Southern had such an easy time with Texas Southern early in a 34-7 win in A.W. Mumford Stadium on Saturday evening, the Jaguars were able to do some experimenting.
With an offense that had been struggling to find much consistency all season, SU broke the game open in the first half, out-gaining the Tigers 259 yards to 95 and getting a chance to rotate some fresh faces into the lineup. The most notable was backup quarterback J.P. Douglas, who came in for two drives during the second quarter with Southern up 13-0.
On his first drive, Douglas was stalled by holding and false start penalties that left him facing second-and-25. His next opportunity was more fruitful, as the Jaguars took over at the Texas Southern 39-yard line following D’Andre Woodland’s 35-yard interception return.
Douglas hit Bradley Coleman for 16 yards on the first play, then found Mike Berry for 13 more a play later. He then ran for 7 down to the 3, and he finished off the drive with a third-and-goal run across the goal line.
That was exactly what coaches had hoped to see from Douglas during his limited time. Despite starter Dray Joseph’s solid form of late, they wanted to make sure Douglas stayed fresh with game reps, and after not playing against Florida A&M or Alcorn State, he got his shot during homecoming.
“What we try to tell our second-team guys is to prepare yourself as if you’re a starter, because you never know when you’re name’s going to be called,” interim head coach Dawson Odums said. “We may dial it up anytime, so just be ready when we dial your name.”
Southern also experimented on the offensive line, rotating in Terrell Lee at center for Aaron Hall, bringing on Eric Janeau for Anthony Mosley at right tackle and Brandon Thibodeaux for Dwayne Houston at right guard. Backup receiver William Waddel also got his shot in the fourth quarter, and he turned it into a 46-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
Southern’s kicking duties have been a back-and-forth affair, and after being limited to a single kickoff a week earlier, Matt Hill got his shot.
And he delivered.
Hill hit two short first-half field goals (from 19 and 22 yards) and connected on all four extra point tries to move to 11-for-11 on the year. His two field goals were Southern’s second and third on the season.
Greg Pittman, who hit a 32-yard field goal against Alcorn State but had another field goal and extra point blocked, was held out of Saturday’s game with an injury, meaning Hill had the job to himself. Pittman won the starting job in fall camp, then missed the Jackson State game for disciplinary reasons. Hill was limited last week for his own disciplinary issues.
Southern may have had its request to wear white jerseys declined by Texas Southern coach Darrell Asberry, but the Jaguars didn’t let that stop them.
When the teams came out for warm-ups, both were in white jerseys and pants — a look Southern had wanted in order to match the homecoming theme of “Unite in White.”
But as the home team (which normally wears a dark color), the Jaguars had to clear that with TSU, and Southern director of media relations Chris Jones said Asberry chose not to allow it even after the schools’ equipment managers had reached an agreement.
Not about to have its homecoming plans completely spoiled, Southern trotted out for team stretches and warm-ups in all white, matching their opponents, before going back into the locker room and changing into Columbia blue tops.
“From what we understand, our coaches told us they didn’t want us to wear white,” receiver Mike Berry said. “They wanted to wear white. So they just told us to wear white to mess with them.”
Linebacker Anthony Balancier said the fashion statement didn’t get into the Tigers’ heads, but he was happy with the outcome.
“I would rather wear the white jerseys, but you know, that’s why we put that whoopin on them like we did, because we wanted to wear the white jerseys,” he said.
Fans enjoyed a performance by the SU alumni band, accompanied by alumni cheerleaders. ... Alumni Rickie Weeks (of the Milwaukee Brewers) and Sonja Norwood (mother of the recording artist Brandy) were in attendance. ... Improvements at A.W. Mumford Stadium were on display, including a new banner, resurfaced track and Columbia blue paint job.
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