Jags hold on to defeat Georgia State in battle of new programs

October 31, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Coach John Turner working with the offensive line in the second half of the Jaguars game against the Georgia State Panthers.

South Alabama fended off a second half rally by Georgia State to hold on to a 39-34 victory at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. It was evident that two weeks of travel had taken their toll on the Jaguars. Coach Jones mentioned that it was Wednesday before the Jags recovered from their trip to California. But South Alabama’s play in the second quarter was enough for the Jags to stay ahead late in the game with field goals.

On the opening drive, the Panthers moved the ball methodically with three first downs in the opening four plays of the game to go from their 40 yard line to the Jaguar 19. They would top off their 10 play 60 yard drive with a 2 yard touchdown pass from Drew Little to Sidney Haynes on 4th down.

The Jags would answer as CJ Bennett would lead the offense on a 9 play 72 yard drive themselves. Kendall Houston would score from nine yards out, however Jordan Means would miss the point after attempt leaving the Jags behind 7-6.

After Georgia State got a first down on a clutch 3rd down completion, they would stumble due to a holding penalty and the Jaguar defense would force them to punt.

With 1:50 left in the first quarter, the Jags took over with great field position on their on 45 yard line. Then on second down, Bennett would find a ton of open green grass and would scamper for 26 yards down to the Panther 25 yard line before tripping up. However the Jags would not be able to move the ball any further. Lawson McGlon would miss the 42 yard attempt to leave the score 7-6 in favor of the Panthers.

The Jags defense would force another punt by the Panthers, however TJ Glover would fumble the punt giving the Panthers an easy chance to score at the Jaguar 14 yard line. Little would hit Jordan Giles to inside the Jaguar one yard line and would score two plays later on a quarterback sneak. With the PAT, the Panthers would go up 14-6 with 11:33 left in the second quarter.

South Alabama would answer right back with a 21 yard completion from Bennett to Courtney Smith on 2nd down to move out to the Jaguar 47 yard line. The first of three straight runs by Kendall Houston would move the ball across mid-field. With 2nd and 8 from the Panther 40, Bennett would find Bryant Lavender for a 40 yard touchdown strike. McGlon’s extra point would once again put the Jags within one at 14-13 with over nine minutes left in the second quarter.

After a 15 yard kickoff return to the Georgia State 30 yard line, Tim Harvey would pick off a deflected pass at the Panther 39 yard line. The Jags would open the possession with a completion from Bennett to Ralph Turner for 24 yards down to the Panther 15 yard line. Three plays later Bennett would connect with tight end Kevin Helms for a nine yard touchdown pass to take the lead. McGlon’s extra point would put the Jags up 20-14 with 6:57 left in the second quarter.

The Jaguar defense would hold the Panther offense to a three and out. South Alabama would not have an opportunity to return the punt as it was kicked out of bounds at the 20 yard line.

South Alabama would put together an impressive drive on the ensuing possession. After an incomplete pass and a five yard false start penalty, the Jaguars were facing 2nd and 15 from their own 15 yard line. Then a rush by TJ Glover would go 14 yards to the Jaguar 29 yard line. Then Kendall Houston would add six more yards for the first down and then some extra. Bennett would run for 13 yards down the left side before stepping out of bounds at the South Alabama 48 yard line. A completed pass from Bennett to Lavender would go for 18 yards to the Panther 34 yard line. Bennett would run for seven more yards followed by a Houston rush for 17 more yards to set up the Jags with a 1st and goal from near the 10 yard line. Back to back rushes would gain four yards from Glover and three more from Houston to give the Jags a 3rd and goal from the 3 yard line.

After a Jaguar time out, Bennett would throw to Jereme Jones on the left side of the endzone where he would make an amazing one-handed catch for the touchdown. McGlon kick would put the Jags up 27-14 with 41 seconds left until halftime.

Georgia State would start at their own 45 yard line after Chapuseaux’s kick would dribble out of bounds on what looked like an onsides kick or a surprise squib kick. A 13 yard completion would put the ball at the Jaguar 42 yard line. On the second play, Tim Harvey would pick off his second pass from Drew Little and would return it 47 yards to the Georgia State 18 yard line with 14 seconds left.

Coach Gregory, coming downstairs in preparation for halftime, had to hurry to the sidelines to call a pass play towards the endzone to try for a touchdown without any timeouts left. Courtney Smith just could not hold onto the ball in the endzone so the Jags decided to kick a 35 yard field goal. Lawson McGlon would make it to extend the Jags lead to 30-14 with 3 seconds left until halftime.

The 3rd quarter would be pretty quiet as both teams combined for three 3 and outs in the first four possessions. But the Jags would get in gear after a Panther punt would only go 27 yards out of bounds at their own 49 yard line. Houston would carry twice to open the possession for 8 and 5 yards respectively and a first down at the Panther 36 yard line. A 7 yard completion from Bennett to Lavender would put the ball at the 29 yard line. A rush for no gain by Glover would be followed by a 22 yard completion from Bennett to Lavender at the Panther 7 yard line with a first and goal.

Houston would then run for four yards down to the three yard line before getting dropped for a loss of three back to the six yard line. Bennett would then be hurried and would step up in the pocket and find Ralph Turner for an apparent touchdown, except an ineligible receiver down field would wipe it off the board. After an incomplete pass, the Jags faced 4th and goal at the 11 yard line. Lawson McGlon would make the 28 yard field goal to extend the Jags lead to 33-14 with 3:52 left in the 3rd quarter.

Chapuseaux’s kickoff would be fielded at the 9 yard line and Albert Lewis would return it 50 yards to the Jaguar 41 before being forced out of bounds. A two yard rush would open the drive for the Panthers before calling a timeout. on 2nd and 8, Andy Dalgleish would sack Drew Little for eight yards back to the USA 47 yard line. The next play would make up for it and much more as Little would connect with Danny Williams for a 47 yard touchdown to cut the lead to 33-21 with 2:11 left in the 3rd quarter.

TJ Glover would return the Panther kickoff 46 yards down to the Georgia State 38 yard line to start the next possession. Houston would power for 13 yards to the Panther 25 yard line and a first down. On 2nd and 10, Houston would rush for nine yards just shy of the first down at the Panther 8 yard line and running out the time in the 3rd quarter.

To open up the 4th quarter, Houston would run for six yards to the Georgia State 2 yard line. An pass intended for Lemontis Gardner would go incomplete in the end zone. CJ Bennett’s quarterback sneak would be fumbled and recovered by the Jags at the 1 yard line to bring up 4th down. With some shouts from the crowd, Coach Jones decided to kick the field goal to extend the Jaguar lead to 36-21 with 13:25 left in the game.

Georgia State would open their drive with a 39 yard completion from Little to Sidney Haynes to get down to the Jaguar 25 yard line. A four yard completion to Danny Williams would set up for a 20 yard completion to Travis Evans for first and goal at the Jaguar 1 yard line. The quarterback sneak would net them a touchdown, but Romelle Jones would stand big in the middle and block the extra point attempt leaving the Jags ahead by nine points at 36-27 with 11:24 left in the game.

A short kickoff would be fielded by Kevin Helms and returned 14 yards to the Jaguar 44 yard line. Three consecutive runs by Houston would go for 7, 7 and 10 yards respectively to net the Jags two first downs. TJ Glover would follow up with a 17 yard rush down to the Panther 15 yard line. Then the Georgia State defense would snuff out any further Houston Rushes, holding him to one yard on two plays. A 3rd and 9 pass attempt would fall incomplete off of Kendall Houston’s fingertips to bring up 4th down. McGlon would make a 31 yard attempt to put the Jags up 39-27 with 7:34 left to play.

A 26 yard kickoff return would put the Panthers at their own 44 yard line to start their next possession. The Jaguar defense would hold strong to begin the possession, but a 10 yard completion would add 15 more yards when Anton Graphenreed would be flagged for a facemask placing the ball at the Jaguar 20 yard line. An eight yard pass would put the Panthers at the Jaguar 11, but a delay of game penalty on 4th and 1 would put them back at the 16 yard line. An 11 yard completion on 4th down would give the Panthers a first down on the 5 yard line. On the next play Kelton Hill would run up the middle for the touchdown, cutting the Jaguar lead down to five points, 39-34 with 3:57 left in the game.

Starting at their own 26 yard line, faced a similar situation as the week earlier. They only needed two first downs to finish out a close game. Houston would run on the first two plays, going for 4 and 2 yards to bring up a 3rd and 4 at the Jaguars 32 yard line. Georgia State would call a timeout with 2:58 left to preserve time and prepare a defense. Bennett would find Courtney Smith for 5 yards and the first down. Houston would then run for 2 yards out to the USA 39 yard line. Another timeout by Georgia State would exhaust their allotment for the second half with 2:15 left in the game.

Houston would drive forward for six yards to bring up a 3rd and 2 from the Jaguar 45 yard line. Coach Jones would let the time run all the way down before calling a timeout with 1:28 left. Houston would find a hole and go for nine more yards and the crucial first down. With no timeouts left for Georgia State the Jags would kneel the ball twice and end the game.

South Alabama would go for 474 total yards, 293 on the ground and another 181 through the air. While Georgia State would gain the most through the air with 234 yard passing and only 46 yards rushing for 280 total yards.

South Alabama was 8 of 14 on third down conversions while Georgia State was 3 of 10. USA did not go for it on 4th down while the Panthers was 2 for 2 on 4th down conversions.

Kendall Houston would carry the ball 31 times for 175 yards and a touchdown. CJ Bennett would run 10 times for 80 yards and TJ Glover would add 35 yards on five carries.

CJ Bennett would play the entire game, going 12-of-24 for 181 yards for three touchdowns and no interceptions. Bryant Lavender would lead the receivers with four catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. Courtney Smith would add four more catches and 52 yards. Three other Jaguars caught passes.

Georgia State’s leading running back was Kelton Hill with three rushes for 25 yards and a touchdown. Travis Evans added 6 carries for 14 yards.

Drew Little would go 20-of-34 for 214 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Danny Williams would catch 5 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. Sidney Haynes would catch 4 for 50 yards and the other touchdown. Six other receivers caught passes for the Panthers as well.

Lawson McGlon went 4-of-5 kicking field goals. Making kicks of 35, 28, 18 and 31 yards and missing one from 42 yards. Jordan Means would miss one PAT attempt and McGlon would make his three attempts.

Coach Jones remarked after the game, “We got ahead at halftime by playing really well offensively in the first half, and the defense made adjustments and played well after the first drive. We’ve been ahead a lot at halftime and the other team would fold, but this team didn’t fold. They came back out and got rolling on offense, and just played much better in the second half. My hat’s off to the Georgia State team for coming back and making a really good game out of it.”

Georgia State head coach Bill Curry remarked on the South Alabama program after the game. “I’m very much an admirer of coach Jones and the South Alabama program. I have been since the beginning,” explained Curry. “The way they do things, their emphasis on academics, integrity, the way they win, the way they dominated the turnover margin in their games and the way they had dominated the fourth quarter coming into our game. We hope to become a more consistent team and do a better job, so we can match up with them the next time we play, and we will get that done.”

South Alabama will host Henderson State for homecoming on Saturday, November 6 with kickoff scheduled for 4pm.

South Alabama shows guts and wins nail-biter at UC-Davis

October 24, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama Head Coach Joey Jones talks with Courtney Smith during a stoppage in play against Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

South Alabama’s game against UC-Davis really lived up to its billing. It had excitement, adversity, tough play, heart and a little luck. This recipe came out in favor of the Jaguars, 24-21. But most of all it answered some lingering questions that Coach Jones wanted answers to. The Jags were behind against Nicholls State early in the game, but pulled away in the second half. However, the Jags needed some fourth quarter heroics and a little luck to pull out the win in California.

The Jags had to overcome four turnovers, two interceptions thrown by Brennan Sim and two fumbles, one from Sim and another by Bennett late in the game and frankly nearly disastrous, for the win. However, the defense continued to step up and make plays when necessary. Anthony Taylor made two crucial sacks on the final Aggie drive to set up the attempted field goal to send the game into overtime.

Coach Jones wanted to see what his team could do if they were down in the fourth quarter. He wanted to see how his kids would respond having to play a full four quarters of football. Well, he got his answer alright.

“We came through at the end, the defense did a great job,” said head Coach Joey Jones. “We fumbled the ball on the 30, but we sacked them and made them kick a field goal that was fortunately wide right.”

“I have to tell you, UC-Davis is a great, first-class football team,” Jones continued. “We came out to California and beat an extremely good football team tonight. They have great players and are very well-coached team. We had so many setbacks during the game, whether it was penalties or turnovers, but never had the feeling we were out of the game. Our kids kept playing hard. It’s just a great statement for our program. People have been asking me all year long, and I know where we are now; we beat a great I-AA program that won its conference last year, is probably going to win it this year, and beat San Jose State this season. We’re up there. Are we Division I-A yet? No, but we’re probably close.”

The Jags will return to Ladd-Peebles stadium to round out their season with three consecutive home games. The first of which will have Georgia State, in their first season of football, coming to Mobile coached by former University of Alabama head coach Bill Curry on Saturday, October 30th. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00pm.

Continue for a more detailed breakdown of the game.
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Another Big Win For The Jags, 52-3 Over Kentucky Wesleyan

October 5, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama’s Paul Bennett dives for the end zone in the Jaguars win against Kentucky Wesleyan.

South Alabama scores a 52-3 win over Kentucky Wesleyan at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The Jags defense forced five turnovers which tied a school record in the game.

The Jags got started quick in the game. After taking the opening kick off out to their own 36 yard line, Brandon Ross took the first hand off from starting quarterback Brennan Sim, 62 yards down to the Panthers two yard line. After a one yard gain up the middle by Ross, Kendall Houston plunged in for the touchdown after only one minute of play.

The first possession by the Panthers started at their own six yard line after a fumbling the kickoff. Two offensive plays netted seven yards for the Pathers before an illegal procedure penalty took them from third and short to third and long inside their own 10 yard line. A screen pass lost five yards and forced the Panthers to punt out of their own end zone.

The punt went out of bounds at the KWC 38 yard line, but a holding penalty on the Jags put them at the 48. The first two pass attempts by Sim went incomplete before he found Kevin Helms for six yards forcing the Jags to punt. A 41 yard punt by Scott Garber was downed at the Panther five yard line.

Kentucky Wesleyan got their first, first down of the game after a six yard rush and a five yard pass completion, however two plays later Jake Johnson would pick off a pass and set the Jags up at the Panther 14 yard line.

Kendall Houston, after being stopped for no gain on his first rush of the possession, he would break loose and score from 14 yards out to put the Jags up 14-0 with 8:19 left in the first quarter.

KWC, starting at their own 20 yard line, got their second first down of the game after a one yard rush, and eight yard completion and another one yard rush. But then they went into backwards gear. Two incomplete passes on first and second down forced KWC to call a timeout, but immediately following the time out they get flagged for a false start and moved back to the 25 yard line. Then Logan Bennett sacked the quarterback to put them back where they started at the 20 yard line.

The Panther punt went out of bounds at the Jaguar 31 yard line, but a group of penalties occurred. Offsetting personal fouls for both schools but also a 12 yard penalty on the Jags for holding put the ball at their own 19 yard line.

Myles Gibbon saw his first in-game action since his knee injury. His first play back was a 41 yard completion to Courtney Smith. This was followed up with a 15 yard rush by Brandon Ross to quickly move the ball to the Panther 25 yard line. Gibbon’s next pass was complete again to Courtney Smith for 11 more yards, however this play would be wiped away because of an illegal chop block. The penalty moved the ball back to the 40 yard line. An incomplete pass to Brandon Ross forced a fourth down punt by Garber that went into the endzone for a touchback.

Two short Panther completions began their next possession before their largest gain thus far in the game. An 18 yard pass completion and run got the Panthers out to the 43 yard line. Then a 15 yard facemask penalty on the Jags would put the Panther into Jaguar territory for the first time in the game. After a couple more plays, the Jags force the Panthers to punt.

The Jaguar returner let the ball go and had it downed at the four yard line. Gibbon, playing his second series of the game, would find Lamontis Gardner for 33 yards out to the Jagaur 37 yard line. An incomplete pass and a short run by Houston would bring up their and long at their own 39 yard line. But South Alabama would convert when Gibbon found Corey Waldon for 46 yards down to the Panther 15 yard line. T.J. Glover would lose four yards on a rush but Gibbon would find Paul Bennett for a 19 yard touchdown pass to put the Jags up 21-0 with 10:54 left in the second quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, Sammy Bland would return the kickoff 18 yards but would fumble the ball back to South Alabama. C.J. Bennett would come in for the Jaguars on this possession. he started out with three pass attempts. The first was complete for five yards to Corey Besteda, the second was incomplete then the third was complete to Besteda again for another four yards. After a Jaguar time out, C.J. Bennett would find Courtney Smith for a 19 yard touchdown on fourth and one. The Jags then lead 28-0 with 9:36 left in the second quarter.

KWC would go three and out on their next possession and a terrible punt would put the Jaguar offense at their own 49 yard line. Brennan Sim would return to the game for the Jags and would complete his first pass attempt to Bryant Lavender for 49 yards down to the Panther two yard line. Santuan McGee would cap off the two play drive with a two yard touchdown putting the Jags up 35-0 with 7:54 left in the second quarter.

On the Pathers first play, they were flagged for a holding penalty putting them back at their own 10 yard line. The next play was a personal foul penalty on South Alabama to give the Panthers a first down at the 25 yard line. Then KWC would complete a 37 yard pass to get down to the South Alabama 38 yard line. An incomplete pass and a six yard rush later and the Panthers are facing a third down and four at the Jaguar 32 yard line. Then defensive back Michael Wilson would pick off a Panther pass and return it 75 yards for another Jaguar touchdown. The Jags lead was then 42-0 with 5:11 left in the first half.

The kickoff went into the end zone for a touchback, but a five yard penalty was added on at the end because South Alabama was offsides on the kickoff. But no matter as the Jags force and recover a fumble by the Panthers. But the Jags were set back by 15 yards on a personal foul penalty.

C.J. Bennett would return to the game but would fumbled himself on the first play, putting the Jags in a second down and 18 yard situation which was complicated by a false start penalty. Then on second down and 22, Bennett would complete a four yard pass to Ralph Turner, but a flag on South Alabama for an illegal formation would be declined. On third down Bennett’s pass was incomplete forcing a Jaguar punt.

Kentucky Wesleyan would have their best drive and only points of the game on their last possession of the first half. Two big pass plays, one for 49 and the other for 23 would put them at the South Alabama 11 yard line. Three consecutive incomplete passes would lead to a Panther field goal. The score was 42-3 at halftime.

The second half started with a three and out by the Panthers. C.J. Bennett would lead the Jags on a six play 64 yard drive for a touchdown. The drive was highlighted by a 31 yard pass completion to Courtney Smith and topped off with a pass to Lemontis Gardner for a 25 yard touchdown. The Jags then lead 49-3 with 9:47 left in the third quarter.

The Panthers next possession spanned 6:16 in six plays but only went 11 yards before they punted. The possession had penalties on KWC for holding and the Jaguars for holding twice and an illegal block.

The Jags next series was six plays for 19 yards before the Jags punted. The Panthers returner fumbled the punt and was recovered by the Jags at the Panther 14 yard line. The Jags would then drive down to the one yard line, but on fourth down, Coach Jones send in Jordan Means for the easy field goal to wrap up scoring at 52-3.

For the game, South Alabama had seven running backs touch the ball. Brandon Ross had three carries for 78 yards, Houston had five carries for 17 yards and two touchdowns, and Ellis Hill had six carries for 15 yards.

Nine receivers caught passes in the game. Courtney Smith lead them with three receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown. Lemontis Gardner had two receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown, Ralph Turner had two for 17 and Corey Besteda had two for nine yards. Other receivers with only one reception each were Bryant Lavender for 49 yards, Corey Waldon for 46 yards, Paul Bennett for 19 and a touchdown, Kevin Helms for six yards and Jeremy Roberts for four yards.

The Quarterbacks went for a collective 14-of-24 for 299 yards and three touchdowns. Myles Gibbon was 4-of-7 for 139 yards and a touchdown, C.J. Bennett was 8-of-13 for 105 yards and two touchdowns while Brennan Sim went 2-of-4 for 55 yards.

USA had 14 first downs compared to 11 for Kentucky Wesleyan. Jags had 299 yards passing, 114 yards rushing for 413 yards of total offense. While the Panthers had only 19 yards rushing and 209 yards passing for 228 yards total.

Coach Jones commented after the game, “I thought we came out offensively and played well. They stacked the box on us and made us throw the ball; we have to get in the mode of throwing the ball down field when the opponent does that, which I think we were able to today.”

Coach Jones continued, “We can’t get complacent where we are. It’s up to our players, staff and everybody involved not to get complacent at any time. We know the task at hand. We have to get better next week.

The most obvious improvement has been special teams. Jags kickers did not boot a single kickoff out of bounds in this game. Kick coverage was much improved but still needs work with big games against Lamar, UC-Davis and Georgia State looming on the horizon.

South Alabama hosts Missouri S&T on Saturday, October 9 with kickoff scheduled for 4pm. The Jags will then depart the friendly confines of Ladd-Peebles Stadium for two road games against formidable opponents. The first is Lamar in Texas and UC-Davis in California.