NCAA Football: Southern at TSU

Nov 11, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Southern University Jaguars linebacker Aaron Tiller (94) celebrates his sack against the Texas Southern Tigers in the first half at BBVA Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea For the Advocate

Southern coach Dawson Odums was thinking about his senior class after the Jaguars wrapped up an important 33-7 road win against Texas Southern.

That class, along with the rest of his team, will have an opportunity to punch a ticket to the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game if it can beat Grambling in the Bayou Classic.

Odums was thinking about his senior class and the opportunity it still has in its reach to put some closure on a painful memory. Not 20 minutes removed from its victory, Southern seemed ready to suit up again.

“This senior class went to the (SWAC) championship in 2014 and got beat, and they remember that,” Odums said. “They’ve lost two in a row to our next opponent (Grambling).

“We’ll be ready. We’re ready to move forward, we’re ready to get off this game, we’re ready to turn the page and get ready for the next opponent.”

Quarterback Austin Howard was a true freshman starter for that 2014 team that lost 38-24 to Alcorn State in the championship. He was not interested in dredging up the loss from his freshman season in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's win.

“It is what it is,” Howard said. “We’ll leave that in the past.”

Southern put itself in this position by winning six consecutive games, the latest being arguably its most complete team effort of the season.

The Jaguars more than doubled Texas Southern’s offensive output, 501-212. They allowed only one drive that covered more than 35 yards and enjoyed advantages in time of possession, turnovers and third-down conversions.

“They were really locked in all week, and you could see that,” Odums said. “They were locked in on the bus ride. … You could sense that these guys were starting to believe at the right time that they could do something only they believed they could do.”

That focus did not seem to wane after the game.

“We know what’s ahead of us,” said senior defensive end Aaron Tiller. “Now, it’s finally here. … Now it’s time to do what we’ve been trying to do all year. It’s time to go to New Orleans and get it done.”

Chasing 1,000

Senior running back Herb Edwards’ 159-yard effort Saturday put him at an even 900 rushing yards on the season, 100 yards shy of giving Southern its fourth straight 1,000-yard rusher.

“When he gets his running game going like that, it’s something special,” Howard said, before adding that Texas Southern’s game plan was to stop the run.

Almost all of Edwards’ damage has come during Southern’s six-game win streak.

Edwards ran for just 99 yards on 34 carries in the first three games. He also missed the UT-San Antonio game with a hamstring injury.

Since that point, he has tallied at least 96 yards in each of Southern’s past six games, totaling 801 yards on 158 carries over that span.

His 71-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter Saturday was the Jaguars’ longest play from scrimmage this season.

Put-away game

Southern’s 26-point margin of victory Saturday was its largest of the season. It outscored Texas Southern by 13 points in each half.

If there has been one knock on Southern during its win streak, it is that the Jaguars had let teams linger in games to the point where they were still competitive late.

“Today, we put it together and we created separation and we kept building on it,” Odums said. “That’s what you want to see as a coach.”

Follow Luke Johnson on Twitter, @ByLukeJohnson.