Southern coach Dawson Odums has been looking for his team to put together a complete performance.
He said the Jaguars did that in a 57-24 victory at Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He’s looking for more of the same in the home finale against Alabama A&M on Saturday and against Grambling in the Bayou Classic on Nov. 28 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Southern’s offensive production last week was obvious. Austin Howard was named Southwestern Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week after throwing four touchdown passes, and Lenard Tillery and Malcolm Crockett each rushed for more than 100 yards and combined to score four touchdowns.
But there was more to the performance than those statistics.
“I thought our offensive line did a fantastic job,” Odums said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. “When you can throw the ball efficiently and you can have two 100-yard rushers, it starts with those guys.”
Odums cited the defense’s continued improvement on third down. The Jaguars limited the Golden Lions to four conversions in 11 attempts.
In the past three games, Southern has held opponents to a 23.3-percent conversion rate after allowing a 47.5-percent conversion rate in the first six games.
“Defensively, just get off the field on third down,” Odums said. “Your job is to get to third down. Make a play, get off and get the ball back to your offense.”
Odums noted that the special teams had “no penalties, no mishaps, no tipped balls.”
Opponents avoiding Quinn
Speaking of special teams, UAPB did the same thing Alcorn State did a week earlier — stay away from Willie Quinn on kickoffs.
Quinn had a kickoff return for a touchdown in consecutive games before facing Alcorn, against which he had zero returns.
Like Alcorn, UAPB kicked the ball high and short and kept the ball out of the hands of Quinn, who has five special-teams returns for touchdowns this season. Danny Johnson and Mike Jones each had two returns as they sprinted upfield to grab the high kicks from their upback positions.
“Teams are starting to kick away from him, so we’ve got our sky return out there to try and catch some of those short balls,” Odums said. “We went with the sky return figuring that they weren’t going to kick the ball deep and they didn’t.
“They didn’t really kick the ball beyond the 30-yard line, so we were able to get great field position.”
The Jaguars’ average starting position after five kickoffs was their 36.
1995 champs to be honored
Southern will have a couple of pregame ceremonies before the start of its home finale against Alabama A&M at 4 p.m. Saturday in A.W. Mumford Stadium.
In addition to the traditional Senior Day festivities recognizing the players in their final home game, the Jaguars will honor the 1995 SWAC and black college national championship team.
Cook-Off Challenge Saturday
Southern will host the Golden Chef Cook-Off Challenge on the Bluffs in conjunction with Saturday’s game.
The event will be co-hosted by the Baton Rouge Mayor-President’s Office.
It will be hosted by Mrs. Leah Chase of Dooky Chase Restaurant, will feature local celebrity judges and will focus on health and wellness.
Fans interested in competing in the Cook-Off Challenge can complete a registration form at GoJagSports.com.
Entry fees are $100 for a single person and $250 for team. Trophies will be presented for the grand champion and runner-up.
Southern will host the SWAC volleyball championship tournament Nov. 20-22, but first Jaguars have their regular-season finale against Grambling at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Seymour Gym.
— Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.