Southern University vs. UA-Pine Bluff played at War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock.

Southern Coach Dawson Odums on the sideline pregame on Saturday afternoon at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Ark.

TOM MORRIS --(318) 237.3030

WHAT WE LEARNED

Start with the positive: Austin Howard not only looks completely healthy for the first time since the opener, but also appears to have developed a strong rapport with his young receivers. The timing was excellent Saturday. Now the negative: That was a concerning performance from the Southern defense, which had looked like it turned a corner the previous two weeks.

TRENDING NOW

His name won’t shine brightly on the box score, but Southern may not have won that game had it not been for the fourth-quarter heroics of defensive back Demerio Houston. Houston knifed through a block to make a tackle for loss on one key fourth down, then deflected a pass that resulted in an interception. Those plays loom large on a night Southern won by a tighter-than-expected margin.

FINAL THOUGHTS

What do we make of Southern after this game? Arkansas-Pine Bluff is a lower-echelon SWAC team, and has been for a few years, but it hung 40 points on Southern and was right there in the game. But the team was also playing a day after the unexpected death of Dr. Debra Fountain, who several players on the team were close to. It was a strange game with an unfortunate set of circumstances surrounding it.

Luke Johnson

Follow Luke Johnson on Twitter, @ByLukeJohnson.