would be flagged for a personal foul to place the ball at the Troy 12 yard line with a first down. After a Kendall Houston rush for three yards, Bennett would throw an incomplete pass intended for Lavender. Then on third and 7 at the Troy 9 yard line, Bennett’s pass intended for Jereme Jones in the end zone would be picked off and returned 10 yards.
The Jags defense would force a three and out and get the ball at their own 49 yard line with 4:18 left in the game. Metheny would return to the game and hand off to Demetre Baker on the first two plays for 6 and 3 yards. Then the Metheny pass intended for Greg Hollinger would fall incompleted forcing Garber to punt again.
Starting on their own 20 yard line, Robinson’s pass to Chip Reeves would go for 19 yards then the Jaguar sidelines would be penalized 5 yards for a delay of game as well as Tyrell Pearson being flagged for a personal foul for another 15 yards, putting the ball at the Jaguar 41 yard line. After an incomplete pass, Robinson would find Reeves again for another 39 yards to the Jaguar 2 yard line. Robinson would run the ball in on the next play to put the Trojans up 24-7 with 2:13 left in the half.
The Jags would put together another good drive on the ensuing possession. A short kickoff would be fielded by Randon Carnathan and returned 12 yards to the 35 yard line. Baker would rush for one yard on the first down play. Then Metheny would find Corey Besteda for a 19 yard gain to the Troy 45 yard line. Then Metheny would run for five yard and get out of bounds to stop the clock. Baker would run for another three yards followed by Metheny gaining a yard then the Jags would call a time out with 38 seconds left in the half to set up their 4th and 1 play.
After coming out with Fetner at quarterback and Metheny at receiver, Troy would burn a timeout to adjust. Then the Jags would come out with Metheny back at quarterback to which Larry Blakeney would be forced to burn another time out to adjust to. Then, with Troy out of time outs Fetner would return to the game and run for the needed yard and a first down at the Troy 35.
Metheny would throw a pass to Baker in the flat, but he would cut it back inside for no gain and forced the coaching staff to call a time out to stop the clock with 20 seconds left. Metheny would hit Jereme Jones for 11 yards and a first down at the Troy 24 yard line. The field goal unit would run on the first and the 41 yard attempt would be blocked but recovered by Demetre Baker at the Troy 31 yard line with 4 seconds left in the half. The Jags would be penalized for delay of game. With one second left in the half, the Jags would get one last shot and Chapuseaux would connect on the 53 yard field goal for a halftime score of 24-10 in favor of Troy.
The Jags would go three and out on their first series of the second half. Troy would drive down to the Jaguar 7 yard line befroe facing a 3rd and 6 at the 7 yard line, Alex Page would sack Robinson for a 13 yard loss and forcing Troy to attempt a field goal. The attempt would be blocked and recovered by Gabe Loper.
The next Jaguar possession, they would go three and out. Garber’s punt would be fair caught at the 26, but an illegal block would back them up to the 16 yard line. Troy would drive down to the Jaguar 7 yard line facing first and goal, Justin Albert would get caught for a loss then Jesse Kelley would force a fumble that would be recovered by Enrique Williams at the Jaguar 16 yard line and avoiding a Trojan score.
Yet again, the Jaguar offense would go three and out and forced to punt. Back to back competions for Troy would go for 17 and 19 yards down to the Jaguar 27 yard line to end the third quarter. Two plays later, Robinson would be picked off in the end zone by Charles Watson for a touchback.
Baker would rush for a yard, Bennett’s first pass would fall incomplete intended for Hollinger, then on third and 9, Bennett would hit Jereme Jones for 19 yards to the Jaguar 40 yard line. Bennett would keep the ball for an 8 yard gain then Baker is caught for a two yard loss to set up third down and 4. Tremain Smith would be flagged for a false start then the 3rd and 9 pass would fall incomplete forcing the Jags to punt again.
On the punt, Troy would be flagged for holding to put the ball back at the Troy 14 yard line. Deon Anthony’s pass would be thrown up in the sky and completed to Chris Williams for a 44 yard gain. Again the Jaguar bench would be flagged for a 5 yard delay of game penalty as well. Troy would get a touchdown a few plays later for the final score of the game to make it 31-10.
The Jags would get the ball two more times. Metheny would be intercepted on his first pass attempt on a deep throw at the Troy 17. On their second, The Jags managed one first down before being forced to punt with 34 seconds left in the game.
“It’s our first Sun Belt Conference game, and I have to keep things in perspective as do our kids,” Coach Jones observed. “We’re all competitors and want to win. For us to play and beat a team like Troy in our first conference game would be a miracle. But as a coach, I look at it and think there were things we could have done to have been in the ballgame. We’re going to get there, we’re not quite there yet, but we’re going to get there. We’re just going through a growing time right now.”
Sometimes those growing pains hurt the worst when you had a chance in the game. But some penalties were so bizarre, that it was unbelievable.
For instance in the waning moments of the first half the Jags elect to kick a field goal with 14 seconds remaining on first down. The Chapuseaux kick was blocked and recovered by the Jags so the Troy field goal unit went to the sidelines to celebrate what they thought was a block and turnover. The South Alabama coaches found the nearest officials and told them that the ball should still be possessed by the Jags since an attempt was made and the ball was blocked and therefore never went past the line of scrimmage.
Meanwhile, the Jaguar kicking unit stayed on the field and the Troy coaches, special teams unit and offense were all grouped together near the sidelines conferring with the officials. Once the referee made the call, the Jaguar special teams unit was standing at the line of scrimmage waiting to snap the ball as the official stood over the ball. Once the whistle was blown, the Jags snapped the ball but it was immediately whistled dead. The penalty? Delay of game on the offense.
After marking off a five yard penalty, Michel Chapuseaux drilled a 53 yard field goal, the longest in his career and set a new Jaguar record for longest field goal.
That was such as the game went. Numerous obvious fouls occurred in front of officials that were perputrated by Troy that were never called. Junior defensive back Zach Miller, after a long incompletion by the Jags, was walking back to the line of scrimmage and as Corey Besteda jogged past him, shoved him in the back. It wasn’t a “genty nudge” or anything like that. It was a full on shove that was meant to try to make him lose balance. But it was not called, nor did the referee in the area caution him about the incident.
I think that sequence to end the first half really let the air out of the team in many ways. But they did not give up. They fought very hard in the second half and turned away a couple of scores, the offense could not get going with the hole they faced.