Southern (3-3, 3-1 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference) plays Texas Southern (3-3, 2-3 after a 49-21 victory against Mississippi Valley State on Saturday in Itta Bena, Miss.) at 2 p.m. Saturday in Houston. The Jaguars won last year’s meeting 30-20 in A.W. Mumford Stadium, as they ran for four touchdowns. Southern won the last meeting in Houston 31-24 two years ago.
Southern lost four fumbles in a 47-42 homecoming loss to Prairie View last Saturday in A.W. Mumford Stadium. The Jaguars led 30-27 before Greg Pittman’s fumble on a punt snap set up the Panthers at the 1-yard line, and they scored the touchdown that put them ahead to stay one play later. Later in the fourth quarter, Dionte McDuffy mishandled the football after Southern blocked a Prairie View field goal, and the Panthers recovered. That set up Johnta’ Hebert’s 13-yard touchdown run. Hebert finished with 398 all-purpose yards and scored four touchdowns.
WR Randall Menard caught four passes for 168 yards and a touchdown. His score came on a 28-yard pass from Austin Howard that gave the Jaguars their final lead of the game, 30-27 entering the fourth quarter. Menard had two bigger gains that gave Southern scoring opportunities that it failed to take full advantage of. On the second play from scrimmage he caught a 64-yard pass, which set up Pittman’s 23-yard field goal, but the Jaguars netted zero yards after Menard’s catch gave them a first-and-goal at the 6. In the second quarter, Howard and Menard teamed on a 52-yard completion that gave them a first-and-goal at the two, but four running plays netted 1 yards and the Jaguars turned the ball over on downs.
“There’s no secret formula. We’ve got to win.”
— Nose guard Gabe Echols on Southern’s challenge in winning the SWAC West.
Keep an eye on
The defense on third downs. The Jaguars are allowing SWAC opponents to convert more than half of their third downs into first downs. Southern entered the game with the worst third-down defense in the SWAC (48 percent) and it allowed 11-of-16 conversions, which enabled the Panthers to possess the ball for 34 minutes and 17 seconds.
The Jaguars made several special teams mistakes. The biggest came when Pittman fumbled the punt snap. Two of Pittman’s extra points were blocked, and holder Mike Jones was stopped as he tried to run in a two-point conversion. Willie Quinn lost a fumble on a punt return, though he also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. After Southern scored a touchdown to get within 40-36 — they would have been within three, but the PAT was blocked — with 4:04 left, it kicked off from midfield because of a Panthers penalty but kicked short and allowed a return to the Prairie View 48. Nine plays later, the Panthers scored the icing touchdown.