If you believe Southern football coach Stump Mitchell, the results of Saturday’s 21-6 victory over Alabama A&M were not surprising at all. Not to him.
“No,” the second-year coach said. “Last week was shocking.”
Mitchell was referring to last week’s season-opening 33-7 loss at Tennessee State, during which the Jaguars were often manhandled at the line of scrimmage.
At the time, it dropped Mitchell’s record to 2-10 at Southern. It also extended the team’s losing streak to seven games, including a six-game slide to end last year.
“It was only a one-game losing streak for this team,” Mitchell said. “But for me, it was seven or eight, or whatever it was. It was too long.”
The Jaguars hadn’t won since Oct. 9, 2010, when they outlasted Mississippi Valley State for a 38-20 win.
Saturday’s game in A.W. Mumford Stadium also marked the first time in the Mitchell era that Southern’s defense held an opponent out of the end zone.
Alabama A&M drove inside SU territory on three possessions during the fourth quarter. The Jaguars held A&M scoreless, stopping the Bulldogs on fourth down each time.
The previous low score for an SU opponent in the Mitchell era was 20 points against Valley.
On offense, sophomore Aaron Hall started at left guard, though he platooned with freshman Zach Brown. ... Clinton Boyd, a tackle by trade, started at tight end, playing there for the second straight game. ... Sophomore receiver Lee Doss caught one pass for 13 yards in his first start.
On defense, junior D’Mekus Cook made his first start of the season, playing at nickelback. Cook was a part-time starter last season. ... Sophomore Anthony Balancier, who practiced at strong safety during the preseason, returned to linebacker, where he played as a freshman last season. ... Southern opened in a four-man front, with ends Jaylen Jordan and Kadeem Lewis and tackle Casey Narcisse. Kedy Enabulele, an end by trade, started at tackle.
Ties that bind
Alabama A&M worked out Friday at LSU’s Charles McClendon Practice Facility, thanks in part to a few old acquaintances.
LSU has three assistants with ties to Alabama A&M: Defensive backs coach Ron Cooper was head coach there from 1998-2001; defensive line coach Brick Haley played there from 1984-88; and defensive coordinator John Chavis was an assistant there from 1980-83.
• WR/TE Mike Berry had his first touchdown in a SU uniform. Berry, a junior college transfer, scored on a 21-yard catch in the second quarter.
• Freshman DE Arthur Miley got his first sack during the fourth quarter, when he dropped A&M quarterback Deaunte Mason for an 8-yard loss.
• RB Terrell Alex, a senior from Redemptorist High, had his first carry in a Southern uniform. Alex transferred from Division II Ouachita Baptist.
• RB Byron Williams had his first carry since 2009. Williams, a junior from Clinton, broke his ankle in ’09 and was academically ineligible in 2010.
P/K Manuel Canto, WR Charles Hawkins and DE Enabulele were team captains for Southern.
Attendance for Saturday’s game was 9,020 — far smaller than last season’s home opener, a 31-7 loss to Arkansas-Monticello, which drew 14,637. The teams’ last meeting at A.W. Mumford Stadium, a 33-28 win for A&M, drew a crowd of 24,600.
To the SU defense, which rebounded from an ugly season-opening loss at Tennessee State and kept A&M out the end zone.