Southern has played five football games, and fives times a Jaguar has received a Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Week Award.
The most recent honoree is quarterback Austin Howard, who Monday was named Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season. Howard was also named the Offensive Player of the Week by the Louisiana Sportswriters Association.
The sophomore from West St. John High School had a career-high 33 completions in 45 attempts for 355 yards and four touchdowns as well as rushing for two touchdowns in a 45-34 victory at Alabama State last Saturday.
“I think that was his best numbers game and his best game from a management standpoint,” Southern coach Dawson Odums said during the weekly SWAC coaches teleconference. “I’ve been telling people that once we get to October we’ll know what kind of football team we have. Our good players are going to have to play great and he’s one of those good players and Saturday he played great.”
Howard also was selected for his performance in a 50-31 victory against Jackson State on Sept. 19. In that game Howard completed 21-of-32 passes for a career-high 395 yards and a touchdown and also ran for two touchdowns.
Jaguars WR/RS Willie Quinn was named Special Teams Player of the Week for each of the first two weeks and linebacker Kentavious Preston was Defensive Player of the Week for Week 2.
Other award winners
Two of the other weekly awards Monday went to players on Southern’s next opponent — Prairie View, which visits A.W. Mumford Stadium for the Jaguars homecoming game Saturday.
Cornerback Foster Brown was named Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in a 45-6 win at Mississippi Valley State. Foster had eight total tackles, a sack, a pass breakup, and a blocked PAT.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Steven Guillory was named Newcomer of the Week after getting two of the Panthers’ eight sacks, and seven total tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss.
The Special Teams Player of the Week award went to Alabama A&M punter Nick Carden, who averaged 44 yards per punt during the Bulldogs’ 37-14 loss to Grambling.
Showdowns in SWAC
It will be Showdown Saturday in the SWAC this week.
In addition to Southern (3-0) hosting Prairie View (3-1), West-leading Grambling (4-0) visits East-leading Alcorn State (3-0).
“Our conference is going to be on front street,” Odums said.
The top four teams are the only ones among the 10 in the conference that have winning records in the league. The only loss among the four came when Grambling beat Prairie View.
Fresh start for Jackson State
The Jackson State-Alabama A&M game in Huntsville, Alabama, isn’t a marquee match-up, but it is notable because it’s the Tigers’ first game since the dismissal of head coach Harold Jackson during JSU’s open date last week. Wide receivers coach Derrick McCall was named interim head coach.
“It was a tough week for our kids, but they persevered through it,” McCall said. “We started practice last week like it was camp all over again. This is a fresh start for them.”
“I’m wondering what we’re going to face this week,” A&M coach James Spady said. “It’s very similar to a first game of the year. We have to get ready for the unknown like you would in a first-game scenario. That leaves you uncomfortable, but there are plenty of things we can focus on from our own game this week to try and get better at.”
The Bulldogs lost to Grambling 37-14 last week.
ASU coach praises Southern
Alabama State coach Brian Jenkins took some solace in outscoring Southern 26-14 down the stretch even though the Jaguars held on to win.
“I think Southern is the best team in the conference that we have faced so far,” said Jenkins, whose team previously played both Alcorn and Grambling. “They’re a very physical team that knows how to win.
“They showed early why they’re one of the top teams. I think we showed if we execute and don’t have self-inflicted wounds we can compete with that type of team and be in position to beat these teams.”