Southern’s hope of winning a third consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference West division title suffered a big blow when the Jaguars lost to Alcorn State 48-7 last Saturday in A.W. Mumford Stadium.
The loss was the team’s second in three weeks and dropped Southern to 4-4 and 4-2 in the SWAC. The Jaguars will need a lot of help – even if they win their last three games – to win the West.
Southern will try to get back on the right track when it visits Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Jaguars players talked about the loss to Alcorn State, the severe rains that impacted that game and the upcoming game against the Golden Lions (1-7, 0-6).
Here are some excerpts:
QB Austin Howard on weather conditions:
“At the end of the day it’s not my call on how the weather is going to be so whatever hand we are dealt is the one we have to play.”
Howard on how the Jaguars prepared for the rainy weather:
“In practice we dip the balls in buckets of water just to try and get an idea of what it’s going to be like in the game. Whatever period we’re in we try to do it with a wet ball to prepare us.”
Howard on Southern fumbling 20 times and losing 12 in the last three games:
“Ball security has been a problem, but we’ve just got to keep working on it in practice. We can’t beat ourselves up over it. We’ve just got to get better during the week so on Saturday it will come more easily.”
Howard on what the Jaguars have to play for in the last three games:
“We’re playing for everything we said at the beginning of the season. We’re playing for our pride, we’re playing for respect just to show that people that just because we might be out of the race we’re still playing for the fans that came out to see us in that bad weather. We’re playing to show people that we still have passion for the game.”
Howard on preparing to play a team that is 0-6 in the SWAC:
“We just have to go out and practice with the high energy that we practiced with for Alcorn. Unfortunately things didn’t work out the way we wanted them to, but you just have to move on to the next one. You can’t dwell on the losses and you can’t dwell on the wins. Every week you just have to try to get better at something. You can’t be the same team you were last week.”
Howard on how hard it was to pass in the weather and under muddy field conditions last week:
“It was very hard. It was really wet and I have really small hands. I barely can grip the ball when it’s dry so it being wet just made it 10 times harder for me. But that’s really no excuse for why we couldn’t throw the ball.”
Howard on the Jaguars’ nine fumbles against Alcorn, five of which happened on snaps:
“There were puddles in some of the spots where we had the ball. I can’t blame our center for fumbling the snap because I could see when the ball was placed the bottom of the ball was covered with water. You really had half a ball to snap. I really don’t blame my centers for that. We were just in a messed up condition.”
RB Malcolm Crockett on what the Jaguars are playing for in the last three games:
“We have to finish strong. It was a hard loss this past Saturday. We just have to look past it, move on and finish strong.
“A lot of people understand that our chances are kind of slim. We want to show people that we’re going to keep fighting. Just because the chances are slim we’re not going to lay down. We’re going to keep finishing because you never know. Stuff might happen.”
Crockett on the fumbles against Alcorn:
“You really can’t say the rain is an excuse, but it had a partial effect on us. When it rains we have to keep two hands on the ball.
“We were playing in a lake on Saturday to be real.
“We just have to keep two hands on it. When we catch the ball or the quarterback’s handing it off we just have to protect it at all times because the water on it makes it liable to pop up.”
Crockett on UAPB:
“With the loss we just had, actually we’re fired up about playing Arkansas-Pine Bluff. We really want to get that bad taste out. We’re excited to play another opponent. Even though their stats are kind of lower and they’re winless we’re still going to treat that team as if they have a winning record. We don’t want to take any team lightly because anything can happen in a game.
“By watching film, some games even though they’re down and they might be down by a big margin they’re going to keep playing. We’re going to have to keep playing the whole 60 minutes.”