ARLINGTON, Texas — Southern wide receiver Marquis McClain came up with a breakout performance in the Jaguars’ 35-31 loss to Texas Southern on Saturday with his most productive effort in his two seasons with the Jaguars.
McClain caught a team-high six passes for 96, both career highs, and had a 65-yard scoring run that answered a Tiger TD early in the third quarter.
Southern trailed 14-10 at the half and TSU threatened to pull away by taking the second half kickoff and tearing through the Southern defense for an 80-yard, nine-play TD drive.
On Southern’s next snap, McClain took a pitch out on a reverse and turned the left corner with plenty of room. He made a nice cut at the 30-yard line to take TSU defensive back Jacorey Benjamin off his feet and cruise into the endzone on Southern’s second longest play of the year.
“We worked it every day and great to see it go through and be executed,” said McClain, a transfer from Auburn. “I saw nothing but green grass.
“(On catches) The coaches knew I had that look in my eyes it was go time,” he said.
McClain caught 12 passes for 167 yards and one score during the spring season as he acclimated himself to his new surroundings.
“He played well, exactly how we expect him to play every week,” Southern coach Jason Rollins said. “He had the matchups we liked, and we took advantage of him when the number was called, he made the plays.”
Overturned and overcome
Replay officials overturned a play in favor of TSU on Southern’s first drive that the Jaguars managed to overcome. A pass by Bubba McDaniel intended for Brandon Hinton was batted down and ruled incomplete. Fortunately for the Jaguars, Hinton hustled to recover the ball 13 yards behind the line of scrimmage. After the review, McDaniel connected on a 28-yard pass play to Chandler Whitfield on second and 23.
The targeting bug bit Southern for the sixth time this season. Jakoby Pappillion was ejected for targeting on an unsuccessful two-point conversion run attempt by TSU’s Crishon Frazier. It was a double hit for Southern because the Tigers got another try at the PAT with Ricard Garcia kicking the tying point.
Safety Tamaurice Smith, RB Craig Nelson and RB Jerodd Sims were held out of action. Smith and Nelson suffered knee injuries against Mississippi Valley State two weeks ago and Sims hasn’t played this season because of a foot injury. Pappillion started in place of Smith before being ejected for targeting. Southern also lost Davin Cotton in the first quarter. He did not return.
RB Kobe Dillon scored his first career touchdown on a 2-yard run with 10:13 left in the first quarter. ... Luke Jackson made a career long 45-yard field goal, his previous best a 43-yarder against McNeese State. ... McClain got his first rushing touchdown on a 65-yard reverse play for a TD.
The loss snapped a nine-game win streak for Southern against TSU, and denied the program its 50th overall win in the series (49-21-4). The Jaguars last lost to TSU, 29-15, in 2011. ... This was the third meeting between the teams in the Dallas Metroplex area. ... Jordan Lewis got his 33rd career sack, which leads all FCS among active players, and he has 4 1/2 for the season.
Southern captains were LB Keyshawn Acker and WR/RB Brandon Hinton. Texas Southern won the coin flip and deferred the option until the second half. Southern received the opening kickoff.