Three observations after the Southern football team got back on track with a 51-23 rout at Texas Southern on Saturday night.
What we learned
When Ladarius Skelton is engaged, he’s at his best and the Jaguars offense clicks. Skelton had his most carries this season and had his best passing game, too, as he totaled 233 yards and accounted for three touchdowns. Even though he threw one interception and sat while backup John Lampley threw for a touchdown, he looked large and in charge. Best of all, the Southern offense clicks on all cylinders when it runs through Skelton. Multiple backs, receivers and tight ends prospered on Saturday.
Southern’s special teams came up big, scoring a touchdown for the second straight week. Shykee Thomas, returning kickoffs for the first time, took one back 98 yards to cut off TSU’s momentum after a touchdown cut Southern’s lead to 16-14. Last week, Southern scored a touchdown off of a blocked a punt. There were no critical breakdowns, turnovers or penalties on special teams, Southern converted all PATs, and it even recovered an onside kick. That’s a sign of an improving team.
It’s a short season, and Southern needed to reassert itself for the last half run. The Jaguars’ loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff might be hard to overcome, but the Jaguars showed they can beat anybody when playing a complete game like they did Saturday. Some of the usual suspects like Jordan Lewis and Jarrod Sims excelled and some new faces like Shykee Thomas and Jakobi Jones stepped up and played big roles. It might have been the best Southern performance in a SWAC game in two seasons.