Southern special teams pay off _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Fans jump to their feet and the Southern bench comes alive as Jaleel Richardson runs 84 yards on a kickoff return against Jackson State on Saturday at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. The touchdown gave the Jaguars a 33-7 lead, and Southern cruised to a 42-28 win.


There won’t be a rematch in the SWAC Championship Game. Southern is playing its best football as the stretch run nears, though it still has to catch Grambling if it’s going to repeat as West Division champion. But defending East Division champion Jackson State is falling apart. The Jaguars came out and landed a few early body blows, and the Tigers collapsed.


Willie Quinn has been trending all season, but he was especially good Saturday night. Southern’s all-purpose big-play guy had an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown and an 87-yard pass reception that set up a field goal. He caught five passes for 134 yards, returned three punts for 82 and two kickoffs for 25 to finish with 241 all-purpose yards.


Southern is putting the pieces together. The Jaguars have won three games in a row and don’t have to play another true road game. The offense is stabilizing; the defense has found a pass rush and an ability to make third-down stops; and the return game continues to make big plays. Now Southern just needs to figure out how to make extra points.