Southern Jackson St Football

Southern coach Dawson Odums shouts directions to his team during a game against Jackson State on Saturday in Jackson, Miss.

What we learned

When all phases of the game are working, including the coaching, the Jaguars can look pretty awesome. Their opening drive was practically perfect, and it set the tone for the rest of the game. The Jaguars defense shut down a pretty high-powered offense and never allowed it to gain continuity. And the special teams were locked in with no mistakes and several big plays. Southern can beat any team in the Southwestern Athletic Conference when it plays this way. The Jaguars pounded their opponents and made them submit.

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Southern’s old-school offense of running the ball first is hard to handle when it gets rolling, and with Jerodd Sims becoming the workhorse, the Jaguars overwhelm opposing defenses with depth. Sims was the leading receiver with five key catches for 52 yards, and Devon Benn broke out with his best game of the season. JSU coach Deion Sanders complimented Southern’s offensive line as it ground down his defense relentlessly throughout the game. Even with a couple of interceptions, Southern was in control all day.

Final thoughts

Southern will have to sit out for the fourth open weekend of the season before playing its next game, the Bayou Classic against Grambling on April 17 in Shreveport. It’s a shame because the Jackson State victory is the kind that makes a coach want to play as soon as possible, the kind you want to bottle for future use. What Southern showed was its talent, experience and character coming together on the field. Dawson Odums also showed Jackson State’s rookie coach, Deion Sanders, a little something about coaching in the SWAC.