Southern should have an opportunity to get well when it plays its home opener against Central Methodist, an NAIA school located in Fayette, Missouri.
Kickoff is 6 p.m. Saturday at Mumford Stadium for what will be Central Methodist’s season opener.
UL-Lafayette methodically put away the Jaguars 45-6 on Saturday at Cajun Field. Southern couldn’t muster any consistency on offense, so it was never a threat to win, but it hung with the Cajuns for a while.
When the Jaguars scored their touchdown midway through the third quarter, they trailed just 24-6. UL-Lafayette answered with a quick touchdown and added two more in the fourth quarter for the final margin.
Southern had just 77 yards rushing on 32 attempts. Despite the lopsided score, the Jaguars were plus-2 in turnovers after intercepting Terrance Broadway twice.
Wide receiver Willie Quinn was the most productive Jaguar, catching eight passes for 105 yards. The passing game was erratic early as starting quarterback Deonte Shorts completed just 2-of-9 passes for 21 yards.
It got better later as Austin Howard, who played a couple of first-half series, played almost the entire second half. He finished 18-of-31 for 181 yards. Howard’s first collegiate pass was a 56-yarder to Quinn, who had more than half of Southern’s receiving yards.
Keep an eye on
Howard’s performance has to have the coaches contemplating whether to expand his role. Shorts earned the starting position over a two-year period, which won’t be discarded because of a shaky debut. But with an NAIA opponent next, the Jaguars likely have an opportunity to experiment with how they use their quarterbacks.
“We’re at home next week. We will get better. They’re hungry to win; they’re hungry to taste victory, and we are eager to put this day behind us as we move forward in the next week.”
— Southern coach Dawson Odums
It’s the third week of school and second week of football season, and Southern still is unsure about the availability of five players who would have started against UL-Lafayette but were held out because of concerns about their academic certification.