A review of the game film from Southern’s season-opening 34-28 loss to McNeese State didn’t change coach Dawson Odums' thoughts about the game.
Five turnovers have a way of blotting out everything else, although there were other mistakes along with some good parts.
“I saw it live and it looked the same way — miscues,” Odums said Monday. “Turnovers and untimely penalties, all those things destroy your momentum and puts you behind the sticks. The guys fought to the end. Had the ball bounced a little differently new would have had a chance to win the game.”
Southern’s defensive effort was good enough to win, although that unit produced no turnovers to balance the giveaways by the offense. Southern piled up 29 first downs and scored four touchdowns while outgaining McNeese 342-303. But the Jaguars were helped out with 16 Cowboy penalties for 177 yards, 10 of those flags gave Southern first downs.
Odums cited backup quarterback Bubba McDaniel, defensive end Jordan Lewis and long snapper Kentrell Boyd, who made his first appearance. Caleb Carter led Southern with 12 tackles, seven of them solo stops. The Southern defense allowed McNeese 3.0 yards per carry on running plays.
“Inconsistencies, up and down,” Odums said. “We’ll get some kinks worked out. It was the first game live. One thing about me, I don’t get down and beat our team up about the losses. They made mistakes, we lost the game. It hurts, but you have to figure out what you can do better and work on them. You need to pick up the sense of urgency. Sometimes you can win a game and not learn anything.”
Southern dropped one spot to No. 4 in the HBCU Coaches poll and three spots in the HBCU media top after the first weekend of action.
North Carolina A&T was a unanimous No. 1 in both polls, getting all 19 first place votes from the coaches and all 17 from the media. Bethune-Cookman moved up to No. 2 in both polls while Alcorn State fell to No. 3.
Odums said the Jaguars were banged up but does not know of any player who might miss Saturday’s game at Memphis. Defensive end Tyran Nash, a starter last year who missed all of fall camp, will not play but should be 100 percent for the home opener vs. Edward Waters.
Odums repeated that Ladarius Skelton is still the starter despite two costly fumbles that led to McNeese touchdowns. McDaniel entered the game in the third quarter and completed 11 of 19 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown, and ran for another score. Skelton was five of nine for 104 yards and two first-half touchdowns.
“We don’t have a quarterback issue,” Odums said. “We felt we needed to make a change. He’ll play better. We’re behind him 100 percent. It’s up to the starter to remain the starter. The backup just has to be ready if he gets the opportunity.”
Southern will be facing likely its strongest opponent in Memphis, an FBS school which beat Ole Miss, 15-10. The game kicks off at 11 a.m. at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
The Tigers held the Rebels to 173 total yards and had 10 tackles for loss. The last was a safety to help ice the game. The Memphis offense protected it’s lead by controlling the ball for the last 6:21 after the safety, including a fourth-and-2 conversion.
Quarterback Brady Whitewas 23 of 31 for 17 for 172 yards. Running back Patrick Taylor rushed for 128 to become the school’s No. 3 all-time leading rusher. In preseason rankings, Memphis received six voting points in the AP Top 25 and 24 in the Coaches Poll. The latest polls are due out on Tuesday.
Redshirt freshman Quindell Johnson, who played at Karr, got his first career interception after taking over for La’Andre Thomas who was ejected for targeting. The Thomas ejection occurred in the first quarter so he will be back this week.
Former Tara and East St. John wide receiver Damonte Coxie caught six passes for 44 yards last week. He was the Tigers' leading receiver in 2018 with 72 catches for 1,174 yards and seven TDs.
“What you see is a very good football team,” Odums said. “It would surprise me if they aren’t in the top 25. (About the 11 a.m. kickoff) Not much you can but wake up and go play. We practice in the morning so hopefully our internal clocks will be ready.”
Memphis bus trips
The Southern Quarterback Club bus trip will for the Memphis game will depart at midnight Sept. 6 for the 11 a.m. Saturday kickoff. For more information call 225-939-5906 or 225-931-1000
The Blue and Gold Fan Club trip departs at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6. Cost is $135 per person, including refreshments and game ticket. Friday night stay at a cost of $99 per room, pay direct. For more information, contact Craig Pierre at 225-324-7234.