It’s hard to imagine an offense being more optimistic than Southern’s coming off a blowout loss.
The Jaguars had four turnovers, including two that were returned for touchdowns in last week’s 66-21 loss to New Mexico, but they were still able to spot rays of sunshine.
“There are always positives,” quarterback Dray Joseph said. “You can’t come out and hang your head down because we lost a game. This is the first one, and we have 10 more. We’re going to come out to practice and correct our mistakes.”
Beyond a chance to fix what went wrong, this week was also an opportunity for Southern to build off the happier moments against the Lobos.
Like the 320 yards of offense, the third-down-conversion rate (54 percent), the three touchdowns on four red-zone trips and Joseph’s 63-percent completion rate — four numbers that would have sounded just fine without the lopsided final score.
After watching film and thinking back on the game, it really came back to those four nightmarish plays:
- Joseph is sacked and the fumble is returned for a score;
- receiver Mike Berry fumbles on a likely third-down conversion;
- Joseph’s pass into double coverage is tipped and picked off; and
- Joseph is intercepted for a touchdown.
“I learned that we can be an explosive football team,” coach Stump Mitchell said. “We were our own worst enemies. … The score definitely should not have been what it was. I don’t know if we were ever going to be able to stop them defensively, but if we didn’t have the penalties that we had or the missed assignments and turnovers that we had offensively, I thought it should have been a shootout.”
Take away those mistakes and a few key drops by receivers, and the scoreboard may have read a bit differently, but the Jaguars know the coulda-woulda-shouldas only go so far.
After all, removing those plays would mean wiping out a large chunk of the game, a fact Mitchell acknowledged by saying the offense supplied both the best and worst moments of the day.
Wide receiver Charles Hawkins said there was “no excuse” for the way the team played at UNM, but he also came away with at least a few happy thoughts.
“I took some positives,” he said. “I made a couple of plays when I was tired, so that was a positive. Lee (Doss) did the same thing, and Dray made a couple of plays, too. And we didn’t give up as many sacks as we normally do (two), so we made plays when we were very winded and very tired.
“This week (against Mississippi Valley State) is going to be a different level of competition, so it should be perfectly fine this week.”
HOF enshrinement Saturday
Southern will induct 11 new members into the SU Sports Hall of Fame this weekend, with a class that includes eight-time NFL Pro Bowler Aeneas Williams, basketball star Bobby Phills (posthumous), former NFL cornerback Maurice Hurst and longtime assistant trainer John Ned (posthumous).
Edgar Fullwood, Roderick Hill, Edward Jordan, Raymond Lockett, Woodrow Thompson, Micheal Washington and Herman Weston round out the class.
The banquet will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday in SU’s Cotillion Ballroom.