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Southern University head coach Jason Rollins talks with coaches on the sideline against Jackson State University in the first half of their SWAC football game at A.W. Mumford Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.

Southern University coach Jason Rollins downplayed the post-game melee after the Jaguars' 21-17 loss to Jackson State that marred a well-played game by both teams in front of the largest crowd of the season at A.W. Mumford Stadium.

Rollins said he didn’t see the multiple groups of players shoving and swinging in an incident that threatened to get out of control but never did.

“From our film it was just a bunch of woofing,” Rollins said. “It looked worse than what it really was.”

The SWAC office issued a statement shortly after the game that it would conduct a “comprehensive review” of the incident to determine “necessary next steps in accordance with the league’s constitution and bylaws.”

Rollins declined to comment after the game because he didn’t see the disturbance while being escorted to shake hands with Jackson State coach Deion Sanders.

“I was walking with police to go to Deion on the 35-yard line,” Rollins said. “I was around Deion with his camera crew. When I got over there everything had subsided.”

Southern (4-6, 3-4) suffered a gut-wrenching loss against one of its most heated rivals despite leading most of the game. JSU remained unbeaten in SWAC play and clinched the East Division title by scoring two touchdowns in the final six minutes.

It was the fourth home loss in which the Jaguars were unable to mount much offense in the second half after playing well in the first two quarters. In losses to McNeese State, Prairie View, Florida A&M and Jackson State, Southern scored only 13 second-half points combined.

“Second down really hurt,” Rollins said. “We couldn’t win first down in the second half. We were always in second and long. They were able to pin their ears back. That was our Achilles heel — you can’t be in second and long situations and allow the front four to tee off.”

Southern’s defense played its best game of the season until the last two JSU drives, holding the visitors under 200 yards. A 50-yard touchdown pass from Shedeur Sanders to a wide-open Malachi Wideman provided the winning points with 1:31 left.

After watching film, Rollins said the play was a “judgement call” but thought JSU may have committed offensive pass interference against Southern defensive back Robert Rhem.

“From a defensive perspective you’d say yes, but from an offensive perspective you’d say just battling for the ball,” Rollins said. “Judgement call. For some unfortunate reason we haven’t been able to be on the other side of the judgement calls.”

Rollins said the team’s return to health was a major reason the Jaguars played so well.

“When you’re playing with our full team … everyone was back, not 100% but back in body,” he said. “We didn’t have those drop-offs and you don’t have to go that deep into your depth. It showed who we are when we’re fully healthy. It was as healthy as we’ve been all season.

“When you get those pieces of the puzzle back, you have better practices. It’s belief — everyone believes in the guys at the top of the depth chart. It’s full buy-in.”

Southern has an open date before closing the season with the Bayou Classic against Grambling on Nov. 27 in the Caesars Superdome.