e_SDLqWe believe we’re going to have (as large) — if not a better — crowd than we had in the stands tonight. We’re going to need all the support for the Jags to take over first place.” Dawson ODUMS, SU interim football coach
If the attendance figure for Southern’s 34-7 homecoming win over Texas Southern looked low, it’s because it was.
SU’s initial estimate of 18,719, which was provided to the media shortly after the game, was revised Sunday by Athletic Director William Broussard to 25,400, making it the largest crowd at A.W. Mumford Stadium since a 55-23 win over Fort Valley State on homecoming in 2009.
Broussard’s number came via the following calculation: the west bleachers were at 90 percent capacity (13,500), the east bleachers at 75 percent (7,500), the north end zone was sold out (3,000), there was overflow from the end zone to east side (400) and more in the suites and on the sidelines (1,000) — a number that was certainly boosted by the enormous entourage following boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Broussard took responsibility for the lower figure, saying it was likely because of a limited vantage point from the press box, as well as poor communication on attendance in suites, overflow and gameday walk-up sales.
It wasn’t the first time SU has run into issues with attendance. Its first home game against Mississippi Valley State was reported as 7,788, then later changed to 13,289. In addition, the figures maintained by the school’s ticket office do not include students, who account for several thousand seats per game.
Numbers aside, the Jaguars were able to feel the difference.
Linebacker Anthony Balancier, whose mom attended Southern, said the attendance looked like the crowds he heard about SU drawing in the 1990s and early 2000s, when the Jaguars were frequently among the nation’s leaders for attendance and averaging more than 20,000 per game.
SU hasn’t averaged more than 19,000 since 2005, but its two revised totals from this season place the Jaguars at 19,345.
And the team is expecting another big total for next Saturday’s home game with Arkansas-Pine Bluff, when the Southwestern Athletic Conference Western Division lead will be at stake.
“We believe we’re going to have (as large) — if not a better — crowd than we had in the stands tonight,” interim coach Dawson Odums said. “We’re going to need all the support for the Jags to take over first place.”
Mr. Berry’s wild ride
Wide receiver Mike Berry has certainly made a name for himself as Southern’s big play threat in recent weeks, scoring touchdowns of 25 and 60 yards against Jackson State and a 75-yarder at Alcorn State.
He was at it again Saturday, with a 67-yard catch-and-run that stretched SU’s lead to 27-0, where he had to stretch with one hand to tip the ball back to himself and make a juggling catch. But Berry said the tough catch wasn’t because quarterback Dray Joseph was off the mark.
“I really took a bad angle, and Dray threw it to the route I was really supposed to take,” he said. “I just reached out there with one hand and tried to catch it, and that’s what I did.”
Berry said he ran his route at too narrow of an angle toward the left sideline, where the correct route would have allowed him to catch the ball smoothly in stride. Still, after regaining his balance, he was able to outrun the TSU defense to the end zone.
“The only thing going through my mind was to catch it and get as much as I could,” he said. “I thought the safety had a better angle on me than he did, and I just took it to the house.”