By: Michael Hanich | Sports Editor
Last Saturday, the South Alabama Jaguars football had one final test before they started Sun Belt Conference play in week five. The Jaguars traveled to face the UAB Blazers who were looking to become more efficient on offense. The Jaguars were looking to finish out their tough non-conference with a win, but lost to the UAB Blazers (3-0) with a 35-3 score.
There were some areas of the game where Jaguars head coach Steve Campbell felt the team made some good strives but those did not conclude to the scoreboard. Offensively, the Jaguars were bound as they couldn’t find an answer to the aggressive Blazers’ defense. Overall, the Jaguars were only able to account for 190 total yards on offense including 107 from the rushing game. Quarterback Cephus Johnson was able to play efficient running the ball by finding weaknesses in the Blazers. Johnson was able to account for 41 rushing yards on six full carries before having to leave the game with an injury.
Backup quarterback Tylan Morton came in to try to revitalize the passing game. Morton made a few mistakes along the way by staying in the pocket too long thus giving the Blazers defense more time to sack him behind the line of scrimmage. Morton was sacked four times while Johnson was sacked once earlier in the game. Morton threw for 76 yards on five completions (out of 10 attempts). The Jaguars were unable to spark up the run behind a healthy running back in Tra Minter. He was the team’s leading rusher with 43 yards.
The UAB Blazers’ offense started off hot in the first half as they scored 14 points both in the first quarter and in the second quarter. Blazers quarterback Tyler Johnston III found holes in the Jaguars coverage schemes and had great deliveries to his receivers. Johnston threw for 313 yards, three touchdowns, and interception on 22 completions (out of 27 attempts). Johnston only had five incompletions throughout the entire game. Overall, the Jaguars defense allowed 514 total yards from the Blazers offense.
Jaguars cornerback Gus Nave and safety Sterrling Fisher each accounted for an interception. The Jaguars had five players each account for a tackle for loss. Defensive end Rocel McWilliams accounted for four solo tackles, a sack (South’s only defensive sack of the game), and a tackle for loss. Linebacker Nick Mobley led the team in total tackles with 10 total tackles with eight of them being solo tackles. Safety Keith Gallmon led the team in solo tackles with nine. Cornerback Jalen Thompson played very well in lockdown coverage of his assigned Blazers wide receivers throughout the game.
The offensive line for the UAB Blazers were too stout as they kept the Jaguars’ defensive line from creating chaos in the backfield. In the press conference on Monday, both coach Campbell and defensive coordinator Greg Stewart mentioned the lack of penalties and mistakes were promising but there needs to be a better form of execution. Meanwhile, the Jaguars’ offense is taking what they learned through this brutal non-conference schedule and take themselves to an area where they can evaluate themselves. Offensive coordinator Kenny Edenfield mentioned the offense will not change and that they expect to become more efficient as they start conference play.
The South Alabama Jaguars (1-3) will travel to face the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (1-2) this Saturday at 6 pm. This will be the start for Sun Belt Conference play for both South Alabama and Louisiana-Monroe.