By: Michael Hanich | Sports Editor
Ladd-Peebles Stadium is one of the most historic football stadiums in the south and for the city of Mobile. The stadium has hosted many postseason bowl games that have highlighted names like NFL hall of fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson, current Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft in tackle Eric Fisher. The Senior Bowl has also been at Ladd-Peebles Stadium since 1951 and has hosted high NFL Draft picks, Heisman Trophy winners, and future NFL Hall of Famers.
For 11 seasons, Ladd-Peebles Stadium has been the home for the South Alabama Jaguars football. Students, Jags Nation, and the football team have been eager to have their own on-campus football stadium like many other major college football programs. The Jaguars will play in their new on-campus stadium called Hancock Whitney Stadium in 2020. Ladd-Peebles Stadium has brought many highs and many lows of the Jaguars’ football program. Ultimately, the Jaguars leave Ladd-Peebles Stadium with some great moments that have defined their program for the future. Jags Nation will always the memories brought by Ladd-Peebles. Here are the top ten moments for the Jaguars that occurred in Ladd-Peebles Stadium throughout 11 seasons.
1. South Alabama Jaguars win first game as a football program – September 5th, 2009
The South Alabama Jaguars played their first-ever game in Ladd-Peebles Stadium on September 5th, 2009. They faced the Hargrove Military Academy Tigers in front of more than 26,000 fans for their inaugural game. Wide receiver Courtney Smith caught a 60-yard touchdown from quarterback Myles Gibbson for the first-ever touchdown. The Jaguars would go on to win their first-ever college football game with a 30-13 score under head coach Joey Jones.
2. First win as an FBS program – September 8th, 2012
In their first season as an FBS program, the Jaguars knew they would run into some obstacles. It wasn’t until the second game of the season where the Jags would get their first victory as a division one team. That win came at home in Ladd-Peebles Stadium over the Nicholls State Colonels with a 9-3 score. Jaguars kicker Michel Chapuseaux was three-for-four on field goals for the day with those kicks coming from 19-yards, 21-yards, and 34-yards.
3. First win over an FBS/Sun Belt opponent against Florida Atlantic – October 20th, 2012
Six weeks after the win over the Colonels, the Jaguars found themselves in a grudge match against a fellow Sun Belt Conference foe in the Florida Atlantic Owls. The Owls outgained the Jaguars in total yards accounted for with 461-to-359 yards. The main difference was the efficiency of finding the endzone at the right times. The Jaguars scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime. The Jaguars would end up beating their first Sun Belt Conference opponent in FAU with a 37-34 score.
4. Getting to 6-6; 4-3 in Sun Belt play with win over Louisiana – December 7th, 2013
The Jaguars took another huge turn for their program with a dominating 30-8 victory over the Louisiana Ragin Cajuns. South Alabama was up 30-0 by halftime thanks to three field goals by kicker Aleem Sunanon, two rushing touchdowns by running back Kendall Houston, and an interception returned for a touchdown by cornerback Quadarius Ford. This win got South Alabama bowl eligible for the first time in program history. The Jaguars, however, were not invited to a bowl as they finished 2013 with a 6-6 record and 4-3 versus fellow Sun Belt teams.
5. First win over the Troy Trojans – October 24th, 2014
The 2014 College Football season was a special season for the South Alabama Jaguars. This was the year that the Jaguars went to their first-ever postseason bowl game in program history. It was also the season where they beat their in-state rivals in the Troy Trojans for the first time in the three-year Battle for the Belt Trophy. The Jaguars beat the Trojans with a 27-13 score by pounding the ball against the Trojans defense. Running back Kendall Houston rushed for 178 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries and Xavier Johnson rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
6. First win over a ranked team in #19 San Diego State – October 1st, 2016
The Jaguars and the San Diego State Aztecs created a home-and-home series for 2015 and 2016. South Alabama upset the Aztecs in 2015 at San Diego State in overtime. The Jaguars shocked a ranked Aztecs team at home with a 42-24 score thanks to great performances from quarterback Cole Garvin, future Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett, and defensive end Randy Allen. The defense for the Jaguars accounted for 10 tackles for loss against two NFL running backs including one a first-rounder in Rashaad Penny.
7. Became bowl eligible for a second time – December 3rd, 2016
South Alabama needed a win over New Mexico State (3-8) to get their second-ever postseason bowl. The Jaguars encountered a fight from a scrappy Aggies team but South held on to win 35-28 at home by scoring 21-points in the fourth quarter. Running back Xavier Johnson, wide receiver Josh Magee, tight end Gerald Everett, and defensive end Randy Allen all had a senior day in Ladd-Peebles Stadium to remember. Johnson rushed for 154 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. Magee caught four receptions for 135 yards and a touchdown. Everett caught six receptions for 69 yards. Allen accounted for six total tackles, five solo tackles, four tackles for loss, and three sacks.
8. First win for Coach Steve Campbell – September 15th, 2018
It was not easy for the South Alabama Jaguars to move on from their first-ever head coach Joey Jones. The Jaguars’ first win under the Steve Campbell era came in week three of 2018 in the 41-31 win at home against the Texas State Bobcats. Quarterback Evan Orth threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns on 24 completions (out of 33 attempts). Junior running back Tra Minter rushed for two touchdowns. Junior cornerback Jalen Thompson accounted for three pass deflections and two interceptions with one returned for a 55-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
9. Tra Minter and Jamarius Way go off in 2018 finale – November 23rd, 2018
The 2018 season for South Alabama (3-9) ended on a positive note as the Jaguars beat the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers with a 31-28 score. It was a record-breaking night for two offensive stars for the Jaguars in running back Tra Minter and wide receiver Jamarius Way. Minter rushed for 203 yards on 24 carries for an average of 8.5 yards per carry. His 203 rushing yards currently holds the Jaguars’ record in a single game. Way caught six receptions for 141 yards and three touchdowns. Way’s three touchdowns broke the single-game record for most receiving touchdowns until the last game of 2019.
10. Final win in Ladd-Peebles Stadium over Arkansas State – November 29th, 2019
The 2019 season was disappointing for the South Alabama Jaguars for many reasons. The Jaguars had one final chance to finish out 2019 with a positive note. This game was also the last ever home game for the Jaguars in Ladd-Peebles Stadium before they move to their on-campus in 2020. Running back Tra Minter become the first 1,000-yard season rusher in program history by rushing for 106 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Quarterback Desmond Trotter and wide receiver Jalen Tolbert connected for four receiving touchdowns and 144 yards on 5 completed passes. Trotter’s four touchdowns tie a single-game record with Brandon Bridge’s four touchdowns against Navy in 2014. Tolbert’s four receptions touchdowns is now a single-game record. The Jaguars upset the Arkansas State Red Wolves (7-5) at the last minute with a 34-30 score.