Southern (7-3 overall and 6-1 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference) hosts Mississippi Valley State in its home finale at 6 p.m. Saturday in A.W. Mumford Stadium. The Delta Devils are 2-8 and 1-7 after a 38-23 loss to Grambling on Thursday night. Valley jumped to an early 14-0 lead in its home finale before the Tigers took command. Last season in Itta Bena, Mississippi, the Jaguars led just 3-0 after three quarters on their way to a 17-7 victory in their lowest-scoring game of the season.
Lenard Tillery rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown, and the Southern defense held Texas Southern scoreless in the second half of a 30-20 victory Saturday night in A.W. Mumford Stadium. The Jaguars scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, weathered a 17-0 blitz by the Tigers and took a 21-20 lead into halftime before seizing control in the second half. Southern allowed a first-down completion on a botched punt attempt, failed to field a pop-pup kickoff, leading to a TSU field goal, and saw a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. But the defense held the Tigers to 220 yards, including 99 rushing.
Tillery took advantage of the holes provided by his blockers to help set the tone for the game. Southern ran 12 more plays than TSU (73-61) and Tillery by himself had 26 more rushing yards than the Tigers did. His 8-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter provided an important two-score margin and the Jaguars wound up possessing the ball more than three minutes more than the Tigers in the second half.
“You can’t focus on one player or one group of individuals.”
— Southern coach Dawson Odums on his team’s offensive balance and variety of playmakers.
Keep an eye on
TE Montrell Jones was Southern’s leading receiver. Though his four catches for 66 yards were relatively modest numbers, they represented a significant upgrade for a player who had just five catches for 57 yards for the season before Saturday night. His catches contributed to three scoring drives as he had a 25-yarder on the Jaguars’ second touchdown drive, a 14-yarder on their field-goal drive and 33- and 9-yarders on the final touchdown drive.
One of the most improved areas for Southern in the past 3½ games has been its third-down defense. That was clearly demonstrated as it held TSU to 2-of-15 on third-down conversions and 1-of-4 on fourth down. The one fourth-down conversion came on the botched punt attempt so the defense held the Tigers to 2-of-18 on third- and fourth-down conversions.