Southern will play its final road game of the season when it visits Alabama State at 1 p.m. Saturday. Alabama State is coming off a 48-14 loss at Kentucky.
Southern had a slow start and a sloppy finish, but it was dominant in between. A 28-7 blitz between the early part of the second quarter and the middle of the fourth gave the Jaguars control in their 31-24 win Friday at Texas Southern.
They overcame three turnovers, thanks in part to two takeaways that led to 14 points, including Anthony Balancier’s 10-yard interception return for a touchdown. The defense also contributed a season-high four sacks.
Southern failed to score on two of its four red-zone possessions and converted just four of 12 third downs, though it was 2-for-2 on fourth-down conversions. The Jaguars took advantage of Texas Southern being penalized 10 times for 110 yards.
Justin Morgan left his mark in a variety of ways. In the second quarter, he snuck into a blocking back position in punt formation, took the snap and sprinted 27 yards for a first down that led to Southern’s first touchdown and triggered a 21-0 blitz in less than five minutes. He finished with 53 yards on eight carries as he was used regularly in the wildcat formation.
FINALLY, MORGAN ENDED THE TIGERS’ HOPES OF A DRAMATIC COMEBACK WHEN HE RECOVERED AN ONSIDE KICK AFTER TEXAS SOUTHERN CAME WITHIN 31-24 WITH 1:19 LEFT IN THE GAME.
“Some of these seniors have been here and the most games they have ever won is four. We’ll eclipse that win total this season. My goal is to get this senior class out as a winner and to have them say: ‘We were a part of that change that took place in 2013, and now look at where Southern is.’”
— Dawson Odums, Southern coach
KEEP AN EYE ON
Balancier had one of the biggest plays of the game when he intercepted Homer Causey and ran in for the back-breaking touchdown. Balancier’s score gave the Jaguars a 21-3 second-quarter cushion, and they never relinquished the lead. It was the fifth straight impactful performance by Balancier, who had made double-figure tackles in each of the previous four games.
Southern has the luxury of being able to scoreboard watch Thursday night without detracting from its preparation for Alabama State. Prairie View plays a midweek game at Alcorn State and if it loses, the Jaguars, who have a one-game lead and the tiebreaker over Prairie View, will clinch the Southwestern Athletic Conference West Division with two games to play.