Charles Hawkins, Southern’s second-leading receiver and one of the team’s leaders, suffered a concussion at the end of the first quarter in the Jaguars’ 28-24 loss to Jackson State on Saturday night in A.W. Mumford Stadium.
Heading into the Southwestern Athletic Conference showdown, Hawkins, a junior from New Orleans, had eight catches for 172 yards with one touchdown.
He left Saturday night’s game after the final play of the first quarter. Hawkins made a 15-yard catch on a third-and-2, but took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jackson State’s Richard Hughes.
Hawkins suffered a mild concussion.
He was replaced in the lineup by freshman Jordan Bilbo and sophomore Lee Doss.
Southern’s running game continued to struggle Saturday against Jackson State.
Through their first two games, the Jaguars had 63 rushing yards on 45 attempts, an average of 1.4 yards per carry. Through halftime, SU running backs had five carries for minus-1 yard. Through three quarters, the Jaguars had 14 carries for 16 yards.
Nzekwe makes plays
On the other hand, tailback Sylvester Nzekwe made a valuable contribution to the Southern passing game.
Through three quarters, Nzekwe had four catches for 71 yards — surpassing his totals for all of last season, when he had 68 receiving yards in 11 games.
• Doss scored his first college touchdown in the third quarter when Joseph found him on a crossing pattern. He slipped several tackles on his way to the end zone.
e_SBlt Linebacker Jamie Payton had his first interception in a Southern uniform during the third quarter. A former Dutchtown standout who played three seasons at NAIA Lambuth, he stepped in front of a Casey Therriault pass and returned it 12 yards.
e_SBlt Cornerback D’Mekus Cook had his first career interception. Cook, a junior, made an acrobatic grab on the sidelines, intercepting Therriault in the third quarter.
On offense, freshman guard Zach Brown made his first college start. He flip-flopped at left guard with sophomore Aaron Hall. Senior tailback Terrell Alex made his first start at SU. Alex, a Redemptorist High graduate, transferred last season from Division II Ouachita Baptist. Alex had Southern’s first carry, for a loss of 2 yards.
On defense, Kedy Enabulele, an end by trade, started at tackle for the second straight game. Sophomore linebacker Anthony Balancier made his first start of the season.
Different look for J-State
Jackson State made more changes to an offensive line that began the season with only nine players.
Junior Maurice Brooks started at left guard in place of Rodrick Gladney, who missed Saturday’s game to attend his father’s funeral. Gladney was the only returning starter on this year’s line.
Also, freshman Danny Williams started at right guard in place of redshirt freshman Jonathan Smith.
It was the second college start for both Brooks and Williams, who started Jackson State’s season opener against Concordia — a game in which Therriault had the worst completion percentage of his career, going 15-for-32.
After JSU’s first series — during which the Tigers gave up a sack and were called for holding — Smith replaced Williams.