1. Third-down thoughts
A major emphasis for Southern this week has been third down. The offense converted just 8 of 19 third downs last week against Alcorn State, but third down was an even bigger problem for the defense. Alcorn converted 11 of 15, which created a lot of yards and points as well as a lot of fatigue for a defense lacking significant depth. Southern ranks last in the SWAC in third-down defense (47.4). “We tell our guys, ‘if you don’t want to play so many snaps, get off the field,’ ” Odums said. “It comes down to will and determination.”
2. Not so special
Both teams are hoping for improved special teams play after breakdowns in losses last week. UAPB was trying to reduce Jackson State’s 14-7 second-quarter lead when it lined up for a 50-yard field goal, but the Tigers blocked the kick and returned the ball 60 yards for a touchdown. Southern had a field goal and an extra point blocked by Alcorn. The Jaguars’ PAT percentage (73.7, 13-of-17) is worst in the SWAC. Both teams are among in the best in kickoff returns, though, as the Jaguars rank first (26.9) and the Lions third (22.6).
3. Homecoming kings
The first game of October is expected to feature the first autumn-like weather of this season. Another staple of October is homecoming. This is not only homecoming for Southern, which served as Alcorn’s homecoming opponent last week in Lorman, Miss., but it’s also the first of four homecoming experiences UAPB will have this season. The Lions will serve as a homecoming opponent twice more this month — at Grambling (Oct. 18) and at Texas Southern (Oct. 25). UAPB will finally get to have its own homecoming Nov. 8, when it hosts Prairie View.
4. Louisiana ties
UAPB has six players from Louisiana. Sophomore WR Willie Young of Miller-McCoy Academy in New Orleans leads the team in receiving with 13 catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions have two players from Baton Rouge in freshman OL Isaiah Briggs of Southern Lab and redshirt freshman DB David White of McKinley. The other Louisianans are junior DL Jontrell Lockett of Hahnville, junior DL Demarcus Berry of Alexandria and freshman LB Eddie Miles of Rayville.