Two weeks ago, five Southern starters had to get off the team bus before it left for the season opener at UL-Lafayette because they had not been academically certified.
Defensive backs Kevin King, D’Andre Woodland and Dionte McDuffy were able to stay on the bus, start the 45-6 loss to the Ragin’ Cajuns and start again in a 56-14 win against Central Methodist a week later.
But on Saturday night, the three defensive backs were pulled from the lineup just minutes before kickoff as their certification was deemed inadequate by university officials.
Athletic Director William Broussard seemed as bewildered as anyone by the unexpected change and vowed to find some answers.
Meanwhile, coach Dawson Odums just shook his head in the wake of a 51-27 loss to Northwestern State.
It seemed the certification process was nearly complete as the Jaguars awaited a resolution for Jaleel Richardson, who has yet to play, but he remained in limbo Saturday.
Seven players — G Anthony Mosley, WR Nico Talbert, LBs Daniel Brown and Detrane Lindsey, DBs Renaldo Thomas and Jeremy Coleman and K Matt Hill — had been declared academically ineligible for the season.
NEW OFFENSIVE LINE
Southern started its third different offensive line in as many games.
Left tackle Reginald Redding made his season debut and started after missing the first two games while recovering from a concussion and awaiting academic certification. He was cleared physically more than a week ago and academically earlier this week. Redding’s availability enabled Dewayne Houston to move from left tackle to his customary spot at right tackle and Zach Brown to slide from right tackle to right guard.
Terrell Lee started at center in place of Brandon Thibodeaux, who’s sidelined by an ankle injury, and Jamal Boulden started at left guard.
RB Jamarcus Jarvis, who scored two touchdowns in a 56-14 victory against Central Methodist last week, did not play because of a sore knee, but he is expected back next week.
RB Malcolm Crockett and WR Mike Jones left with what appeared to be ankle injuries and did not return.
WR Randall Menard (toe), NT Justin Woods (leg) and PK Greg Pittman (knee) also did not dress because of injury.
PAIR OF PUNTERS
Southern changed punters after Paul Randle Soden’s 15-yarder helped set up a Demons field goal in the first quarter. His punt came off the side of his foot and sailed out of bounds at the Jaguars 31. The defense didn’t allow a first down and Chris Moore kicked a 46-yard field goal to give the Demons a 10-0 lead.
On Southern’s next punt, Murphy Nash III, a sophomore from Southern Lab, replaced Soden and punted 33 yards. Soden averaged 28.5 yards and Nash averaged 35.0 as each punted twice.
TENNIS TEAM RECOGNIZED
The Southern women’s tennis teams was recognized on the field at the end of the first quarter after winning receiving its Southwestern Athletic Conference championship rings.
The Jaguars won their fifth consecutive SWAC title in the spring.