Texas- Southern Southern U

Southern University defenders Jakobi Jones (31) bottom, and Jordan Lewis (32) top, chase Texas Southern quarterback Andrew Body (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (Michael Ainsworth)

After being lit up for five touchdowns and 576 yards by Texas Southern’s offense, the Southern University defense is happy to move on to another opponent.

The only problem is that the Jaguars can expect their upcoming opponent, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, to employ a similar scheme when the teams clash in Pine Bluff on Saturday at 2 p.m.

TSU freshman quarterback Andrew Body won SWAC offensive player of the week after directing the Tigers’ quick-paced offense that averaged 8.1 yards per play against the Jaguars. That won’t escape the notice of the Golden Lions’ coaching staff.

“Once you out it on film, you have to defend it,” Southern coach Jason Rollins said. “It’s a copycat league. They’ll look at what you struggle against and implement it into the game plan. We’re going in with the mindset we have to correct the errors from the week before.”

Southern already was down one defender with safety Tamaurice Smith out with an injury, then lost two more defensive starters on back-to-back plays early in the first quarter. Defensive tackle Davin Cotton (knee injury) and Smith’s replacement Jakoby Pappillion (targeting ejection) played on only the first drive.

The Jaguars came up with two fumble recoveries and a fourth-down stop, but those were the exception and not the rule. The Jaguars had trouble pressuring Body consistently. The Jaguars sacked him twice but had only one hurry and one pass breakup.

Rollins said the defensive staff is working to correct the mistakes and get more speed into the lineup to match an offense’s desire to get the ball to playmakers in space.

“We have to find a way to get more athletes on the field so we can get better with speed in space,” Rollins said. “When you play a team that spreads the field from sideline to sideline, we have to find a way to get our athletes in space with a different scheme and personnel packages to get our guys in situations where we can play a speed-and-space game.”

The Jaguars already were moving in that direction by moving safety Brian Jordan Jr. (5-11, 200) to linebacker two games ago. Jordan responded by leading Southern with eight tackles. While Southern came up with two fourth-down stops to help it take the lead, it couldn’t get the final one with under a minute to play.

“We’re going to get better this week,” said Jordan, a junior. “We’re going to make sure we practice hard, get in the playbook, watch film and be ready for Saturday. Everything we did wrong we’re going to fix it.”

Rollins said he doesn’t plan on any personnel changes and hopes to get Cotton and Smith back to improve the quality of the position rotations. The Jaguars will face a different style of quarterback in New Orleanian Skyler Perry, who guided UAPB to a 33-30 victory in Baton Rouge in the spring.

Perry threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 64 yards and two more scores in the Jaguars’ only spring loss. While he’s more of a pocket passer, he showed he can make plays with his feet, including a 31-yard scoring run.

The Lions (1-4) have lost their first three SWAC games after winning the West Division title in the spring.

“All it takes is one guy out of a gap or out of position,” Rollins said. “It’s not all 11, it’s one guy here or there. We have to get everything to fit correctly.

“They’re record doesn’t indicate how well they are playing, a bad break here and there. They have all the pieces to be a very good football team.”

Polls

Southern dropped two spots to No. 9 in both the BOXTOROW HBCU media and coaches polls released Monday. The top five in each poll was identical: Jackson State, North Carolina A&T, Prairie View, Alcorn State and Florida A&M.

Bus trip

The Southern University Quarterback Club is sponsoring a bus trip to the Arkansas-Pine Bluff game Oct. 16. The bus will depart from the F.G. Clark Activity Center at 4 a.m. Saturday. For more information, contact Reginald Jarvis at (225) 939-5906 or rjarvis@yahoo.com.