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

October 24, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue for a more detailed breakdown of the game.
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UC-Davis By The Numbers

October 21, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jaguar defense lines up against the Lamar offense early in the first quarter of the Jags 26-0 win.

It seems like this keeps being said week after week, but when building a program from scratch and gradually increasing the strengths of your opponents in measured steps, it becomes repetitive. However the schedule was thought over and debated by the coaches and administration as to how to continually progress this program. So when you hear or read that the upcoming opponents of the Jaguars is the their biggest challenge, it’s true.

This week is no different. UC-Davis presents the next step in South Alabama’s progression and will be their biggest test to date. So, lets break the numbers down.

UC-Davis, as a team, averages 19 points per game while giving up 27.2 points per game to their opponents. The Aggies have 86 first downs on the season and is average 14.3 per game with about 65% of their first downs coming through the air. Their opponents have 117 first down on the season, which is an average of 19.5 per game and only 10 more first downs through the air than on the ground.

The Aggies have given up 1028 yards rushing on the season for an average of just over 171 yards per game while only rushing for 447 yards themselves for an average of 74.5 yards per game. However, through the air, the numbers are more even. The Aggies have 1207 yards with an average of just over 201 yards per game while their defense has given up 1,292 yards with an average just over 215 yards per game.

So, the Aggies average 275.7 yards of total offense while giving up 386.7 yards per game. The Aggies average 4.7 yards per play whiel the opponents average just over a yard more with 5.8 yards per play.

The Aggies handle the ball pretty well by only fumbling the ball nine times and losing only six of them. Defensively they have forced 13 fumbles while recovering six of them as well for a 0 turnover differential in fumbles.
Aggies quarterbacks are 108-for-189 for a completion average of just over 57% with seven touchdowns and four interceptions. The opposing quarterbacks are 102-for-176 for a completion average just under 58% with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. Thus the Aggies have a -1 turnover differential passing and a -1 in overall turnover differential.

Time of possession between the Aggies and their opponents is also pretty equal with 28:21 for the Aggies and 31:39 for their opponents.

UC-Davis has a 3rd down conversion percentage of 29% going 22-of-75 and a 4th down conversion percentage of 43% going 3-of-7 on the season. Their opponents has a 3rd down conversion percentage of 39% going 35-of-90 while also having a 4th down conversion percentage of 62% on 5-of-8 attempts.

The Aggies offensive line gives up an average of just over one sack per game with a total of eight sacks on the season for 51 yards. The Aggie defense has sacked the quarterback an average just under two a game wiht 11 for the season for 85 yards.

UC-Davis has been in the red zone 17 times and scored 15 times for an average of 88% of the time, 59% of the time they score touchdowns. Their opponents have been in the red zone 24 times and have scored 20 times for an 83% average with 45% of them being touchdowns.

In the Aggies two home games, they have averaged 9,294 fans.

Scoring wise, UC-Davis has started out and ended games on the slow side and only scoring 35% of their points in those two quarters. The second and third quarter scoring is almost dead even. Defensively, the Aggies come out the opposite. They are strong in the first and last quarters but give up most of their points in the second and third quarters. Opponents have scored 33% of their points in the first and last quarters.

Individually the Aggies leading rusher is Josh Reese with 268 yards on 67 attempts for two touchdowns and an average of 44.7 yards per game. Nick Aprile is thier only other back in double digits with 188 yards on 47 carries for four touchdowns and averaging 37.6 yards per game.

The Aggies top receiver is Sean Creadick with 34 receptions for 429 yards and one touchdown while averaging 71.5 yards per game. Dean Rogers has 18 receptions for 247 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 41.2 yards per game. Anthony Soto has 16 catches for 154 yards and no touchdowns while Josh Reese also has 16 catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. The other receivers each have less than 10 receptions each and less than 100 yards on the season.

Aggie kickers have attempted nine field goals and have made eight of them. The kick returners average under 20 yards per return, none have gone for a touchdown. Punt returners have had only three attempts, one has returned two for an average of six yards while the other has returned once for 24 yards. However the Aggie punt team has allowed a punt return for a touchdown.

The Aggies schedule started out with a lopsided loss to Cal 52-3 followed by another loss against Portland State 41-33 but they rebounded at U of San Diego for the 38-24 win then lost again on the road at Weber State 20-9, but have since reeled off two consecutive wins again Division I-A San Jose State on the road (14-13) and South Dakota (17-13) for homecoming.

On the other hand, the Jags have some pretty big numbers to throw around. But the most concerning number right now is that they are 18-of-61 on third down conversions which averages out to be 30%. While in the last two games, against Lamar and Missouri S&T, they combined to go 7-of-32 or a mere 21.8% on 3rd down conversions. Obviously, they have faced stiffer opponents in these two games but this is still a bit of a concerning statistic going into a big game for the program.

The team flies out of Mobile at 9am on Friday morning with kickoff against UC-Davis is 2pm Pacific time which is their normal 4pm central time here in Mobile. You can listen to the game on 105.5FM WNSP with the pregame starting at 3pm with Lee Shirvanian and Pat Greenwood. Also don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for score updates. You can follow us at http://www.twitter.com/usathunderjags

GO JAGS!

USA Makes Statement Against Lamar

October 19, 2010 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

The Jaguar offensive line lines up against the Lamar defense. They helped Kendall Houston rush for 166 yards, the new single game record for Jaguar running backs, and did not allow a sack in the game.

South Alabama went on the road to Beaumont, Texas to begin their season-defining three game stretch and came home with a big win and a huge statement, 26-0. The Lamar Cardinals had averaged just over 341 yards per game but were held to a season low of 161 yards of total offense as the Jaguar defense came out ready for a big fight.

The Jags were quite conservative with their play calling in the game. After losing your first string running back to a season ending ACL tear, it was good play calling on Coach Gregory and Coach Jones’ part. While the scoreboard did not show what the Jaguar faithful were used to, it was definitely a resounding win.

The defense would score the only touchdown in the first half and the offense would only score one touchdown in the game. The rest of the scoring rested on the foot of Lawson McGlon who was officially 4-for-5 in the game but did make a kick that was nullified by a penalty. So a position that, at the beginning of the season, looked like it could lose a close game turned out to be the one that put the game out of reach.

“We sputtered somewhat on offense when we got the ball into the red zone, but we moved the ball well between the 30s,” said Coach Joey Jones after the game. “We had to settle for four field goals, but when you’re on the road sometimes that happens. I’m really proud of Kendall and the way he came in for Brandon after we lost him last week. He really stepped up and ran like a Division I running back tonight.”

“We know that UC Davis is a very good team. They’ve beaten San Jose State and won their conference last year,” Coach Jones stated on their upcoming opponent. “They’re a very sound team, we are going to have to go out to California and see what we’ve got. But, our kids are real excited about that. We’re trying to take this thing with baby steps, and we’ve taken some big steps already. It’s a great win, but where we stand I don’t know. At the end of the year I think we’ll be able to look back and see where we are as a team. All I know is that we came on the road, and were on the bus for six hours. The kids did a great job being focused, and we played a great ballgame. It’s a big win for our program.”

“You have to play great defense on the road, and we did that tonight,” Coach Jones commented. “I’m real proud of the staff and players. They played lights out tonight. They knew this was their first big challenge, and answered that call.”

The Jaguars did not come out of the game unscathed. Unfortunately Chris Brunson suffered a broken ankle in the first half of the game against Lamar and will be out for the remainder of the season. Brunson was also a backup to Trey Clark, the center, who suffered a sprained ankle but should be okay. Coach Jones will probably try Brian Krauskopf in practice until Clark’s ankle is better and to give him experience in case he is needed in a game situation.

The Jags travel to Davis, California to face the Aggies of UC-Davis in a 4pm (Central, 2pm Pacific) game against their second of three consecutive FCS teams and their second in a row on the road. For a more detailed breakdown of the game, continue below.

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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.

Ticket Office Now Taking Orders For Two of Three 2010 Away Games

June 14, 2010 · Filed Under Football, News · Comment 

South Alabama Athletic Ticket Office announced on Monday that they have started taking ticket orders for two of the Jaguars’ three road games this season.

The games currently on sale are Edward Waters that will be played in Dothan, Alabama on September 25th and UC-Davis on October 23rd.

Tickets can be ordered at (251)461-1USA. Also the ticket office will be sending an away game order form through the mail to all season ticket holders with a return deadline of July 30th.

Due to limited number of tickets available for each road game, Jaguar Athletic Fund points will determine the priority used to fill order and seating locations for these games.

South Alabama Releases 2010 Football Schedule

December 14, 2009 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

South Alabama released their 2010 football schedule on Monday and its a definite step up in competition. The Jags will play 10 games next season against four year institutions with four of them already at or transitioning to FCS or Division I-AA.

Seven of the ten games will be in Mobile with trips to Edward Waters, Lamar and University of California-Davis as their away games.

The Jaguars second season will kickoff on Saturday September 4 against Pikeville (Kentucky) who is an NAIA school that went 3-8 last year. The following an open week, the Jags will host Nocholls State on September 18. Nicholls State finished 3-8 (2-5 in the Southland Conference) last season.

Then the Jaguars first ever away game will have them Traveling to Jacksonville, Florida on September 25 to play Edward Waters, another NAIA school. Last year they returned to football in 2001 after a 34 year break. They went 1-10 although their head coach has been named conference coach of the year twice in the last three seasons.

October will begin by hosting Kentucky Wesleyan (October 2) followed by Missouri Tech (October 9), both from the Great Lakes Football Conference.

The schedule will toughen with back to back road games against formitable opponents. October 16 the Jags will travel to Lamar. This will be their first season back in football since 1989 as they will be transitioning to FCS. Then the Jags will travel all the way out to UC-Davis on October 23. Davis finished 6-5 last season and won the Great West Conference in 2009. Davis played Boise State close for most of the game which is not indicitive by the final score of 34-16.

October 30 the Jags will host upstart football program Georgia State who will begin the transition to FCS play. Head Coach Bill Curry should be familiar with many with his previous work at Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia Tech plus his stint with ESPN covering college football.

November will see two more games in Mobile. Henderson State (Arkansas) will be the Jags opponent on November 6 for homecoming. They lost 27-24 at Southland Conference co-champion McNeese State last season. Then the final game of the season will be against Arkansas-Monticello on Thursday, November 11. They finished 4-4 last season in the Gulf South Conference.

“Our coaches and players want to move up the ladder from a competitive standpoint,” Coach Joey Jones commented. “This schedule is a good one as we continue to transition to the NCAA Division I level. It will be a challenge for the kids, but it is one big step in that process.”

Coach Jones commented about the away games by saying, “We would’ve liked to have played a road game this year, so we’re excited about the opportunity to be able to do that next season. It’s exciting not just playing in someone else’s stadium, but in getting used to the travel process.”

“We believe the 2010 football schedule is one which is appropriate for the maturing process of the program and will provide tremendous college football contests, both home and away, for our Jaguar fans,” said Joel Erdmann, South Alabama Athletics Director.

Game times will be announced at a later date.

Season tickets are still on sale for the 2010 season through December 31 for $85. Also the 2010 season will be the second season and the last season for the Jags football team as an unclassified program. They will then being the two year transition process to FBS (Division I-A) football in 2011. In 2013 they will be full members of the Sun Belt Conference, competing for the conference championship and will be eligible for a bowl bid.

Here is a link to the PDF of the schedule from South Alabama Football website.

Go Jags!