Jags end two game skid with 30-27 double-overtime victory

October 9, 2011 · Filed Under Football · Comment 
Baker and Jones

Coach Jones looks on as Demetre Baker looks to the sideline before blocking for a field goal attempt.

South Alabama went on the road for their third consecutive game this season and came away with a 30-27 double overtime victory over Texas-San Antonio to end their two game losing skid.

The Jags got on the board early after forcing UTSA to punt on their first series. Starting at their own 22 for their first drive, C.J. Bennett and Lamontis Gardner would spark the offense with a 35 yard pass. Then the Jags would methodically continue marching until Kendall Houston would put the ball in the end zone from the one yard line to cap off a 12 play, 78 yard drive that spanned 7:24 on the clock.

The Roadrunners would answer back on their next possession. After driving 25 yards out to mid field as the first quarter ended, they would open the second quarter with a 50 yard pass from Soza to Okotcha to tie the game at 7 each.

Again sparked by big offensive plays, the jaguars would respond on their ensuing possession. Bennett would find Gardner again for 11 yards to start the drive. Then would be forced to burn a time out when the play clock was running down. Coming out of the time out, Bennett would hit Kevin Helms for a 32 yard gain to go from the Jag 33 yard line to the 35 of UTSA. From there, the jags would have to settle for a 48 yard field goal by Jordan Means to retake the lead 10-7.

Not to be outdone, UTSA would mount their own drive  but would stall at the Jaguar 31 yard line and also settle for a 48 yard field goal to tie the game again at 10 apiece.

The Jags next possession would start at their own 20 yard line and would drive out to the 43 before Kendall Houston would be hit in the backfield and fumbled the ball which would be recovered by UTSA at their own 48 yard line. Soza would connect with Kam Jones for 51 yards to the USA 1 yard line. Okotcha would take it in on the next play to take the lead over the Jaguars 17-10 with 2:54 left in the first half.

On the kickoff, Jereme Jones would find a seam and return it 55 yards to the UTSA 26 yard line before being forced out of bounds. However the defender would be flagged for a personal foul for a half-the-distance penalty to start the Jags at the UTSA 13 yard line. However the Jags offense never found forward gear. Houston would lose a yard on first down. Then an incomplete pass to Corey Waldon would bring up third and 11 going into the Roadrunner student section.

Brian Krauskopf would be flagged for a false start putting the Jags facing 3rd and 16 from the UTSA 19 yard line. After a time out, Bennett would float a lob pass towards the end zone which would be intercepted by UTSA ending the Jags hopes of tying the game before half time.

After running a few plays, the Roadrunners allowed the clock to run down and go into halftime with a 17-10 lead.

South Alabama would receive to open the second half and start at their 30 yard line. Houston would rush for no gain and five yards on back-to-back rushes to open the series. Then facing 3rd and 5, the Jags would burn their first time out of the second half with 13:33 left in the 3rd quarter when the play clock was running down again. Following the time out, Krauskopf would be flagged for another false start backing them up to the 30 and face a 3rd and 10. Bennett would find Gardner for six yards and would be forced to punt.

The Jags defense would hold the roadrunners to a three and out and force a punt. USA would be flagged for holding after the punt and would start their possession on their own 24 yard line. After a one yard run by J.J. Keels, Bennett would complete back to back passes. The first to Bryant Lavender for 17 yards then to Gardner for 18 yards to get into UTSA territory.

Keels would rush for no gain, then Bennett would be flagged for intentional grounding even though he was hit as he was trying to deliver the ball. After the 11 yard loss and loss of down, the Jags faced 3rd and 21 at their own 49 yard line. But Bennett would find Jereme Jones for 30 yards to get the first down at the UTSA 21 yard line. Demetre Baker would take it in from there to tie the game at 17 each with 8:09 left in the third quarter.

UTSA would start from their own 20 yard line after the kickoff. They would move down the field fueled by key long plays. The first was on 3rd down for 21 yards and a 16 yard pass on 4th and one at the Jaguar 46 yard line. However the defense would come up big and force a Soza fumble at the Jaguar 10 yard line which was recovered by Charles Harris.

Houston would end the quarter with three consecutive rushes for 6, 8 and 5 yards respectively.

As the drive continued to begin the 4th quarter, the Jags would again have to burn a time out when the play clock was running down with 13:20 left in regulation. Eventually the UTSA defense would hold and force a Scott Garber punt which would be downed at the 1 yard line.

The Roadrunners would move the ball out to the 25 yard line before a mishap on the snap would occur and be recovered by Soza back at the 3 yard line to face a 3rd and 32. A six yard pass would give the punter a little breathing room. Jereme Jones would field the punt at the UTSA 48 yard line.

Bennett would run for 10 yards and a first down to start the drive, but would then stopeed and forced to punt at the UTSA 44 yard line.

With 4:18 left in the game and UTSA in possession of the ball at their own 24 yard line, they began running the ball and the clock to set up a game winning score. Soza would start the drive with a 9 yard pass. Then Okotcha would run for eight yards and a first down. Soza would thrown on first down again, this time for five yards to their won 46 yard line. Then UTSA would rush four consecutive times to move the ball and continue winding the clock. Okotcha would go for five yards. Then Harrison for 18 to the USA 31 yard line but would go out of bounds to stop the clock.

Then Kam Jones for four more yards and again go out of bounds. Okotcha would rush for 6 yards and a first down to the USA 21. Kam Jones would try to throw the ball on first down but Gabe Loper, filling in for suspended Damond Smith, would be flagged for pass interference putting the ball on the USA 6 yard line with 1:12 left in the game.

Soza would be caught for a loss of 6 yards to the 12 yard line by Jake Johnson. Okotcha would rush on the right side for three yards to the 9 yard line. UTSA would take a time out with 3 seconds left on the clock to attempt a game-winning field goal. Coach Jones would take the Jags final time out to try to ice the kicker.

The 26 yard field goal attempt would be blocked by Randon Carnathan sending the game to overtime for the first time in Jaguar history.

USA would get the ball first to start overtime and would keep it on the ground. Baker would rush for 10, 2 and 12 yards to get the ball to the 1 yard line. Ellis Hill would take it in on the next play and Jordan Means would add the PAT to take the 24-17 lead.

UTSA’s ensuing possession would start with a false start. But Soza would hit Kam Jones for a 30 yard touchdown pass and add the PAT to tie the game at 24 and go into the second overtime.

UTSA would have the ball first and Okotcha would be dropped for a loss by Jake Johnson on the first play. Soza would rush for one yard then throw and incomplete pass as he was hurried by Montavious Williams. Ianno would kick a 43 yard field goal to take a 27-24 lead.

Demetre Baker would scamper 25 yards on the first play of the Jaguars possession to score the game winning touchdown for the final score of 30-27.

UTSA would outgain the Jags overall 409-351 and through the air 263-196. But the Jags would outgain them on the ground 175-146.

Demetre Baker would lead all rushers with 88 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. Houston would gain 74 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. Soza would be the leading rusher for UTSA with 70 yards on 15 carries.

C.J. Bennett went 11-of-17 for 176 yards and one interception while Soza was 15-of-22 for 263 yards and two touchdowns. UTSA’s Kam Jones would lead all receivers with 103 yards on five catches with a touchdown. Lamontis Gardner would lead the Jags with 70 yards on four catches.

UTSA held the ball longer, 33:51 to the Jags 26:09.

After the game Coach Jones had this to say. “We have a fighting spirit about us. It looked kind of bleak there for a minute when they had the ball down on the five-yard line. But we rushed through and sacked the quarterback and we block a kick, so they never quit. It was a big win for our program. I’m just so proud of them for fighting. We lost two games on the road, and to have another road game right behind them and to come back and win was real big for us.”

“I want to congratulate UTSA. I thought they came out and played a tremendous game — it was a big game for them,” Coach Jones also stated. “The crowd was into it; it was that typical home atmosphere. They had a great game plan and great coaching, and probably deserved to win the game in some ways. But on the other side of it, we said at halftime we were not going to quit.”

“We came prepared and had a good game plan. Good things happen when you fight your tail off,” said running back Demetre Baker. “Their defense was big and solid. I didn’t think they were very fast sideline-to-sideline, but they were much bigger physically.”

Linebacker Jake Johnson spoke highly of the roadrunners. “For a first-year program, they are a heck of a team. They had some great players and had a good game plan against us. I’m glad we came out on top. We had a few mistakes here and there, but that is all correctable. I’m just glad we got out of Texas with a win.”

South Alabama returns to Mobile for their first home game in five weeks when they host Tennessee-Martin for homecoming. The game will kick off at 2:30pm, earlier than normal, since it will be aired live on UTV44, Comcast Sports Southeast and nationally on ESPN3.com.

South Alabama Football Announces First Division-I Foes And Travel Packages For 2010

June 29, 2010 · Filed Under Football, News · Comment 

Earlier this month South Alabama announced the school’s first two Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS or formerly Division-I) opponents. In the 2011 season, the Jags will play North Carolina State and Kent State on back to back weekends on September 17 and 24. Both games will be away games as part of a 2-for-1 series with both schools.

The 2011 schedule will have six other Division-I schools, four of which will be visiting Mobile. Lamar and UC Davis will complete their home-and-home contracts with Lamar visiting on September 10 and UC Davis visiting on October 1. Tennessee-Martin will visit on October 15 and Cal Poly will be the final game of the season on November 19.

Head coach Joey Jones had the following to say about how the future schedules affect South Alabama. “We feel like this is a great step forward for where we want to go. Obviously, playing all of these Division I schools on the schedule in our third year will present a challenge. In the grand scheme of things, it’s about where we are going and preparing for a schedule that will feature pretty much all FBS opponents the following year.”

He continued, “Each year we want to step up the level of competition on our schedule – our kids and staff want to be challenged. Certainly we will have some bumps along the way playing teams at this level, but it’s where we want to be and where this program is headed.”

As for the 2010 schedule, the Jags will have seven home games and the Athletic Department announced that all six of the Saturday home games will have 4pm kickoffs. While the lone Thursday night game will be the season finale against Arkansas-Monticello on November 11 with a 6pm kickoff.

The Jags will have their first road games ever this season and travel packages are available for those games. On September 25 the Jags travel to Dothan for their first ever away game when they play Edward Waters in the Wiregrass Football Classic. A game ticket and tailgating will cost $35 while a $78 package which includes travel to and from the game is also available.

The away game against Lamar on October 16 has a three day package including round-trip transportation from the USA Campus is available. It features two nights at the MCM Elegante Hotel and Convention Center with a reception and several other goodies for $75 up to $475 depending on the costs of the ticket, number of paying travelers and amount of people in the hotel room.

A three day trip has also been put together for the UC Davis game on October 23. It includes a two night stay in the Embassy Suites Riverfront Promenade and more. The cost is $260-$375 not including air fare.