By and large, the whipping Southern took at New Mexico didn’t include injuries, but there’s one the Jaguars will be keeping an eye on.
Starting strong safety Levi Jackson was one of many players to leave the field during SU’s 66-21 loss to UNM, but unlike his teammates suffering from cramps, Jackson’s was more serious.
The senior from Baton Rouge said the Lobos were using cut blocks — low blocks aimed at taking out a defender’s legs — and after being on the receiving end of one, he felt pain between his knee and calf muscle.
Jackson was in and out after the injury, and he knew something was wrong when he tried to play in the second half.
“After halftime, I came back in,” Jackson said. “I was hobbling around, so I just came out.”
Jackson said an X-ray of his knee did not show any conclusive information, and he was due for further evaluation after Monday’s practice, which he watched from the sideline while his teammates worked out in helmets and shorts.
In Jackson’s absence, D’Mekus Cook is filling in alongside free safety Mychal Bell.
Cornerback Kevin King, whose injured ankle landed him on crutches and then in a walking boot at the end of preseason camp, was back at practice and made an interception during team drills.
SU’s secondary was largely untested Saturday, as the option-heavy Lobos threw just 10 passes for 70 yards, but their second touchdown came on a 16-yard pass early in the second quarter.
The Jaguars aren’t likely to face a potent aerial assault Thursday, Sept. 13, against Mississippi Valley State, either.
In a 20-19 loss to Concordia this weekend, the Delta Devils managed only 105 yards on 13-of-19 passing.
On 3rd downs, red zone
For all of the things Southern’s offense did wrong on Saturday, it got some right, too.
Where the Jaguars converted just 32 percent of third-downs and 62 percent of red zone opportunities last season, they were markedly better in both categories against the Lobos.
SU moved the chains on seven of 13 third downs (54 percent) — with drops that would have converted two others — and scored touchdowns in three of four trips to the red zone.
The problems in those areas came on defense, as UNM was 6-for-10 on third down and 5 of 5 in the red zone.
“So there were some good things that happened,” coach Stump Mitchell said. “Most of them were offensively, because we’re a veteran team, but there were some bad things that happened too, and most of those things were offensively, because we turned the ball over.”
Southern turned the ball over four times, with two interceptions and two fumbles. One of each was returned for a touchdown.