By: Michael Hanich | Sports Editor
Three consecutive road trips can be tough for a college football team. For the Jaguars, the last two of those games were against ranked Sun Belt Conference opponents, including this past weekend. The Jaguars faced #25 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, who had one of the most well-balanced offenses and efficient defenses in the conference. Despite a great week of preparation, the Jaguars couldn’t find a rhythm against the ranked Ragin’ Cajuns. The Jaguars were down early and lost big with a 38-10 score.
The Jaguars were outscored 14-3 in the first quarter and then 28-10 going into halftime. South Alabama was beaten in every phase of the game against the superior Ragin’ Cajuns. Louisiana outgained the Jaguars in total yards accounted for 506-to-268. There wasn’t a huge distinction between the two teams’ talent levels, but there was a difference in the utilization.
The Jaguars defense had problems stopping the Ragin’ Cajuns offense, which kept switching back-and-forth between run plays and passing plays. Of the 506 total yards of offense from the Ragin’ Cajuns, 254 of them came from the rushing game. The Ragin’ Cajuns averaged 6.9 yards per rush against the Jaguars defense. Louisiana’s offense ran several schemes that left the Jaguars unable to react or get to the ball carrier in time to stop the big plays.
The Jaguars’ defense couldn’t account for more than three tackles for loss and one sack in the game. Up until this game, the Jaguars were a highly efficient red zone defense and a unit that was tough to convert against on third downs. The Ragin’ Cajuns were 4-for-5 in red zone scoring situations. Outside linebacker Nick Mobley led the team in total tackles accounted for with 11 and he accounted for an interception off a tipped pass from Louisiana quarterback Levi Lewis. Safety Dewayne Betts accounted for eight total tackles and five solo tackles.
The Jaguars offense could not find many opportunities to get into situations where they can drive the ball. The Jaguars offense found more success in the running game in some situations as they accounted for 123 yards. Running back Terrion Avery took the bulk of the carries for the Jaguars as he rushed for 62 yards on 14 carries. No other rusher, other than Carlos Davis’ six carries, had more than four. The Ragin’ Cajuns’ defense held the Jaguars rushing offense to an average of 3.3 yards per carry. The defense crashed the line of scrimmage as they accounted for seven tackles for loss and three sacks.
South Alabama tried to establish their deep passing game with quarterback Desmond Trotter and wide receiver Jalen Tolbert. The defense for the Ragin’ Cajuns held Trotter to five receptions (out of 12 targets) for 64 yards. South’s other star outside receiver in Jalen Wayne could not catch any of his three receptions as the coverage from the Ragin’ Cajuns’ coverage players was highly efficient. Senior slot receiver Kawaan Baker caught six receptions (out of eight targets) for 43 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter.
The Jaguars look to get their season back on track as they will be back at home at Hancock Whitney Stadium this Saturday. The Jaguars (3-5; 2-3 in Sun Belt play) will host the Georgia State Panthers (3-4; 2-4 in Sun Belt play) this Saturday at 3 p.m. C.T. on ESPNU and 97.1 FM – The Prowl. The Jaguars are a three-point underdog to the Panthers.