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.

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 09-10-2013

September 12, 2013 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · Comment 

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Head coach Joey Jones, Lee Shirvanian were joined by assistant coach Brian Turner at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard in Mobile.

They were quickly talking about how good the Jags win over Tulane was for the team. The Jags came out quick and finished the game. Coach Jones was very proud of the team and mentioned that most of the plays went our way and we were able to get the win.

Ross is the first Jaguar to be the Offensive Player of the Week. He was ready to play, prepared well and knew where to go with the ball.

Lee asked about the blocked punt the Jags had against Tulane. He asked if that was schemed. Coach Jones said it was. They saw on film how they protected on punts and saw a gap between their wing and their tackle. He also mentioned that their personal protector moved up to the line to change the protection but the center snapped the ball before they could change it and they were wide open to block the punt.

Injury report by Coach Jones noted that Randon Carnathan is going to miss the remainder of the season with an Achilles heel injury. Late in the season last year he tore his ACL and spent the offseason rehabbing and earning his spot back and then this happens to him in the second game of his final season.

Jerome McClain, who went out of the Tulane game with a concussion, was cleared to rejoin the team on the practice field on Wednesday. That is a bright spot for the defensive line since they lost Will Thompson in the preseason because of ankle surgery and now Carnathan.

Lee turned to Coach Turner, who coaches the defensive line, and asked how Carnathan’s injury affects them. Turner said that it’s tough losing a player, especially a senior with the experience and leadership they bring and Randon bring personally. They are deeper at that position and they rotate lots of players so they should be okay.

Romelle Jones was named the defensive lineman of the week by the coaches for his performance against Tulane with seven tackles, two tackles-for-loss and a sack with four quarterback pressures.
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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!

Coach Joey Jones Show Recap 09-03-2013

September 4, 2013 · Filed Under Football, Joey Jones Radio Show · 2 Comments 
Head coach Joey Jones speaks with sideline reporter Pat Greenwood heading into halftime against Middle Tennessee on Saturday, November 17, 2012.

Head coach Joey Jones speaks with sideline reporter Pat Greenwood heading into halftime against Middle Tennessee on Saturday, November 17, 2012.

Lee Shirvanian and Coach Joey Jones were joined by offensive coordinator Robert Matthews on the radio show on Tuesday hosted at Baumhower’s Restaurant on Airport Boulevard in Mobile.

Coach Jones mentioned Aleem as being a good kicker and that he just needs to get into the game and hit a few kicks to get his confidence going since he is a redshirt freshman. The Jags have had a pair of fifth-year seniors over the last two seasons at the placekicker spot and they brought a lot of experience to the team at that position.

He also spoke about the fake punt by Southern Utah that went for a first down. He mentioned that they ran the same exact fake punt play in practice during the week and there were supposed to be five guys spying the punter but they all failed to do their job.

Coach Matthews, along with being the offensive coordinator, also coaches the offensive line. He thought the line did a pretty good job by opening some decent run lanes for the running backs and protecting the quarterback. They weren’t perfect and that is something they have to work on, but it was an encouraging game because that was all correctable.

Lee asked how he thought the offense performed. Coach Matthews reiterated what coach Jones said that they did well at times but need to put more points on the board and take advantage of opportunities. They need to make some of those big plays on offense and become more explosive. He also mentioned that South Alabama was up by eight points in the fourth quarter and they had the ball late, so it was up to them to get a few first downs and win the game.

Lee asked about a play late in the game with the ball at the 50 yard line where SU was about to get a big pass play to set up a score. He mentioned that some people mentioned to him that that play was illegal, so he asked Coach Jones about it. Coach Jones said that it was not an illegal play, but they ran a guy on the field late from the sidelines after the formation was set so the defense didn’t account for him. The result was a wide open receiver. He does not know if it was a planned play or what, but it was not reviewable play if it were an illegal play.

Question from a listener about the quarterbacks. He mentioned that last season Coach Jones indicated he didn’t like the rotation. Both Jones and Matthews said that they are better at the quarterback position over last season. Ross Metheny has improved and Brandon Bridge is progressing in the offense. It goes back to something Coach Jones has said every season, if they have players that good, impact players they will find a way get them on the field because that helps to give them the best chance at winning the ball game.

Caller asked three different questions to Coach Jones. The first was the E.J. May interception that was ruled incomplete. Coach Jones said that, via the replay board, he was able to see that the ball came out and that it was a good call so they did not challenge the play. His second question was about a power formation with two tight ends which Coach Jones said that they do have that formation, but they just don’t have that many big tight ends. His last one was about the two quarterback system again concerning a rotation. Coach Jones referred back and reiterated some of his comments earlier in the radio show.

Another caller asked about West Florida possibly adding football, but not Division I. Coach Jones said it would be good for them, he just hopes they don’t go Division I and pull some players that might go to South Alabama.

While answering another part of the callers question, Coach Jones indicated that Dejon Funderburk was going to redshirt this season, but the way he stated it was that it was not their decision and somehow it came from the NCAA. But he did say that with him and transfer Marvin Shinn, they may have the best scout team recevier corps in the nation.

Talking about Tulane, they have a good running back returning this season. They also have a very good receiver that returns as well. Coach Jones said he may be one of the best they face this season.

Lee mentioned that this will be the last season Tulane plays in the Superdome because they are building their own stadium. He asked how it is different to play in a dome. Coach Jones mentioned that it is different for punt returners because it messes with the depth perception. Kickoff returns isn’t really affected because of the contrast behind the ball.

Lee mentioned the start for the Sun Belt this season with Texas State defeating Southern Miss in Hattiesburg and Western Kentucky defeating Kentucky. Both Louisiana teams, Lafayette and Monroe, both didn’t fare so well this week. A big game this weekend for Lee is Western Kentucky at Tennessee since the Jags will face them in a few weeks. Plus Bobby Petrino is familiar with the SEC so it could be a very interesting game.

Lee asked about Arkansas State’s game at Auburn this weekend and if it’s a big advantage for a head coach to face the team he left from the previous season for a new team. Coach Matthews said that there were several coaches left at ASU that were under coach Malzahn and knows what his schemes will be like. But coach Malzahn should be very familiar with the personnel that he will be facing.

Coach Jones ended the show talking about the team. Lee asked him how important the game at Tulane is after losing to Southern Utah. Coach Jones said that every game is important and that they will not be favored by 20 points or anything in any of their game. But he wants his team to be one that goes out every week and gets better while playing hard nosed football. If they do that they can win some games.

Jags Return To Practice Field

September 3, 2013 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
First year defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer talks with the defense on the sidelines at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in the Jaguars season opener against Southern Utah on Thursday night.

First year defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer talks with the defense on the sidelines at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in the Jaguars season opener against Southern Utah on Thursday night.

South Alabama returned to the practice field on Sunday night for the first time since the Jags season opening loss to Southern Utah. Prior to the light workout in shorts and helmets, they had a team meeting that lasted almost two hours.

The two days prior, the coaching staff poured over the game film breaking down the game and grading performances. Head coach Joey Jones told AL.com, “Looking at the film, I feel like we did some really good things. But the thing we didn’t do was obvious – we didn’t finish the game. We were up eight points with eight minutes left and we lose the ball game. We learned a hard lesson from that.”

“Defensively, we’ve got to stop them, and offensively we’ve got to make first downs late to win the ball game. That’s bottom line. But, the positive side, even though we had a couple of special teams breakdowns, special teams was great. Kickoff coverage was probably the best we’ve ever had – it averaged on the 15 yard line. Kickoff return, we averaged 31 yards per return. Punt team was a 42.1 (yard) average and tackling with a less than 1 yard return.”

“We did some good things. When you have a loss you tend to look at things and it seems like everything is gloom and doom. In some ways it is. But we did some positive things. The thing I challenged the guys with today was we’re going to fight and we’re going to get better. We’re a better team. If we had finished out the game the other night we’d feel a lot better, but we just didn’t finish. So we’ve got to learn to win ball games. We’re at a point with our team, we’ve just got to get that taste of it again. We had a chance and we let it slip away.”

South Alabama started the game by moving the ball quickly with two first downs in their first three offensive plays of the game, however their drive stalled and forced them to punt. Southern Utah was able to capitalize on their drives and went up 10-0 on their first two drives of the game. The Jags would cut the lead to 10-7 prior to halftime.

SU would add a field goal in the second half before the Jags took the lead 14-13 then extended their lead to 21-13 early in the fourth quarter.

Unlike last season, the Jags took care of the ball with only one turnover, however that turnover proved to be costly as Southern Utah turned that turnover into six points but failed on the two-point conversion in an attempt to tie the game.

Besides not finishing the game, the Jags allowed too many big plays. Yet, the Jags could have won the game late with a couple first downs or two field goals in the first half.

It was evident that the Jaguar offense has improved from last season. Shavarez Smith and Danny Woodson gives Metheny and Bridge more options to throw to. Jay Jones showed his speed with a 57 yard run. Brandon Bridge also showed his ability with his 40 yard touchdown run in the first half.

The defense began the game fairly shakey, but in-game adjustments held SU to only three points through the second and third quarters. The Jaguars defensive line had problems getting pressure on the quarterback and stopping the run as SU running backs picked up some big gains. The secondary did not come up with any turnovers, but did break up five passes. However when the game was on the line, they gave up a huge first down on 2nd and 12 and a 13-yard first down on a 3rd and 5.

The Jags will look to correct these areas this week before they travel to New Orleans to face an improved Tulane team on Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30pm.

Coach Jones did say that defensive back Tyrell Pearson and tight end Ben Giles will return from suspension for violations of team rules. Cornerback Akeem Appleton will serve one more game suspension after sitting out the Thursday night game as well.

Jags Lose Heartbreaker On Kick As Time Expires

August 30, 2013 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
First year defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer talks with the defense on the sidelines at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in the Jaguars season opener against Southern Utah on Thursday night.

First year defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer talks with the defense on the sidelines at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in the Jaguars season opener against Southern Utah on Thursday night.

The South Alabama Jaguars fell to Southern Utah on a 28-yard field goal by Colton Cook as time expired 22-21 Thursday night at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. This is the Jaguars second loss in a season opener game in the last two seasons. Similarly, Texas-San Antonio defeated the Jags on a field goal with 16-seconds remaining in the game a year ago.

The Jags started the game with two first downs in their first three plays before a pass interference penalty on Wes Saxton turned what would have been a 20-yard completion into a 3rd and 25 that the Jags could not convert. Garber’s 41-yard punt would put the Thunderbirds at their own 23 yard line to begin.

Southern Utah start quickly with a 12 play 61 yard drive to get the first points of the game on a 33 yard field goal by Colton Cook.

On the ensuing kickoff, T.J. Glover would pick up the ball after a bounce and return it down the left side for 43 yards to the Jaguar 48 yard line. JuCo transfer Cris Dinham woudl open the drive with a four yard rush before Ross Metheny would find Jereme Jones for an 11 yard completion for a first down and extending his consecutive game with a reception streak. After an incomplete pass to Saxton, Metheny would find Juco tranfer Shavarz Smith for 13 yards to the Thunderbird 20 yard line. Dinham would rush for another five yards before Jay Jones would get stopped for no gain. On Third and five at the SU 15 yard line, Metheny would get sacked by Zak Browning for a nine yard loss. Aleem Sunanon’s 41 yard field goal attempt would sail wide right.

On the first play of the Southern Utah drive Montell Garner would be flagged for pass interference with the ball being placed at the spot of the foul the Thunderbirds would have it first and 10 at their won 38 yard line. Aaron Cantu would find Alphin open and he would scamper for 54 yards to the Jaguar 8 yard line. After a Thunderbird time out, RaySean Martin would run on back-to-back plays for 7 yards and one yard to score the touchdown to put the Thunderbirds ahead 10-0 with 1:16 left in the first quarter.

The Jags would get one first down on their next drive before being forced to punt. The Thunderbird returner would call for a fair catch at their own 11 yard line.

The Jags would hold SU to a three-and-out giving the Jags great field position at the SU 43 after a 30 yard punt by Brock Miller.

Brandon Bridge would take over at quarterback for the second quarter. The drive would open with an 11 yard rush by Jay Jones followed by a 12 yard run by Bridge to move the ball down to the SU 20 yard line. After two incomplete passes to Saxton and Rush Hendrix, the Jags would call a time out. Bridge would run for 1 yard on 3rd and 10 then Coach Jones would opt for a 37 yard field goal attempt by Sunanon which was blocked. Very frustratingly Chris May would be flagged for an personal foul tacking on another 15 yards to give the Thunderbirds great field position at their 44 yard line.

Cantu would complete a 12 yard pass to the Jaguar 38 yard line to convert on 3rd and 4. But on the next play Cantu would be sacked and he would fumble the ball and inadvertently kicked down the field that Southern Utah would eventually recover after a 27 yard loss to face 2nd and 37 from their own 35 yard line. THeir situation would be complicated further after a false start backed them up five more yards for 2nd and 42 at their own 30 yard line. After a loss of two and a gain of one on back-to-back rushes, the Thunderbirds would be forced to punt on 4th and 43 from their own 29 yard line.

South Alabama would begin their drive at their won 28 yard line after the 43 yard punt is downed by T.J. Glover. Bridge would complete a pass to Dinham for four yards before handing it off to him again for one yard. On 3rd and 5, Bridge would find Danny Woodson Jr for 10 yards out to the USA 43. Bridge would run for four yards on first down before connecting with Smith for 13 yards to the SU 40 yard line. Bridge would take the snap and take off for a 40 yard touchdown to put the Jags on the board but still trailing the Thunderbirds 10-7 with 4:37 left in the first half.

The second half would begin the same as the first half for the Thunderbirds. After the Jags stopped SU on third down to force a 4th and 2, a fake punt would net 26 yards and a first down at the Jaguar 28 for the Thunderbirds. The Jags would hold again but Cook would connect on a 37 yard field goal to extend their lead to 13-7 at the 11:15 mark in the 3rd quarter.

The Jags would respond on their ensuing possession with Jay Jones opening with a 9 yard rush out to the USA 36 yard line. Two plays later, Jones would run up the middle for 57 yards to the SU 4 yard line before being caught. Kendall Houston would run for three yards and no gain on back-to-back carries. SU would call a time out before Randon Carnathan would get a carry into the end zone. After the time out facing 3rd and goal at the 1, Rush Hendrix would be called for a false start to back them up to the 6 yard line. Metheny would find Jereme Jones on a slant for a six yard touchdown. The point after would put the Jags up 14-13 with 7:38 left in the quarter.

A roughing the passer on the touchdown play would put the kickoff at the 50, but Hendrix would be flagged for an off-sides on the kickoff. The rekick from the USA 45 would be fair caught at the Thunderbird 11 to give them worse field position.

The Jaguar defense would force SU to go three-and-out in back-to-back possessions. The Jags would begin their drive at the USA 36 with 1:23 left in the third quarter. Dinham would run on three-consecutive plays for 4, 8 and -1 yards respectively. Metheny would find Woodson open for a 33 yard gain down to the SU 20 yard line before being forced out of bounds. Two plays later Metheny would find Woodson again for a 20 yard touchdown down the left sideline to put the Jaguars up 21-13 with 14:47 left in the game.

The game would be a bit of a stalemate until close to midway through the quarter. On 3rd and 9 at their own 23 yard line, Bridge’s pass intended for Hendrix would be intercepted at the USA 43 yard line.

SU would capitalize on the mistake. After a 7-yard sack on Cantu by Maleki Harris, Cantu would find Griff McNabb open for a 44 yard gain to the Jaguar 6 yard line. Three plays later Cantu would find an open receiver for the touchdown. Their two-point conversion attempt would fall incomplete to leave the Jaguars up 21-19.

The Jags would go three-and-out on the next possession giving the Thunderbirds the ball with 4:43 left in the game.

Martin would rush for 6 then 9 yards on back-to-back carries out to the 50 yard line. They would steadily match down the field with a big 16 yard pass completion to put them at the Jaguar 27 yard line. The Jags would take a time out with 42 seconds left with the ball at the Jag 22. Malik Brown would rush for 13 yards to the Jaguar 9 yard line. After a two yard loss the Thunderbirds would let the clock run down before taking a timeout with 2 seconds left in the game. Cook would connected on the 28 yard field goal to end the game. Southern Utah 22 – USA 21.

The Jags would end the game with 16 first down to SU’s 14. Offensively the Jags put up 335 yards of total offense with 187 coming on the ground and 148 through the air. The Jags were 5-of-14 on third down.

The Jags defense allowed 317 total yards of offense with 183 yards passing and 134 yards rushing. SU converted five of their 15 third downs.

Jay Jones would lead the rushing attack with 92 yards on 9 carries. Bridge would add 60 yards on 7 carries, Dinham had 22 yards on 7 carries, Houston 17 yards on five carries, Metheny had 11 yards on three carries adn Valentin had one yard on 3 carries.

Shavarez Smith and Jereme Jones both caught five passes for 52 and 26 yards respectively with Jones getting the only touchdown of the two. Woodson would catch three for 63 yards and a touchdown. Five other Jags would catch a pass in the game.

Ross Metheny would go 12-of-17 for 112 yards and two touchdowns and a sack. Bridge would finish 6-of-11 for 36 yards and an interception.

Southern Utah’s Raysean Martin would rush for 110 yards on 23 carries for a game high. Cantu went 13-of-24 for 183 yards and a touchdown with three sacks. McNabb and Norris would catch 4 passes each for 77 and 20 yards respectively to highlight the receiving corps for SU.

“I want to congratulate Southern Utah for winning the ballgame,” said head coach Joey Jones. “We didn’t have a ton of mistakes, but they made the plays in the fourth quarter when they had to and ended up beating us. My hat’s off to them.”

“It’s a big disappointment. Any time you lose it’s a disappointment,” Jones said. “There’s nothing I can say in there to make them or myself feel any better. We lost a very important ballgame tonight. We’re a better team, but we have to look at ourselves and evaluate what we’re doing. We’re going to have to win some close games to have a good year, and that was one we let slip by.”

“We’re a better football team than that,” Ross Metheny stated. “We’re going to put a better product on the field, and like I said, we’ll just go back and learn. There’s two things we can do with this, we can either use it, learn from it and go forward, or we can tuck our tails and not benefit from it. I promise you that number two is not an option.”

The Jags will next play on the road in New Orleans against Tulane on Saturday, September 7 at 2:30pm in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Jags Finish Fall Camp With Scrimmage On Saturday

August 19, 2013 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
South Alabama Head Coach Joey Jones talking to his team after their scrimmage at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday, August 17, 2013.

South Alabama Head Coach Joey Jones talking to his team after their scrimmage at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Saturday, August 17, 2013.

The South Alabama Jaguar football team held their second scrimmage of preseason camp on Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium under dreary skies. Unlike last time, the offense was the standout until in this scrimmage with some big plays and 470 yards of total offense.

Ross Metheny went 12-of-15 for 125 yards and opened the scoring with a 19 yard scamper down the right sideline to cap off a seven play, 75 yard drive. The touchdown came two plays after a 31 yard pass completion to Cris Dinham.

Brandon Bridge passed for 101 yards on six completions, one of them to Danny Woodson Jr. for a 45 yard touchdown. Trey Fetner went 7-of-8 passing for 40 yards. All Jaguar quarterback combined to go 26-of-40 for 289 yards.

Fetner was the only quarterback to move the team during two-minute drills late in practice in the rain.

Woodson led all Jaguar receivers with 68 yards on three catches. Dinham added 63 yards on four catches. Bryant Lavender added three catches while Shavarez Smith, Caleb Alves and two other catched two passes each.

The Jaguar offense rushed for 181 yards on the day with Julien Valentin’s team leading 47 yards on 10 carries. He scored on a six-yard run during red-zone drills for the final points of the scrimmage. Terrance Timmons rushed seven times for 37 yards, Kendall Houston rushed for 27 yards on five carries and Kaleb Blanchard added 26 yards.

Head coach Joey Jones said, “He (Julien Valentin) came in there and showed me that he can be an every-down back. And Danny made a couple of big plays, not that that was surprising.”

Special teams added five field goals during the scrimmage. Aleem Sunanon connected on kicks from 32, 34 and 31 yards out. Logan Gunn connected from 29 and 37 yards out.

Defensively, Terrell Brigham and Devon Earl picked off two passes. Earl’s pick game on a pass deflection by Bryson James. Pat Moore led the team with six tackles, four were unassisted. Desmond LaVelle had five tackles and Bryson James, Anthony Harris and DeMarion Harper each recorded four. Harper collected 2.5 tackles for loss.

Jones also said that eight players, some projected starters on the defense, were limited or saw no action in the scrimmage. He indicated that those that were held out or saw limited action were four-year starters and didn’t need to see them in action on Saturday. They wanted to see the younger players in action for evaluation purposes.

The Jags will return to practice on Tuesday since Monday is the first day of classes on campus for the fall semester. However the coaches will be reviewing film and meeting to make decisions on the starting lineup, depth chart and travel team rosters.

The Jags are less than two weeks away from opening their season against Southern Utah on Thursday, August 29 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

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.

Monday Press Conference

November 27, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Romelle Jones and Alex Page give chase to the FAU quarterback during the Jaguars win in 2012.

The University of South Alabama held their weekly press conference on Monday. As the Jags are very busy preparing for their trip to Hawaii, the offensive and defensive coordinators filled in for head coach Joey Jones. The coordinators were joined by quarterback Ross Metheny and defensive lineman Romelle Jones. Below are highlights from the press conference.

Defensive Coordinator Bill Clark began with an opening statement. “We’re going to lose a day in travel, so we have had to kind of tighten our belts coming straight off the last game and get the game plan in even earlier than we normally would. It’s a different feeling this week, you’re at the end of a long season; as a player, you just have to fight through that. From a preparation standpoint, it’s a time crunch trying to get ready, I think we have done a good job the last couple of days.”

Clark then spoke about going up against a program that is run by Norm Chow, a well known coach. “It’s like the trip, it’s a great experience. Of course, these are the things that keep coaches up at night, going against a guy who has been at Southern Cal and with the Titans. And that’s who they are; it’s a pro-style offense. That has been a point of interest for our players given his history and how well he has done as a coordinator.”

“They came into their own last week and scored a lot of points,” he continued. “They have played against a lot of great opponents their first year he has been running the program, so I hope they are not hitting their stride right now.”

Clark then spoke about what he has seen from his players the last few weeks. “The thing that we have talked about is fighting, and before last week I felt really good. You can sit here and talk about us being banged up, injuries and playing 13 games, but we can’t do that. I will promise you one thing, I know our guys are going to fight. We’re going over there to get a ‘W.’ We really want to see these guys finish strong, and finish on a good note for the seniors and next year’s team.”

“Our guys came out last night to practice just like it was week six or seven, and they did the same thing today. I think as a fan you have to like what you see on both sides of the ball and the kicking game, the effort that they have put in this year. Hopefully that can translate to a win.”

Finally Clark spoke about how important it is to finish the season strong in Hawaii. “We’re going to see their maturity level. Can you go do these things, have some down time and still be about your business? We have a lot of guys who have been through the wars, but they haven’t been through this though. It will be interesting to see how handle the long travel, the different time zone and one of the most beautiful places on earth.”

First year offensive coordinator Robert Matthews began with his opening statement before the press. “I think one of the things we have to make sure we are good at this week is monitoring the maturity level of the team with the travel, the long trip, the changing of the schedule and being in a place like Waikiki Beach. Certainly it’s a place where most of the guys on our team have not been before so they are going to see some sights and it will be a life-changing experience for them. While they are excited about being able to go and see a place like Hawai’i, they need to understand that we are going to play a football game. That’s our ultimate job, to go there, play the game and get a victory. Making sure our team is mature and that they handle it the right way, which I’m sure they will, is real important for us.”

Matthews then spoke about what Hawaii does defensively to create problems for opponents offenses. “They are a pressure defense, they try to create pressure situations on the quarterback and try to pressure your run game. It’s based out of a 3-5 [formation], and they are using multiple fronts and multiple coverages. They really just try to create confusion up front, give your quarterback different looks and wreck your run game with movement and blitzes.”

He then spoke about what he wants to see from the offense in the last game of the season. “I want them to finish strong. We have done some good things at times, and certainly there are things we would like to take back and work to correct. I want them to play with great energy, and I want them to enjoy playing the game of football. These guys don’t realize how lucky they are to be playing Division I football and to have the experiences they are having. I want them to embrace this opportunity, this is our final game of the 2012 season, and play with the passion that got them started in the game.”

“Obviously we want to execute, score points and move the football, but if they play with a high energy level and with that true passion that got them playing the game in the first place, then I think we will be successful.”

Quarterback Ross Metheny spoke about what he hopes to accomplish in the final game of the season for the Jags. “It’s a big trip, and we’re excited about it. We’re excited about playing a new opponent, but we have to keep in mind that it is a business trip and we are going there to win a football game and take care of business. We’re going to have fun with it, but again it is a business trip and we’re looking to play our best football.”

“It would be big for us to get a win going in to the offseason, just to have some momentum,” he continued. “The coaches and players always preach finishing strong, and I think a win at Hawaii would definitely be a good finish especially for our seniors who have put in so much hard work in building this program and getting this thing going. Finishing [the season] with a win would be great for them.”

Metheny then spoke about the importance of getting a win moving forward. “It just leaves a positive taste in your mouth going into all of the offseason work. This season has been up and down with a lot of close losses, and to be able to look back and say we finished strong with a win would be positive for our guys and a good motivator going forward.”

He also spoke about the Jaguars close losses this season. “Eventually, being so close isn’t enough. That’s kind of what has happened all season. We have been close in so many games, and haven’t been able to put a whole game together. Enough of that. We want to put one together, finish strong and take that into the offseason knowing that is what South Alabama football is going to be.”

Metheny then addressed where he thinks the program fits into the Sun Belt Conference. “If you look at the games we have played this year, we have been close in so many. It has kind of been a learning experience with everyone involved with this program. But one thing to take away from it is our competitiveness and our competitive spirit of this team and coaching staff. We have never quit in any game, and my hat’s off to my teammates and our coaching staff. You don’t want to take moral victories, but I think we have established ourselves and we can say that we can be competitive in this league especially going forward. There is a lot of respect for the teams in the Sun Belt, but we’re excited about the future going forward.”

Finally he spoke about going to Hawaii. “A lot of guys wouldn’t have this opportunity if they didn’t play Division-I football. It’s a neat experience. For me personally, I get to see my sister who lives out there. I’m excited about that. It’s going to be fun. It will be a new environment, but we will absorb it all then get down to business and go win a football game. We’re excited about it as a team. This is what Division-I football is – making big trips, travelling and going and playing football.”

Defensive lineman Romelle Jones began by talking about what he hopes to accomplish in the Jaguars final game of the 2012 season. “Our number-one goal is to definitely get a win. That is always the most important thing. It is a business trip. It’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A lot of guys probably would have never had this opportunity without being a part of this great thing we have going at South Alabama.”

He continued by talking about the importance of getting a win for the program moving forward. “College football is built on momentum, and that would be great momentum going into the offseason. It would give guys something to look forward to. To have a win to finish the season and leave us with a great taste in our mouths going into the offseason would be great.”

Jones also spoke about the Jaguars close losses this season. “It’s not enough coming close every game. I feel like we shouldn’t look back at the past as much, but just look forward and use it as a building block as something great that we can build on this offseason. We can definitely have something to look forward to and build off of.”

He then spoke about where he feels the South Alabama program fits in the Sun Belt conference. “This season was a great building block. It wasn’t a great season, but I know it was a confidence-builder for a lot of guys. That let us know that we can compete with guys on any level and can pretty much go toe-to-toe with anybody in the Sun Belt.”

Finally, Jones also spoke about going to Hawaii. “It’s something that growing up I never thought I would be able to experience at such a young age. It just really warms my heart. It’s a great thing, but at the end of the day we still have to focus and realize that it is a business trip and we need to take care of our business and finish this season off in the proper way.”

South Alabama and Hawaii will kickoff at 10pm Central time.

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.

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