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.
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.