Southern will honor 23 seniors before their final home game against Alabama A&M on Saturday in A.W. Mumford Stadium.
But one notable senior will not be included in the ceremony.
That’s because linebacker Demetrius Carter, the team’s leading tackler a year, is expected to be granted a medical redshirt that will enable his to return as a fifth-year senior next season.
Carter suffered a torn Achilles in the first half of a 50-13 victory at Mississippi Valley State in the second game of the season and underwent season-ending surgery.
Since Carter played in less than 30 percent of the Jaguars games before being injured he is eligible for a medical redshirt, though formal approval won’t come until after the season.
Down to the wire
Southern and A&M have a recent history of tight games.
Each of the last three games have been decided by a field goal or less and two of those games went into overtime.
Last season, the Jaguars overcame a 34-14 third-quarter deficit to win 35-34 in Normal, Alabama. That was the second win in what turned into a seven-game win streak to end the season and give Southern a second consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference West division title.
Two years ago the Jaguars won 20-17 in double overtime in Mumford Stadium and three years ago the Bulldogs won 24-23 in overtime at home.
“They’re definitely going to come out and play hard. They always do,” Southern junior running back Lenard Tillery said. “First quarter to fourth quarter, they’re going to play their hardest. They’re definitely a big-effort team.”
The last time a game in this series was decided by more than a field goal was 2011 when Southern won 21-6 in Mumford Stadium.
Winless no more
Last week, Southern beat a team that was winless in the SWAC when it routed Arkansas-Pine Bluff 57-24.
At the same time, A&M was playing the only other winless team in the SWAC — Mississippi Valley State — and the Delta Devils finally broke through with a 27-24 overtime win.
“They came in and they really wanted to win the game,” Bulldogs coach James Spady said. “They pushed us to our limit, took us into overtime and we weren’t able to make enough plays to win the game.”
A&M entered last week’s game plus-4 in turnovers but was minus-2 in the game after freshman Damion May threw three interceptions.
“We had more turnovers than we normally have,” Spady said. “I don’t know where that bug came from, but we’ve got to get rid of that bug in a hurry.”
May had played in relief of starter Tootie Ballard in five games and started and went the distance in the Bulldogs last win against Jackson State (28-22) three weeks ago.
“Tootie was having a rough patch until we brought Damion in to create some competition,” Spady said. “Sometimes competition makes a guy better or makes both guys better. So we brought Damion in to kind of motivate that position and then Damion has a somewhat lackluster day with the turnovers.
“You’d like to see him take care of the ball better and be more mature as a quarterback, but he’s a freshman and acted like a freshman. So we have to get him better so he doesn’t play like a freshman and Tootie has got to come through in the quarterback competition.”
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.