Mitchell: Douglas ‘was different’ Saturday

Southern football coach Stump Mitchell said he thought freshman quarterback J.P. Douglas “was different” Saturday after the Jaguars’ 23-20 loss against Prairie View at A.W. Mumford Stadium, noting that Douglas was ineffective in his usual role as part-time player.

“I think J.P., he was different tonight. He was different before the ballgame,” Mitchell said of Douglas, who completed only 2 of 8 passes for 20 yards after he entered the huddle in the third quarter.

“I watch all these guys, and I don’t know if he ... He was just different. He was dancing. He was doing several things in pregame, which I just didn’t think that was him. Now, maybe I don’t know him. But I know he’s a heck of a player. I don’t know if he was right there tonight.”

A week earlier, Douglas had come off the sideline and led Southern to a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter of a 28-21 victory at Mississippi Valley State.

Saturday, he replaced Dray Joseph after halftime.

In the first half, Joseph had completed 12 of 19 passes for 101 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Joseph led the team on a 98-yard scoring drive just before the break, bringing SU to within one point at 14-13.

In the third quarter, with Douglas playing, the team gained 43 yards from scrimmage and three first downs.

“We had a couple of plays called, and the primary receiver, (Douglas) didn’t look at. So I just knew he wasn’t on his game,” Mitchell said. “He’s a sharp guy. He wasn’t as sharp. But he didn’t cause us to lose that football game. By no stretch of the imagination.”

Douglas played four series in the third quarter.

Joseph re-entered the huddle in the fourth quarter, but SU’s offense continued to struggle. The team had 29 fourth-quarter yards until the final play of the game, when the Jaguars gained 37 yards on a hook-and-lateral play with Lee Doss and LaQuinton Evans.

Evans was pushed out of bounds at the Prairie View 25-yard line.

“I thought I could make the corner,” Evans said. “But as I was looking, the other receivers were in front of me. I couldn’t forward-lateral. I couldn’t look back because (the defender) probably would’ve come and tackled me. I didn’t know who was behind me. I tried to hit the corner. I almost got it.”

Numbers to know

107. Southern’s offense gained 107 yards in the second quarter against Prairie View, including 98 yards on a 15-play drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Joseph to Evans.

102.3. In three close losses to Jackson State, Florida A&M and Prairie View, the Jaguars averaged 102.3 yards of offense in the second half.

7. Under Mitchell, the Jaguars have played seven games decided by seven or fewer points, and SU has one win: 28-21 at Mississippi Valley on Oct. 1.

Worth repeating

“It’s just a team thing. That’s all I can say. We’ve just got to pick up the offense. The defense has just got to keep playing. We just need some more points.”

linebacker Anthony Balancier

“Got to eliminate the turnovers. We have to eliminate the turnovers. The defense, it really was a stellar performance. Of course, those guys are going to pick up some yardage, running every now and then. But for the most part, the defense played ... well enough for us to win. No question about it.”

Mitchell

Up next

Southern (2-4, 2-2 Southwestern Athletic Conference) visits Arkansas-Pine Bluff (3-3, 2-2) at 6 p.m. Saturday in Golden Lion Stadium.

The Lions have dropped back-to-back games, including a 48-10 loss at Jackson State, which scored 34 unanswered points in the second half at Veterans Memorial Stadium.