Southern is celebrating a monster night by its starting quarterback. Jaguars opponents have been doing the same all season.
While Ladarius Skelton appears to have broken out of his slump, the Southern secondary remains in one. In five Southwestern Athletic Conference games, the Jaguars have allowed 1,529 yards and seven touchdowns.
The latest to light up Southern defensive backs was Alabama A&M quarterback Aqeel Glass, who threw for 356 yards and four touchdowns, while completing 29 of 37 passes. Glass, who entered the game as the league’s No. 1 passer, threw only eight incompletions. Southern was unable to force a turnover of the second consecutive game.
Coach Dawson Odums expressed concern after Saturday’s 35-31 victory against the Bulldogs. A combination of a poor pass rush and coverage issues had him referring to his team as living on the edge. A&M’s last snap came at the Southern 26-yard line and resulted in the Jaguars’ second sack on the last play
“You have to look at what you’re doing and who’s doing it,” Odums said on Monday’s SWAC coaches teleconference. “That’s what we’re working on. We’ll try to come up with the best plan possible.
“It comes down to confidence. To play in the secondary you have to have swagger. Regardless of what happens you can’t lose your swag. Confidence goes with swagger. It doesn’t matter if you make a play or drop a ball, you got to keep that swag and play the next play. We’re just going to try and get better.”
The Jaguars have played most of the season without the cornerbacks they hoped to start the season with. Glenn Brown has been unable to play because of an eligibility issue, and Robert Rhem was lost for the season to a shoulder injury in the season opener at McNeese State.
Tamaurice Smith and Jordan Eastling have filled in, and Odums said reserve Datrel Brumfield got a start at cornerback last game.
“He’s doing a good job’ ” Odums said. “He stepped in and made some plays. We’ll see how he continues to develop. We have some guys in there who don’t have a lot of game experience., We have to get them coached up and give them an opportunity to make plays. Brumfield rose to the challenge on Saturday.”
In addition to having only two sacks, Jaguars defensive backs were credited with only one pass breakup, that by safety Montavius Gaines. Southern’s pass rush had zero quarterback hurries.
Player of the week
Skelton’s performance earned him LSWA Player of the Week honors among state colleges and nationally by BOXTOROW national for his performance against Alabama A&M. Skelton rushed for 238 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries and completed 16 of 27 passes for 198 yards and two more scores, including the game winner with 28 seconds left.
Skelton’s 238 yards rushing against Alabama A&M gives him 567 and pushes him past Devon Benn for the team lead. Benn has 556.
The Jaguars go out of conference this week against 0-7 Virginia University of Lynchburg in the home finale at A.W. Mumford Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.
The Dragons are led by quarterback Jeffrey Richardson, who was 27 of 41 for 253 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-23 loss to Mississippi Valley State. VUL also lost to another SWAC foe, 51-0 to Prairie View.
Southern will hold its annual senior day activities and honor 15 seniors playing their final home game. Southern has won its past six senior day games and is 6-1 under Odums.
The Jaguars moved up from No. 6 to No. 5 in the BOXTOROW HBCU coaches top 10 poll and stayed at No. 7 in the media poll, both released Monday. Florida A&M held onto the No. 1 spot in both polls with 18 first-place votes in each, while Alcorn State stayed at No. 2 and got two first-place votes in each ranking.