If he has spent much time studying film of Southern’s most recent two games, Alabama A&M quarterback Deaunte Mason must be licking his chops.
Ben Anderson torched the Jaguars for 296 yards through the air and a game-high 75 on the ground to lead Arkansas-Pine Bluff to a resounding 50-21 victory. De’Auntre Smiley then exploded for 398 yards passing and 170 yards rushing, accounting for five touchdowns as Prairie View pulled away late in a 49-29 win.
Now comes Mason, who earned first-team All-Southwestern Athletic Conference honors in the preseason.
Like the other two, he’s dangerous with his feet as well as his arm.
“I think they would try to run the football on us considering how many yards we’ve given up in that department,” said Southern interim coach Dawson Odums, whose Jaguars face A&M at 1 p.m. Saturday in Huntsville, Ala. “Probably try to get the quarterback on the edge since that’s been a struggle for us.”
Mason is part of a two-headed monster in the veteran Alabama A&M backfield that includes fellow senior Kaderius Lacey at running back.
Lacey leads the SWAC in rushing with 736 yards on 130 carries. He became A&M’s career rushing leader in a loss to Alcorn two weeks ago.
Mason hasn’t disappointed either after being named second-team All-SWAC at the end of his junior season.
He has connected on 125 of 205 passes for 1,551 yards with 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He also has rushed for 226 yards and eight scores.
For four straight weeks during a 6-0 start, Mason was named the SWAC’s Offensive Player of the Week.
QB Douglas suspended
Southern sophomore J.P. Douglas, who split time with Dray Joseph at quarterback last season, has been suspended indefinitely from the football team.
“The matter is being handled between the university’s legal counsel and Mr. Douglas’ representation,” Southern spokesperson Chris Jones said Wednesday in a text message.
“There will be no official comment from the athletic department.”
Douglas lost a preseason battle with Joseph, the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s leading passer, for the starting job behind center after the two shared time there last year.
This year, he has seen action in five games off the bench, completing 16 of 29 passes for 176 yards and one touchdown. Last year, he played in 10 games, connecting on 50.3 percent of his passes for 1,282 yards and 10 scores.
Tickets for the 39th annual Bayou Classic and the Battle of the Bands & Greek Show are on sale now. Tickets for both events are available through Ticketmaster, at the New Orleans Arena box office, the Grambling ticket office, the Southern ticket office or at mybayouclassic.com.
The Bayou Classic will kick off at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 24 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
On the recruiting trail
Whether he earns the Southern coaching job on a permanent basis probably won’t be known for several weeks, but Odums said he and his coaching staff are doing their best to make an impression on potential recruits.
“We’re out and we’re on the phone, but it’s hard to convince a young man to the unknown,” Odums said. “We’re honest with them. We let them know that this is our situation. We’ll probably get a decision here at the end of the season. If I’m chosen to be the head coach here, we’ll go into overdrive.”
Odums was promoted from defensive coordinator after Stump Mitchell lost his job two games into the season.