Jaguars’ Mike Jones catches several honors

Southern wide receiver Mike Jones has received a series of honors for his performance in the Jaguars’ 31-28 victory at Alabama State last Saturday.

He was named Southwestern Athletic Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week, Louisiana Sports Writers Association Offensive Player of the Week and College Sports Madness’ SWAC Offensive Player of the Week.

Jones had 211 yards and three touchdowns on five receptions and helped Southern overcome the absence of leading receiver Lee Doss, who didn’t play while serving a one-game suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules.

“We had Mike in position to do what he does best, and that’s use his speed,” Jaguars coach Dawson Odums said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. “He’s a track guy; he has tremendous vertical speed, and you saw that. He kept getting behind the defensive backs, and we kept challenging them vertically.”

Jones had scoring receptions of 68, 74 and 13 yards. He shared the SWAC award with Arkansas-Pine Bluff quarterback Benjamin Anderson, who passed for 280 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 192 yards and one touchdown against Grambling.

Doss encourages colleagues

Jones said Doss encouraged his fellow wide receivers to pick up the slack in his absence.

“We met as a group, and Doss said we needed to step it up because he wasn’t going to be there,” Jones said before practice. “He showed good leadership and took ownership of what he did wrong and encouraged us.”

Doss isn’t available for interviews this week.

Menard a recruiting ‘steal’

Another wide receiver who helped mitigate Doss’ absence was freshman Randall Menard, who caught four passes for 89 yards and a touchdown, which came on a spectacular one-handed diving catch while his defender was being flagged for pass interference.

Odums said he and assistant coach Myron Jackson marveled at the play as they watched the game film on the bus ride home from Montgomery, Ala.

“He looked at me and I looked at him,” Odums said, “and I said, ‘We stole this one in recruiting, because he’s going to be very special.’ ”

Menard, who’s from Breaux Bridge, has a touchdown catch in each of the last three games.

First game-winner for Pittman

Place-kicker Greg Pittman said the 43-yard game-winning field goal he hit with 18 seconds remaining last Saturday was the first such opportunity he has had.

The closest he had previously was a 40-yarder during his junior season in high school, which would have forced overtime.

“I thought I hit a good kick, but it got blocked,” Pittman said of the high school miss. “It was devastating. There was a lot of pressure, everything was on the line and it was homecoming, so there were a lot of people in the stands.”

Pittman said film review revealed that the holder tipped off the snap count by opening his hands just before the snap, which allowed the defensive line a head start and excessive penetration.

But there was no such problem Saturday.

“It was a great snap and a great hold,” Pittman said. “I’m just glad I was able to help the team get a victory we really needed.”

Pittman had missed wide right on a 39-yard field goal in the first quarter, but, Odums said: “You never would have known it when he kicked the game-winner.”

Military Appreciation Game

In addition to honoring 15 seniors for their final home game Saturday, Southern also has designated the game against Clark Atlanta as its Military Appreciation Game.

“Each season, you want to find your home game closest to Veterans Day and do something to highlight the very important contributions of the veterans and servicemen to the individuals freedoms we enjoy,” Southern Athletic Director William Broussard said.

The Southern Army ROTC has provided Southern camouflage caps for Jaguars players and staff to wear Saturday.

Marcus Cox, a professor of history at The Citadel who got his master’s degree from Southern, will serve as honorary captain for the game.

Some 20-25 Southern Army ROTC alumni will attend the game — as will several members of the 2003 football team, the last group of Jaguars to win a SWAC conference title.

SWAC title game info

Southern will be the visiting team for the SWAC title game against Jackson State on Dec. 7 at Reliant Stadium in Houston. The home and visiting team designations flip-flop by division each year.

The Jaguars don’t know when their ticket allotment will arrive, but other ticket info and details about the event can be found at swacfootball.org.