Jaguars bounce back strong to thump Mississippi Valley _lowres

Advocate photo by JUSTIN SELLERS -- Southern linebacker Javon Allen wraps up Mississippi Valley State receiver Raul Aranda on Thursday night at Rice-Totten Stadium. The Jaguars beat the Delta Devils 50-13 in both teams' first SWAC game of the season.


Southern is still Southern — and Valley is still Valley. The Jaguars have been predicted to contend for a third consecutive SWAC West Division title. They showed off the variety of weapons on offense and in the return game as well as the athleticism on defense that led to that expectation. Certainly they face greater challenges in the SWAC, but they demonstrated clearly that they were the superior team. The Delta Devils, who have finished last in the East the past two years, obviously have a long way to go as they begin Year 2 of coach Rick Comegy’s rebuilding job.


The Southern defense rose up and played for the most part like a unit capable of being an adequate complement to the explosive offense and return game. It generated a pass rush right from the start, forced three turnovers and didn’t allow a first down until the Jaguars had a 26-0 lead. The defense had some problems with backup QB Dontrinell Scott’s running ability, and linebackers-turned-nickelbacks Martin Henry and Roshaud Turner gave up a couple of big plays in the passing game. But overall, it was a solid effort.


The ease with which Southern handled Valley might not mean any more than the ease with which Louisiana Tech handled Southern five days earlier. Both games were mismatches based on talent. The Jaguars’ home opener against Jackson State on Sept. 19 figures to be a better gauge than either of the first two games. Southern didn’t hang its head after the Tech game and probably won’t pound its chest after this one. The Jaguars are still a work in progress, but one that seems to be progressing.