Good, bad and odd moments from SU’s 30-14 win over Alcorn

This summer, if someone told you that when Southern faced Texas Southern on Nov. 5, the Jaguars would be coming off a win over Alcorn, and TSU — the reigning Southwestern Athletic Conference champion — would be coming off a loss at Mississippi Valley State … what would you have said in return?

Something like, “Yeah, right”?

Something like, “Stop with the foolishness”?

Well, we’ve reached the point, and it’s true. What’s more, Southern (3-5, 3-3) has a better record than the Tigers (3-5, 1-5). The two teams will meet Saturday, just one week after the Jaguars slammed Alcorn State 30-14 on homecoming night and senior night at A.W. Mumford Stadium.

What a strange year it’s been.

A few of the good moments, bad moments and oddities from the Jaguars’ win over the Braves:

THE GOOD

  • The receivers. SU wideouts Mike Berry and LaQuinton Evans broke loose for two easy early touchdowns, proving that when they’re focused, they make up one of the best receiving tandems in the SWAC. They combined for 152 yards and two touchdowns Saturday against Alcorn.

 

  • J.P. Douglas. The freshman quarterback was far from perfect — after his hot start, Douglas threw seven incomplete passes in the second quarter — but he was on the money early on, when Southern buried Alcorn with a 20-0 lead. Douglas completed 11 of 23 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Douglas also ran for another score on a busted play. Full disclosure: Dray Joseph didn’t do a bad job in relief. His stat line wasn’t special (6 of 14, 55 yards, one interception), but Joseph made only one big mistake; he was late on a deep throw down the sideline, and Alcorn picked him off. Joseph also faced a heavier pass rush than did Douglas.

 

  • The defense. Anytime you hold a team to 219 yards and no points — Alcorn scored both touchdowns on special teams — well, you’re doing well. Especially considering that linebackers Jamie Payton and Anthony Balancier and cornerback LaMarkius Pettaway were suspended.

 

THE BAD

  • The second-half sleepwalk. As well as the offense played in the first quarter, it didn’t do a whole lot the rest of the evening. In fact, if Sylvester Nzekwe hadn’t broken off a 58-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, Southern would’ve gone scoreless after halftime.
  • Special teams. Yikes. Give credit to Manuel Canto for nailing a field goal and 3 of 4 extra points. But coverage issues allowed Alcorn’s Terrance Lewis to score on an 85-yard kickoff return, and protection issues led to a blocked punt, which Robert Gainwell returned for the Braves’ other score.
  • Penalties, penalties, penalties. They didn’t affect the outcome of this game, but if Southern commits 14 penalties against Texas Southern … it’s going to kill any chance at a road win.

THE ODD

As many chances as Southern has blown … as many mistakes as the Jaguars have made … as many issues as the team still has … the Jaguars are a half-game out of first place in the Western Division.

Say what?

Jaguars jump on Alcorn for 30-14 win

It was far from perfect, but Southern will certainly take it.

On senior night, and on homecoming night, the Jaguars stunned Alcorn with three early touchdowns and used a strong defensive performance to cruise to a 30-14 victory before a crowd of 15,011 at A.W. Mumford Stadium.

Southern (3-5, 3-3 Southwestern Athletic Conference) gained 426 yards from scrimmage and got a bold early effort from freshman quarterback J.P. Douglas, who threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns.

The SU defense held Alcorn to 219 yards from scrimmage, and the Braves scored both touchdowns on special teams with the aid of a few Southern flubs.

The Jaguars — still dealing with player suspensions for the next two weeks, stemming from their postgame brawl at Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Oct. 15 — visit Texas Southern next week, followed by a trip to Alabama State on Nov. 12 and the Bayou Classic on Nov. 26.

We’ll be back with a more detailed breakdown of the win Sunday. Until then, feel free to breathe deeply and smile.

Southern. Alcorn. Homecoming. Follow us on Twitter

More than 26 hours before Southern and Alcorn State were scheduled to tee it up at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, the parade had already begun.

No, not the homecoming parade. That was Saturday morning on the streets of Scotlandville.

Friday afternoon, even in cold, gray, drizzly (is it OK to say “ugly”?) conditions, a stream of trucks and RVs had already started to snake their way onto campus.

Even in a down year — and no matter how you spin it, a 2-5 record amounts to a down year — diehard fans take homecoming seriously at Southern. So, too, should the football team.

The Jaguars and Braves get it on in the home finale at A.W. Mumford Stadium on what’s sure to be a brisk evening. If you’re not in attendance — heck, even if you are in attendance — you can get in-game updates and short, snappy commentary at http://twitter.com/perrynkeys. Follow along for the time of your life.

We’ll add to the blog late Saturday night, after the final whistle.

By now, we all know that the Jaguars got a reprieve of sorts when the Southwestern Athletic Conference agreed to stagger the suspensions of 15 players. So while Southern will be without a few key players Saturday against the Braves, the team won’t be decimated.

That should give the Jaguars an extra shot of confidence.

We’ll see.

A few things worth noting:

Watch the run. It’s no secret by now that Southern has shown a weakness in run defense. Even if several defensive linemen return from injuries, Alcorn will probably try to pound the football and wear Southern out. On the flip side, the Jaguars would do well to establish the run themselves. Their run game — nonexistent at the beginning of the season — has taken hold lately. An effective ground game could help keep Southern’s defense off the field. Keep in mind that this season, the defense has played 113 more snaps than the offense. Yikes.

Just for kicks … This just in: Southern’s kicking game has been shaky at best (2-for-5 on field-goal attempts, 16-for-20 on PATs), and earlier this week, Stump Mitchell said even he didn’t know who he’d start. Lately, Matt Hill has handled every field goal and PAT except one — the last extra-point attempt of the last game, at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, when Manuel Canto’s kick was blocked, clinching a 22-21 win for UAPB. If this game comes down to a fourth-quarter field goal, well, expect a lot of nail-biting on the home sideline.

Another chance for Dray? The dual-headed quarterback has gotten plenty of attention lately, to no one’s surprise. Freshman J.P. Douglas made his first college start against UAPB, but he struggled in the third quarter, and sophomore Dray Joseph sparked the offense in the fourth quarter. Obviously, it would help if either of these quarterbacks could start a game and stay hot for four quarters. But don’t be shocked Joseph plays extensively against Alcorn.

Again, follow us at http://twitter.com/perrynkeys for in-game updates. It’s the best bargain around.

It feels like autumn on The Bluff. Homecoming is here. Let’s get it on.

The live chat returns! Join us at 1 p.m. Wednesday

So let’s see here. We’ve got an altered set of suspensions, courtesy of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. We’ve got the two-headed quarterback issue. We’ve got the small issue of Southern’s four losses by six or fewer points. This might not be the Jaguars’ most successful season, but we’ve got plenty to chat about.

So let’s get it on. At 1 p.m. Wednesday, after a one-week hiatus (thanks, open date!), our live chat returns to the Jaguar Nation blog. Skip out on lunch, or work, or whatever you’re usually supposed to do at 1 p.m. Wednesday, and join us right here at theadvocate.com. Fire away with questions, comments, concerns. We’ll make it worth your while.

And as always, keep it clean. After all, it’s only football.

SWAC agrees to spread out suspensions; read the statement here

The Southwestern Athletic Conference has agreed to stagger suspensions over the next three games for Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff players who were involved in the Oct. 15 postgame brawl at Golden Lion Stadium.

Also, linebacker Corry Roy has been reinstated. The SWAC had originally hit Roy with a one-game suspension, but rescinded the penalty after video footage proved he was not involved in the fight.

Saturday afternoon, the Jaguars will face Alcorn State without seven players, rather than all 16 who were suspended. Jamie Payton, LaMarkius Pettaway and Byron Williams must begin serving their two-game suspensions immediately; they will miss this week’s game against Alcorn and next week’s game at Texas Southern.

The remaining 12 suspensions are spread over the next three weeks, with four SU players serving one-game suspensions each week.

Tuesday’s announcement is welcome relief for Southern, which was in danger of playing Alcorn without five of its regular linebackers.

Here is the SWAC’s statement in full:

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Southwestern Athletic Conference announced today it will honor Southern University’s and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s request to stagger each of the school’s football suspensions following a postgame altercation between the Jaguars and Golden Lions game on October 17. The league also reinstated a Southern student-athlete, #58 Corry Roy. After further reviewing the video footage of the incident, it was confirmed that Roy did not participate in the altercation.

The total number of players suspended from the altercation now stands at 40.  Of those 40, eight were given two-game suspensions that must be served immediately.  Southern University has 15 total suspensions with three players receiving two-game sanctions.  UAPB has 25 total suspensions with five players receiving two-game sanctions.

The Conference Office staggered the suspensions over the next three games for each team using an alphabetical listing of the players affected as a random determining factor.  With that criterion, the suspensions will be served as followed:

SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY
Saturday, October 29 vs. Alcorn State
#56 Jamie Payton*, #17 Lamarkius Pettaway*, #20 Byron Williams*, #21 Terrell Alex, #49 Anthony Balancier, #98 Daniel Brown, #2 Lee Doss.

Saturday, November 5 at Texas Southern
#56 Jamie Payton*, #17 Lamarkius Pettaway*, #20 Byron Williams*, #82 LaQuinton Evans, #53 Kenneth Hill Jr., #22 Levi Jackson, #35 Kaelan Mayfield.

Saturday, November 12 at Alabama State
#13 Jaleel Richardson, #23 Marlon Smith, #19 William Waddel, #51 Franchot West

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AT PINE BLUFF
Saturday, October 29 vs. Grambling
#15 Dezmond Beverly, #82 Devontaa Bryant, #36 Stephen Jones, #54 Lyron McClenney, #50 Chukwaso Oputa, #21 Justin Billings, #18 Joe Dalton, #2 Cordara Frazier, #14 Mose Frazier, #49 Brandon Fulton, #26 Kendrick Gray, #34 Jherron Harris.

Saturday, November 5 vs. Alabama State
#15 Dezmond Beverly, #82 Devontaa Bryant, #36 Stephen Jones, #54 Lyron McClenney, #50 Chukwaso Oputa, #67 Colton Jones, #92 Damien Lee, #62 Jamaal Philips, #27 Antonio Richmond, #20 Kevin Rucker Jr., #85 Donnie Scott, #9 Ryan Shaw.

Saturday, November 12 at Mississippi Valley State
#31 Torrence Shelton Jr., #56 K.J. Smith, #87 Eric Thomas, #40 Derrick Timber, #52 Devonne Tingle, #22 Charles Williams.

SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp said the Conference Office took into consideration the safety and welfare of the student-athletes remaining on each team’s roster following the suspensions. The league also took into consideration that currently eligible players could possibly lose future eligibility by lifting redshirts this late in the season in order to fill roster spots left by the suspensions.

“In fairness to those that did not participate in the altercation, we have decided to stagger the punishments handed down to each school. Let me reiterate, however, these suspensions send a clear and definitive message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” Sharp said.

NOTE: Any squad member who is disqualified for fighting a second time during the season shall be disqualified for that game and suspended for the remainder of the season.

News, notes and a suspension update from SWAC Land

Does anyone feel better?

Six of 10 teams in the Southwestern Athletic Conference took last week off, enjoying an open date before they hit the homestretch. We all know that since Southern last played, the league suspended 16 of its players for their roles in the postgame brawl at Arknasas-Pine Bluff (the Golden Lions had 25 players suspended).

Coaches of both teams said they’ve submitted proposals to stagger the suspensions, and commissioner Duer Sharp said Monday afternoon that he doesn’t have a timetable for making the final decision.

“But for us, the sooner the better,” Sharp said. “We want the schools to have time to prepare, one way or the other.”

Again … does anyone feel better?

The Jaguars host Alcorn State at 5:30 p.m. Saturday for homecoming. They need a win. And they’ll be short on players (whether it’s 16 or fewer remains to be seen). Elsewhere, however, we’ve got a few races heating up. Alabama State can win the Eastern Division with a win at the super-huge Magic City Classic, and although UAPB controls its own fate in the West, the Lions will play with a short deck against Grambling this week, and Prairie View can keep pressure on UAPB with a big win against Jackson State.

Other news, notes and quotes from SWAC Land:

PRAIRIE VIEW: The quarterback shuffle continues — not only at Southern, but at Prairie View, as well. Panthers coach Heishma Northern said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll start freshman Jerry Lovelocke (56-percent completion rate, six TDs, three INTs), who has missed some time with a sprained ankle, or senior Jonathan Troast (62 percent, five TDs, three INTs). “We’ll look at the injury situation and how the practices go, and we’ll make a decision come gametime,” Northern said. … Also, Saturday’s game against Jackson State, in Shreveport, will be the Panthers’ fourth of six straight games away from Prairie View. Good times.

TEXAS SOUTHERN: Texas Southern, the reigning conference champion, is last in the Western Division — but the Tigers, who have four games left this season, seem destined to ruin someone else’s year. TSU leads the nation in total defense, allowing 238.9 yards per game, and has a potent rushing attack that features Marcus Wright and Martin Gilbert. The Tigers lead the SWAC rank 23rd nationally with 198.3 yards per game. TSU hosts Southern on Nov. 5.

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE: Same agonizing song, different verse. The Delta Devils stormed back to tie Grambling at the end of regulation last week, only to lose in overtime, 30-24. It was the third time in the past four games that Valley has lost by seven or fewer points. But the Devils are 0-18 under coach Karl Morgan. “Nobody has given up, and everyone is committed to turning this thing around,” Morgan said.

ALABAMA STATE: One of the big reasons for the Hornets’ success this season: senior receiver Nick Andrews. When he was a freshman, coach Reggie Barlow told Andrews he’d be disappointed if Andrews didn’t break most of the school’s receiving records. Andrews is now No. 1 all-time in receptions (178) and receiving touchdowns (26). He needs 108 receiving yards to surpass his Barlow (2,536) for the Hornets’ career yardage record. “The thing that you can’t measure is this kid’s desire to be the absolute best,” said Alabama A&M coach Anthony Jones, whose team will face Andrews this week. “You can measure that by the way he makes plays, week in and week out.”

JACKSON STATE: Sure, the Tigers can’t make it to the SWAC Championship Game, much less claim an Eastern Division title, thanks to that pesky APR-related ban. But they’ve vowed to shoot for a black college national championship, which they can claim with a No. 1 final ranking in the Sheridan Broadcasting poll of black colleges. Thanks to losses by Norfolk State and South Carolina State, JSU moved from fourth to second in this week’s poll. The Tigers are now No. 2, behind Alabama State — the only team that’s defeated JSU this season.

GRAMBLING: The Tigers might have caught a break this week because they’re facing an Arkansas-Pine Bluff team that’s short-handed because of suspensions stemming from the Oct. 15 postgame brawl with Southern. Still, Grambling coach Doug Williams said his team — currently tied with Southern for third in the Western Division — has to stay in don’t-take-them-lightly mode. “We don’t know who (UAPB) has on that football team that probably could come in and play better than the person who was in front of them,” Williams said.

SWAC suspends 41, including 16 from Southern

The Southwestern Athletic Conference has just released its decision concerning the postgame brawl between Southern and Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday night in Pine Bluff, Ark. The SWAC on Thursday suspended 41 players.

Southern will have 16 players suspended, including three for two games. UAPB will have 25 players suspended, with five suspended for two games and 20 suspended for one.

Here is the release from the conference office:

SWAC Levies Suspensions and Fines to SU / UAPB for Altercation

 

Birmingham, Ala. — The Southwestern Athletic Conference announced Thursday the suspension of 41 football student-athletes from Southern University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff for their roles in an altercation following the football contest between the two schools on Saturday, October 15.  Each of the universities has also been fined an undisclosed amount by the Conference Office.

 

Sixteen of the suspended players are from Southern, and 25 are from UAPB.  Among the 41 one-game suspensions are eight two-game suspensions for individuals who used excessive force during the altercation. The suspensions are effective for each of the Jaguars and Golden Lions upcoming immediate games.  All of the one-game suspensions will be served during the respective October 29 games.  UAPB’s next two games are both home games vs. Grambling on October 29 and Alabama State on November 5.  Southern hosts Alcorn State on October 29 and travels to Texas Southern on November 5.

 

Following a thorough review of available video footage by conference officials, the Conference Office suspended the following student-athletes:

 

 

 

Southern University

#2           Lee Doss

#13         Jaleel Richardson

#17         LaMarkius Pettaway **

#19         William Waddel

#20         Byron Williams **

#21         Terrell Alex

#22         Levi Jackson

#23         Marlon Smith

#35         Kaelan Mayfield

#49         Anthony Balancier

#51         Franchot West

#53         Kenneth Hill, Jr.

#56         Jamie Payton **

#58         Corry Roy

#82         LaQuinton Evans

#98         Daniel Brown

 

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

#2           Cordara Frazier

#9           Ryan Shaw

#14         Mose Frazier

#15         Dezmond Beverly **

#18         Joe Dalton

#20         Kevin Rucker, Jr.

#21         Justin Billings

#22         Charles Williams

#26         Kendrick Gray

#27         Antonio Richmond

#31         Torrence Shelton, Jr.

#34         Jherron Harris

#36         Stephen Jones **

#40         Derrick Timber

#49         Brandon Fulton

#50         Chukwaso Oputa **

#52         Devonne Tingle

#54         Lyron McClenney **

#56         K.J. Smith

#62         Jamaal Philips

#67         Colton Jones

#82         Devontaa Bryant **

#85         Donnie Scott

#87         Eric Thomas

#92         Damien Lee

 

 

 

** Two-game suspension

 

“What took place following Saturday’s Southern / UAPB game has no place in college football,” said SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp. “The Conference is taking this action because of the nature and seriousness of the situation. Officials at both Southern University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff have been very cooperative in addressing this issue with the Conference Office, and we thank them for their cooperation. These suspensions send a clear and definitive message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

 

SU women tie for first in preseason hoops poll; SU men last

The Southern women’s basketball program lost five seniors from last year’s team. Evidently, Southwestern Athletic Conference coaches believe the Jaguars will keep on rolling anyway.

The SU women, who enter their 12th year under Sandy Pugh, finished in a first-place tie with Prairie View — which defeated the Jaguars in the championship game of the SWAC tournament last spring — in the league’s preseason poll, which was released Wednesday.

The Jaguars and Lady Panthers each got four first-place votes and finished with 88 total points in the poll.

Fifth-year senior Jamie Floyd was named to the preseason All-SWAC first team at center. Floyd, a native of Magee, Miss., led the league in field-goal percentage last season (49.8) and ranked fifth in rebounding last season (6.8 per game).

As for the men, well, Southern’s outlook is a little less positive.

The Jaguars, in their first year under coach Roman Banks, are projected to finish last in the SWAC.

WOMEN’S PRESEASON POLL
Total points in parentheses; first-place votes in brackets
1. Southern (88) [4]
1. Prairie View (88) [4]
3. Alcorn State (84)
4. Mississippi Valley State (68)
5. Alabama A&M (64) [2]
6. Grambling (53)
7. Alabama State (39)
8. Jackson State (26)
9. Texas Southern (24)
10. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (16)

WOMEN’S FIRST TEAM
G: Whiquitta Tobar, Alabama A&M*
G: Kiara Ruffin, Alcorn State*
F: Sharnika Breedlove, Alcorn State
F: Latia Williams, Prairie View
C: Jamie Floyd, Southern
*co-preseason player of the year

WOMEN’S SECOND TEAM
G: Kaneshia Smith, Mississippi Valley State**
G: Rachel Jones, Jackson State
F: Alia Frank, Mississippi Valley State
F: Ayanna Hardy-Fuller, Jackson State
C: Gabrielle Williams, Alabama A&M
**preseason defensive player of the year

MEN’S PRESEASON POLL

Total points in parentheses; first-place votes in brackets
1. Alabama State (87) [3]
2. Mississippi Valley State (81) [3]
3. Jackson State (73) [2]
4. Texas Southern (68)
5. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (58)
6. Alabama A&M (50) [1]
7. Prairie View (48) [1]
8. Grambling (44)
9. Alcorn State (25)
10. Southern (16)

MEN’S FIRST TEAM
G: Jenirro Bush, Jackson State*
G: Lawrence Johnson-Danner, Texas Southern
F: Paul Crosby, Mississippi Valley State
F: Ivory White, Alabama State**
C: Peter Roberson, Grambling
*Preseason player of the year
**Preseason defensive player of the year

MEN’S SECOND TEAM
G: Casey Cantey, Alabama A&M
G: Tremaine Butler, Alabama State
F: Demarquelle Tabb, Alabama A&M
F: Aaron Clayton, Texas Southern
C: Jason Holmes, Mississippi Valley State

 

No game, no chat

Southern has its bye week this week and so is the Jaguar Nation chat.

But come back at the usual time next, Wednesday, Oct. 26, and Perryn Keys will be here at his usual time, 1-2 p.m., to talk about the upcoming game against Alcorn State.

See you then.