Southern will be at home for just the second time this season when it meets Prairie View at 4 p.m. Saturday in A.W. Mumford Stadium.
The Jaguars (3-2 and 3-0 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference) need a victory to stay ahead of the Panthers (3-2, 3-1) in the West division standings.
It’s also homecoming and coach Dawson Odums figures all of those factors should generate a sellout crowd like the one of 30,194 that turned out for the home opener against Jackson State on Sept. 19.
“It will be very disappointing if we don’t get 31,000,” Odums said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. “We challenged our crowd and the last home game we had 30,000 so we need to get 31 in here and see if we can’t have it rocking and loud and see if we can’t be obnoxious and maybe rattle them a little bit.
“With what we’re playing for and it being homecoming, it would be very disappointing to see those stands not full. You work so hard to build something and you hope the fans come out and support it and show support for it by being in the seats.”
Quarterback Austin Howard said he’s “looking forward to a packed house.”
Running back Lenard Tillery is looking for more.
“We’ve got to pack the house and pack the campus,” Tillery said. “If you’re not in the stadium, then you should be outside tailgating. If you’re not outside tailgating you should be in the Scotlandville area at least talking to somebody with your Southern gear on. When people come to bluff they need to know it’s Southern territory.”
Tickets are still available for the game.
The Jaguars unveiled a new uniform that the players will wear Saturday. It features navy blue jerseys and pants.
The players gave the blue uniforms a big thumbs-up.
“I love them,” Howard said.
Some players hope the uniforms aren’t mothballed after Saturday.
“Depending on how we play will determine how many times we wear it,” Odums said.
Devon Gales update
The homecoming uniforms have white helmets that feature a decal displaying the number 33, the jersey number of injured wide receiver Devon Gales.
Odums said he talked to Gales’ father, Donny, Tuesday. Gales is hospitalized at the Shepherd center in Atlanta as he rehabs from spinal surgery.
“He’s making progress,” Odums said. “It’s not shocking that he’s rehabbing. If they want somebody who’s going to rehab, they got the right guy. His body is seeing some benefits.
“He’s got a little more movement in his fingers. He’s got a little more control in his waist area. Once you get control of those muscles, good things happen. As you get more feeling, you get stronger and as you get stronger good things open up for you. I’m happy with his progress and I’m more happy with his attitude. You don’t have to worry about him having a setback. He’s on course.”
Grant for Gales family
The College Football Assistance Fund (CFAF) awarded a grant of $5,000 to Gales to help his family with travel and loss-of-income expenses because the injury he suffered in a game at Georgia on Sept. 26.
“You’re never prepared, emotionally or financially, for your son to suffer such a serious injury,” Donny Gales and his wife, Tanisha, said in a statement. “The support of the College Football Assistance Fund allows us to focus on Devon and his recovery, and not on how we’re going to afford being with him at such a critical time in his life.”
For information on how to donate funds to assist the Gales family visit www.gojagsports.com.
More honors for Howard
Howard was named BRIC BOXTOROW National Player of the Week, giving him four awards for his performance in a 45-34 victory at Alabama State last Saturday.
He completed a career-high 33 passes in 45 attempts for 355 yards and four touhdowns and ran for two touchdowns.
The SWAC, the LSWA and College Sports Madness named Howard Offensive Player of the Week.
Too many penalties
Odums said the Jaguars “didn’t play consistent football” against ASU. “We played in spurts,” he said.
One area that was bothersome was penalties.
“The disappointing thing was the penalties,” Odums said, “14 is way too many.”
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.