Southern has won two games in a row for the first time since early September.
One of the keys to the Jaguars’ success in beating Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Alabama A&M have been a revitalized passing game.
Playing in better weather conditions and against worse competition has helped — but nonetheless, Southern has been nearly flawless while thrashing the Golden Lions 57-24 and the Bulldogs 46-7.
In the past two games, the Jaguars have completed 70 percent of their passes (40-of-57) for an average of 290 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. In the two games before that — amid driving rain and sloppy field conditions — they completed 45 percent of their passes (16-of-35) for 122 yards.
They had neither a touchdown nor an interception in a win against Texas Southern (40-21) and a loss to Alcorn State (48-7) before the win streak.
Austin Howard has enhanced his position as the most efficient passer in the Southwestern Athletic Conference before making early exits from both blowouts.
He was named Offensive Player of the Week by the Louisiana Sportswriters Association for his performance against A&M. He completed 21 of 27 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran for two touchdowns.
“He’s playing really well,” coach Dawson Odums said. “I think he has a good understanding of the offense. He’s able to move the football around. He has a good receiving corps.
“I just think that all the talent around him is what makes him great. He makes great decisions, and when you put those two together it’s usually a recipe for success.”
Not surprisingly, the recent success in the passing game has included involvement from more receivers.
Against Texas Southern, the 11 catches were divided among four players, including two wide receivers. Against Alcorn, the five receptions were divided among four players, including two wide receivers.
Against UAPB the 15 completions were divided among six players, including five wide receivers, and against A&M the 25 completions were divided among 10 players, including five wide receivers.
In total, 12 different players have caught passes in the last two games.
Southern also has done a much better job with ball security the last two games.
The bad weather for the games against Texas Southern and Alcorn had a lot to do with a three-game stretch of poor ball security, but the streak started in good conditions against Prairie View in a game in which the Jaguars fumbled six times and lost the ball four times.
In all that three-game stretch featured 20 fumbles, 12 of which were recovered by the opposition.
In each of the last two games, Southern has fumbled just once and lost neither.
Bus trips galore
The Southern bus brigade has openings for the final road trip of the season — to New Orleans for the Bayou Classic on Nov. 28 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Southern University Quarterback Club, The Southern Blue and Gold Fan Club, The Southern University 6th Man Club and the Strong United Unification Organization are all offering trips.
For information on the Blue and Gold trip, contact Craig Pierre at (225) 324-7234 or Robert Square at (225) 931-4052.
For information on the 6th Man Club trips, contact Gail Ray at (225) 356-5252); Anna Jones at (225) 387-1982, (225) 907-7212 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Freddie Green Sr. at (225) 388-9403 or (225) 421-6637 or Elijah Wilkinson Jr. at (225) 355-9249.
For information on the SUUO trips, call (225) 355-6886, (225) 357-3833 or (225) 774-7617.
Winners of the ANOD raffle at the end of the third quarter of the game against Alabama A&M last Saturday:
Ticket #059 was drawn for a 55-inch TV and was won by Bryan Williams.
Ticket #004 was drawn for a $100 gift card and was won by Jacob Turner.
Ticket #128 was drawn for a $50 gift card and was won by Dwight Moore.