Southern Texas Southern Football

Texas Southern wide receiver AJ Bennett (4) scores a touchdown in front of Southern University cornerback Kriston Davis (17) during a college football game in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (Michael Ainsworth)

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Southern defense had its bell rung early in Saturday's 24-0 loss against Texas Southern, giving up 14 points on the Tigers' first three possessions — but the defense rebounded late to give the Jaguars a chance.

Southern allowed 271 yards in the first half and only 81 in the second half as its offense frantically tried to play catchup. In the end, it wasn’t nearly enough.

TSU quarterback Andrew Body, who torched Southern last season’s victory, hit seven of his first eight passes or 47 yards on the opening possession. He capped it with a 9-yard touchdown to AJ Burnett, setting the tone for the night.

“You can’t come out and wait for someone to throw the first punch for us to fight back,” Southern linebacker Derrick Williams said. “We came out flat and they came out swinging. We can’t wait for them to put up 14 points for us to start retaliating, putting our foot down and playing Jaguar defense.”

Southern did make a stand, forcing a missed field goal after an interception set up the Tigers at midfield. But Body later drove his team 75 yards in 10 plays to make it 14-0. He then put the jaguars behind the 8-ball with a 53-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-0 in the second quarter.

Southern held the Tigers to three points after the break. he Jaguars sacked Body three times and held him to 225 total yards this time.

Body had 423 yards in last year's win over Southern.

“He’s a good athlete, but everything they did today, we went over plenty of times in practice with repetition,” Williams said. “We ran through their playbook, and they didn’t do anything we didn’t go over.

“It’s a long season, a lot of football to play. We’re going to keep our heads high day by day and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Sack attack

Jordan Lewis picked up his third sack of the season, giving him 37 in his career. He needs six sacks to pass James Cowser of Southern Utah for the all-time FCS lead. Cowser had 42½. Trey Laing and Jalen Campbell also had sacks for Southern.

Heavy formation

Southern showed some offensive creativity on fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line in the first quarter. Offensive lineman Traveon Garrett-Newsome lined up at fullback in front of running back JJ Sims, who got the ball. But Sims was stopped a yard short, and an instant-replay review confirmed the call.

Striking gold

Southern broke out its all-gold uniforms, including helmets, with Columbia blue numerals on the jerseys. The last time the Jaguars went all gold was the 1999 Bayou Classic. They had not worn gold helmets since 2000, assistant athletic director Rodney Kirschner said.

Last dance?

Saturday’s game is the last between the schools under the current contract in Arlington, and according to sources with knowledge of the deal, it’s not likely to be renewed under the current terms. The first two games were in the Cotton Bowl as part of the State Fair Classic. The game will either move to an alternate neutral site or return to campus on a home-and-home schedule.

Number-crunching

This was TSU’s second consecutive victory in the series, which Southern leads 49-22-4. ... The teams have played 75 consecutive seasons. ... Dooley dropped to 4-1 against the Tigers. ... Clarence McKinney’s record at TSU improved to 5-22.

Captains ahoy

Captains for the Jaguars were DE Jalen Ivy, LB Jordan Lewis, QB BeSean McCray and OG Bernard Childs. Texas Southern won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff.