By: Michael Hanich | Sports Editor
The South Alabama Jaguars came into their home conference game of the season looking to get a good momentum going after their loss to Louisiana-Monroe the week before. Last Thursday was the toughest the Jags played as a ten-point underdog to the Georgia Southern Eagles. The Jaguars had a 17-10 lead with 4:26 left in the game until Georgia Southern forced the game into overtime with 20-seconds left. South Alabama had a few chances to win it but after a turnover in their possession in the second overtime, the Eagles kicked a 37-yard field goal to get the 20-17 win over double overtime over the Jags.
This loss was a huge sting for the team as they were looking to elevate themselves as competitors for the Sun Belt Conference Championship game. The Jaguars did some good things to keep them in the lead through a total of two quarters.
There were times when Jaguars quarterback Cephus Johnson was leading the call and driving the ball down the field. Johnson passed for 194 yards and two touchdowns on eight completions (out of 15 attempts) and no interceptions. He also connected twice in deep passes to wide receiver Kawaan Baker for 75-yards early in the second quarter and to wide receiver Jalen Tolbert for 60-yards in the middle of the third quarter. Those were Johnson’s two touchdowns of the game and Tolbert’s first ever collegiate touchdown.
The defensive line for the Eagles made the Jaguars’ offense one-dimensional by shutting down the run game. The Eagles defense were highly efficient in creating havoc in the backfield by accounting for six tackles for loss and one sack. They held Jaguars running back to only 45 yards on 17 carries as the offensive line could not create any push. Overall, the Jaguars only accounted for four first downs and was three-for-ten on third down conversions.
The Eagles’ offense outgained the Jaguars’ offense in total yards accounted for with 388-to-247 thanks to their triple-option scheme. Among the 388 total yards accounted, 310 of them came from the rushing game. Eagles quarterback Shai Werts led the charge against the Jags’ defense that had very little time to prepare for the complicated offensive scheme due to the short week of preparation. Werts threw for 78 yards on nine completions (out of 17 attempts). His feet did most of the damage against the Jags as he rushed for 102 yards on 20 carries.
The Jaguars’ defense was able to make Georgia Southern’s offense inefficient through most of the second quarter and the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, South’s defense was gassed out and found themselves giving up more yards than usual earlier in the game.
Jaguars middle linebacker Nick Mobley led the team in total tackles with 14. Defensive end Jeffrey Whatley and defensive tackle Gi’Narious Johnson each accounted for a sack and a tackle for loss for South’s defense.The South Alabama Jaguars (1-5) are off this weekend. Their next matchup will be for the Battle for the Belt Trophy against in-state Sun Belt Conference opponent in the Troy Trojans (2-3) in Troy on Wednesday, October 16th in Troy.