Photos: Southern Jaguars give strong performance against Jackson St. at Mumford Stadium _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Southern running back Lenard Tillery is stopped near the 20-yard line by Jackson State linebacker Kwame Bowens in the first quarter Saturday at A.W. Mumford Stadium in Baton Rouge.

1. WHAT WE LEARNED

Southern is really hard to defend. That was the expectation coming into the season — but after a lospided loss to Louisiana Tech and a lopsided win against Mississippi Valley in games that were largely mismatches, the Jaguars offensive potential hadn’t really been fulfilled. That changed Saturday as Southern gained 675 yards, Austin Howard had a career passing night and three Jaguars had two rushing touchdowns apiece. There doesn’t appear to be a weak spot on the offense.

2. TRENDING NOW

Quarterback Austin Howard had what coach Dawson Odums accurately described as “a breakout game.” Last season’s SWAC Freshman of the Year had 336 yards passing at halftime and could have finished with much more than the 395 he had if Southern had needed him to throw more than eight times in the second half. Howard distributed his 21 completions to eight different receivers and also ran for 29 yards and two touchdowns.

3. FINAL THOUGHTS

The story was clearly the Jaguars offense, but the defense did what it needed to do. Jackson State had 430 yards and scored 24 second-half points, but much of that was a result of Southern managing a comfortable lead. The Tigers never got closer than 12 points in the second half — and Southern, playing without three starters on defense, rotated a lot of players because of the heat and humdity and gave playing time to youngsters down the stretch. The defense had its third straight multiple-takeaway game.