Photos: Southern sloshes its way to messy, but important, win at Texas Southern _lowres

Advocate photo by THOMAS B. SHEA -- Southern receiver Willie Quinn returns the opening kickoff for a touchdown against Texas Southern on Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

HOUSTON — Southern’s Willie Quinn didn’t waste any time adding a special-teams touchdown to his total.

He returned the opening kickoff 96 yards down the Texas Southern sideline for a touchdown that jump-started the Jaguars’ 40-21 victory Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium.

It was Quinn’s fourth kickoff return for a touchdown this season and second in as many weeks. He had a 100-yarder against Prairie View last week. Quinn also has a punt return for a touchdown this season.

“They kicked it to him, but I don’t think they meant to kick it to him,” Southern coach Dawson Odums said. “He is a phenomenal football player and he does a great job returning.”

For his career, Quinn has scored on six kickoff returns and three punt returns.

“Coach Odums always preaches to me that they aren’t always going to kick it to me, but when you get the opportunity, you have to take advantage,” Quinn said. “I took advantage and took it back.”

Texas Southern kicked away from Quinn as best it could the rest of the game. He finished with three returns for 123 yards to go with two catches for 18 yards.

No stopping the rain

The game was originally scheduled to start at 2 p.m., but heavy rain and potential flooding from the effects of Hurricane Patricia convinced TSU officials on Friday afternoon to move the kickoff to noon.

The game kicked off under a steady drizzle, which continued to get heavier throughout the day. Field conditions were noticeably messy, with several players struggling to gain their footing.

“Football is football — wet or dry, hot or cold,” said SU defensive end Aaron Tiller, who had two sacks and a fumble recovery. “We are just going to go out there and play to the best of our ability.”

An 86-yard punt?

With his foot less than an inch from his own goal line, TSU punter Cory Carter was just hoping to just get a first-half punt off without it getting blocked.

Carter not only got the punt off, but kicked it over Quinn’s head and saw it bounce for a total distance of 86 yards.

The kick was a career long for Carter, who finished with an average of 52.3 yards on nine punts, including two inside the 20.

Just a little better

One of Southern’s points of emphasis this week was to take better care of the football than it did last week.

In a 47-42 loss to Prairie View, the Jaguars fumbled six times and lost four.

Things didn’t start any better against Texas Southern, losing two fumbles in the first quarter.

Nico Talbert fumbled a punt and the Tigers recovered at the Jaguars 12, leading to a touchdown. Southern was on the verge of extending a 21-14 lead when Malcolm Crockett lost a fumble on first-and-goal at the 1.

The Jaguars fumbled twice more, losing one, though it came at the very end and did no harm.

Les East contributed to this report.