SAN ANTONIO, Texas — When Southern looks back at its UTSA game film in search of positives to take away, it might as well fast forward to the second half.
What to take away from this game? The takeaways, of course.
Southern forced four turnovers in the final 24 minutes Saturday. They were the driving force of a second half where the Jaguars outscored the host Roadrunners 17-3.
“I think it gives our guys a little momentum. They can understand if they do what’s asked of them, they’ve got a chance to be successful,” Southern coach Dawson Odums said.
“It’s good to see that excitement. It’s good to see some positive plays, something to draw from.”
Danny Johnson got things started. The senior cornerback tied for the Football Championship Subdivision lead with seven interceptions last season and snared his first of 2017 when he picked off a wobbly pass by UTSA backup Bryce Rivers.
It was a good start, Johnson said. But Southern needs to get in the act earlier.
“The offense, since they’ve been struggling a little bit, we could try to get them better field position by creating those turnovers in the first half, let them put some points on the board,” Johnson said.
Southern ended three consecutive UTSA drives with turnovers later in the half, recovering a muffed punt, intercepting a deflected pass and recovering a fumbled snap. Those turnovers resulted in short fields and 10 points for the Southern offense.
“It kind of gets everyone in the game even more than we were at the moment,” senior offensive guard Christian Rodriguez said.
Punter Murphy Nash III, who had previously been a member of the Southern football team before eligibility issues kept him off the active roster, rejoined the Southern football team this week.
The former Southern Lab standout last suited up for the Jaguars in the 2014 season, when he punted six times for 226 yards.
He didn’t have to wait long to see his first action in nearly three years.
Austin Summerbell earned the start at punter, but his first punt was a shank that travelled 22 yards and set up UTSA in Southern territory.
Nash’s first punt since the 2014 Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game went 31 yards. He finished with eight punts for 289 yards.
“We just put him in and let him punt,” Odums said. “We’ve got to get his get-off time better, but once we do that, I think it’s going to be all right. He did a good job for not having been in a game in a while.”
Redshirt freshman running back Jamarqueza Mims left the game in the second quarter after a UTSA defender scored a clean shot on Mims’ back with his helmet.
Mims had to be helped off the field on the play, and he did not return to the game.
Southern safety Andrea Augustine was also “beat up” in the game, Odums said.
“I don’t know where we are health-wise,” Odums said. “… You really don’t know until you get that injury report on Sunday, which will be a late one this week. Tomorrow, we’ll get an injury report around 6 (p.m.) and try to figure out where our team is.”
Redshirt freshman defensive end Tyran Nash started in place of Simeon Houston, who missed Saturday’s game with a knee injury … Southern’s captains were seniors Danny Johnson, Aaron Tiller and Christian Rodriguez.