Southern nose tackle Gabe Echols was the key player on the Jaguars’ goal-line stop that secured a 52-45 victory against Grambling in the Bayou Classic on Saturday.
But end Arthur Miley deserves a huge assist.
The Tigers were on the verge of forcing overtime as they lined up inches from the Southern goal line with 8 seconds left.
“I definitely knew it was going to be a quarterback sneak the way they came out,” Miley said after practice Monday. “The quarterback (Johnathan Williams) was right up against the center, and the running back was close to the quarterback to come help push him. I was telling the players on the field, ‘We need to run Delta Wham.’ ”
The Jaguars called a time-out after seeing the formation, and Miley said the same thing to coach Dawson Odums, who had called a different defense.
“Once we saw what they were lined up in, (Miley) said, ‘Coach, you remember that call we used to run that we haven’t run this year that’s good for quarterback sneaks?’ ” Odums recalled. “I said, ‘Yeah, bring me the board.’ So I had to draw it up for all those guys, and we put it in right then and there.”
The call was to squeeze the defensive linemen together so all three lined up between the guards. Echols was lined up over the center, and Miley and fellow end Jaylen Jordan were lined up on the guards.
Grambling came out in the same formation, Williams sneaked and Echols led a charge that bottled up Williams for no gain as time ran out.
“We had veteran players who had run it before, so they knew what to do,” Odums said. “It worked out well for us. They stuffed it. He didn’t get close.”
Odums said quarterback Deonte Shorts suggested an adjustment earlier in the game that paid dividends on a touchdown drive.
“Sometimes (players) say things and you look at them sideways,” Odums said. “But they’re all locked into the game, and they can up with something that will spark your mind to make a call that wins a game.”
Game week begins
Preparations for the Southwestern Athletic Conference title game began in earnest Monday, with Southern and Alcorn State having very different starting points.
The Jaguars were less than 48 hours removed from their exhilarating Bayou Classic victory, which sent them back to Houston to defend their SWAC title Saturday.
The Braves were more than a week removed from their last game, a sloppy, 34-31 loss at home to Jackson State in their regular-season finale. They practiced last week knowing they would be facing Southern or Grambling, having clinched the East Division title two weeks before the Jackson State game.
“We’re fine,” Alcorn coach Jay Hopson said during a conference call Monday norning. “We don’t sit and dwell on things. We lost a heartbreaker. In fact, we’ve lost three heart-breakers this season.”
The Braves have lost three games, including those against Southern Mississippi and Grambling, by a combined 16 points.
Southern hasn’t had to recover from a loss since late September, having won all seven of its games since a 56-16 loss at Alcorn State.
“Our players were excited to play in the Bayou Classic and win it,” Odums said. “They deserved to celebrate it, but they know it’s back to work now. They understand the bigger picture.”
On the road again
There are multiple bus trips available to the title game.
A spot on SU Quarterback Club’s trip costs $185 for a single hotel room and $270 for a double. For information, visit SouthernUniversityQBClub.com or contact Jonathan Dearbone (225-572-5878) or Reginald Jarvis (225-939-5906).
The 6th Man Club trip costs $125 and departs at 5 a.m. Saturday. Fans should have their deposit ready by Tuesday. For information, call Freddie Greene at (225) 421-6637, Anna Jones at (225) 907-7212 or Eljiah Wilkinson at (225) 355-9249.
The Blue and Gold Fan Club trip costs $100 and returns after the game. Contact Craig Pierre (225-324-7234) or Robert Square (225-931-4057).
Tickets are still available for the SWAC title game, which kicks off at 3:02 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNU. Southern will be the home team. … The all-SWAC team will be announced later this week. … The Jaguars are limiting player availability for interviews this week because students are taking final exams. … Southern will depart for Houston on Thursday.