By: Michael Hanich | Sports Editor
Week one of the 2019 College Football season has concluded. There is still much to figure out with every team. The South Alabama Jaguars (0-1) went into Lincoln, Nebraska to face the #24 Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-0) with a determined mindset to win. The Jaguars were 35.5-point underdogs to a team whose offense was supposed to be one of the best in the nation. South Alabama’s offense outgained the Cornhuskers 314-to-276 total yards of offense.
Unfortunately for South Alabama, they made too many mistakes with five turnovers. Two of them came from blindside sacks on Jaguars quarterback Cephus Johnson. The Cornhuskers scored only two offensive touchdowns as they beat the Jaguars 35-21.
This loss can be an indication that the Jaguars will play together as a better team as they proceed further in their 2019 season. South Alabama will get a chance to rebound by hosting their first home game of the season against an FCS-team in the Jackson State Tigers (0-1). Last Sunday, the Tigers lost to Bethune-Cookman 36-15.
Jaguars quarterback Cephus Johnson took multiple hits from the Cornhuskers defense last Saturday while either in the pocket or running the ball. This game against Jackson State will bring a bigger role for senior running back Tra Minter. Last Saturday against Nebraska’s defense, Minter rushed for 37 yards on 10 carries.
The offensive line will need to step up after allowing four sacks and nine tackles for loss from a tenacious Nebraska defense. They can be the key unit of the game against the Tigers defense, who allowed 285 total yards from Bethune-Cookman’s offense. The key for South Alabama is to limit their mistakes and play smart throughout the game. The Tigers’ defense didn’t force a turnover from Bethune’s offense. If the Jaguars’ offense doesn’t turn the ball over, they can progress the ball down the field.
The defense for the Jaguars came to play last Saturday against Nebraska. The Jaguars’ defense only allowed 276 total yards on offense from the Cornhuskers. They also kept the Cornhuskers’ offense below 100 rushing yards with 98 yards on 44 rushing attempts. The Jaguars allowed only 2.2 yards per rush. More importantly, the defense contained Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez in the RPO (run-pass-option) plays especially on the edge.
This will be an important task once again for the Jaguars defense as they will be playing another dedicated RPO-style offense of Jackson State. Last Sunday, the Tigers played three quarterbacks that fit into their system. Linebacker Nick Mobley, Roy Yancey, and Riley Cole each played well against Nebraska and they will be needed again against the Tigers.
This game will be very important for the Jaguars going forward. South Alabama can use the game footage of their loss to Nebraska and learn from their mistakes to become a serious Sun Belt Conference contender. Head coach Steve Campbell will be stressing on being efficient in practices if they want to avoid an upset against Jackson State and a 0-2 start to the season.