The replay gods were good to Southern on Saturday night as the Jaguars hung on to beat Alabama A&M in a key Southwestern Athletic Conference game.
Three visits to the replay booth ended up in Southern’s favor in the 35-31 homecoming victory at A.W. Mumford Stadium.
In the first quarter, Southern challenged the spot by officials on a fourth-down completion from Aqeel Glass to Jordan Bentley. After originally awarding the Bulldogs a first down at the Southern 30-yard line, replay officials moved the spot back 1 yard, giving Southern possession and stopping a promising drive.
Later in the first quarter, the Jaguars dodged a bullet when defensive back O.J. Tucker was flagged for targeting after a big hit on Bulldogs wide receiver Terrell Gardner, who had caught a pass.
After reviewing the play, replay officials overturned the call, and Tucker was not ejected or penalized for the hit. Southern later forced Alabama A&M to pun on that drive.
In the third quarter, Jaguars quarterback Ladarius Skelton lofted a 31-yard scoring pass to Hunter Register, and it was ruled a touchdown on the field — but officials called for a review to make sure. Register caught the ball in the front corner of the north end zone and went out of bounds just after he passed the pylon.
Fourth-down blues (and joy)
Southern nearly cost itself a victory because of failures in its goal-line offense. The Jaguars had a chance to go up 14-0 on their second series of the game with a first-and-goal at the Alabama A&M 8-yard line. Skelton nearly scored on a third-down scramble but was stopped at the 1. Freshman running back Jarrod Sims was then stopped for no gain on a fourth-down carry into the middle of the line.
In the third quarter, after the Bulldgos tied the game at 14, Southern had a first-and-goal at the 4. Skelton got 3 yards on first down but he and Nelson were stopped for no gain on the next two carries. On fourth down, Skelton tried to quarterback sneak while taking a snap under center, but Alabama A&M’s line pushed him back for a 1-yard loss.
Southern converted three other tries, including a fake punt on which upback Jadarion Daivs got 4 yards on fourth-and-2. On Southern’s game-winning drive, Skelton picked up 12 yards on another crucial fourth-and-2 play with an option keeper.
Southern had its largest crowd of the season for homecoming drawing in 20,344. The homecoming queen was Alacia Nicole Brew. ... Southern was flagged for holding on a successful Martell Fontenot PAT in the third quarter and had to re-kick what amounted to a 30-yard field goal. ... Seven original members of the Dancing Dolls were honored in the fourth quarter in celebration of their 50th year.
Odums improved his record to 55-33 overall, 48-18 in SWAC games and 7-1 against the Bulldogs. It was the 20th meeting between the schools, and the Jaguars are now 12-8 in the series. Alabama A&M joined the SWAC in 1998. Southern has won six consecutive games against Alabama A&M and eight of the last 11. It was Southern’s 610th overall victory and 370th league win. The Jaguars are 610-367-11 overall and 370-200-11 in SWAC games.
Southern’s game captains were tackle Jodeci Harris, guard Jeremiah Abby, defensive back Benjamin Harris and safety Montavius Gaines.