By: Michael Hanich | Sports Editor
Last Saturday was a special night for the South Alabama Jaguars football program and the fans. History was made as the Jaguars hosted the Tulane Green Wave in their first-ever game in Hancock Whitney Stadium, their new on-campus stadium. The Jaguar started the game off with a strong lead but were unable to finish the fourth quarter as they lost 27-24.
The limited crowd was excited and loud while the atmosphere of the game with the new stadium was electric. The Jaguars were feeling all week after their big 32-21 upset at the Southern Miss Golden Eagles last week. While the Jaguars continued that momentum for a majority of the game, the Green Wave were able to readjust better with a quarter and a half left to play.
Photos by: Lauren Barksdale
Both teams’ defenses were stout in the first quarter as neither team scored until the second quarter. The Jaguars were first on the scoreboard as second-string quarterback Chance Lovertich connected with wide receiver Kawaan Baker for a 34-touchdown. Lovertich took over at quarterback due to some potential shoulder concerns. After Tulane was able to counter with a touchdown but missed the extra point, the Jaguars were able to take a 13-6 lead into halftime thanks to a 13-yard touchdown pass from Lovertich to wide receiver Jalen Wayne.
The Jaguars outgained the Green Wave in total offensive yards accounted for 323-to-219. South Alabama was able to drive through the mid-range passing game and some variation of the run. The Green Wave defense excellently suppressed the deep outside passing game despite four new starting defensive backs in a five-man unit.
South was able to extend their lead at the beginning of the third quarter with a two-yard touchdown run from running back Carlos Davis and a 49-yard field goal from Diego Guajardo to make the score 24-6. It was on the next drive for the Green Wave where they took complete control of the game on offense and defense. The Green Wave were able to drive the ball down the field to capitalize with a 13-yard run from Cameron Carroll.
In the fourth quarter, the Jaguars were unable to extend drives due to the heavy pressure of Tulane’s defensive line and blitzing linebackers. The offensive line, who didn’t allow a sack versus Southern Miss, allowed five sacks and 12 tackles for loss from the Green Wave defense. The Jaguars allowed two sacks in the third and fourth quarters in crucial moments. Whether it was Trotter or Lovertich at quarterback, the pocket would completely collapse.
The defense for the Jaguars was gassed as they had to go back out with limited rest due to the short drives from South. The Green Wave accounted for 176 total yards on offense in the second half as they were finding cracks in the short-to-mid-range passing game.
The Jaguars finished the game with 386 total yards on offense accounted for, with 96 of them coming in the second half. Of those 386 yards, 65 of those came from the rushing game. They were also 8-for-17 on third-down conversions.
Lovertich threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns on 18 completions (out of 27 passing attempts). Kawaan Baker caught seven receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown and Jalen Tolbert caught six receptions for 114 yards. Weakside linebacker Nick Mobley led the team in total tackles accounted for with nine. Safety Tre Young accounted for six total tackles, one tackle for loss, and two pass breakups. Defensive end Maurice Strong Jr. accounted for two tackles, one tackle for loss, and one fumble recovery. The defense for the Jaguars only accounted for four tackles for loss against the Green Wave.
The Jaguars (1-1) are off this week but will be back on Thursday, September 24th as they will host the UAB Blazers (1-1) in Hancock Whitney Stadium.