Joseph, Jaguars can’t move ball against Delta Devils
By TERRY ROBINSON
Advocate staff writer
September 30, 2012
A distraught and teary-eyed Dray Joseph lingered outside the Southern University locker room following the Jaguars’ 6-0 loss to Mississippi Valley State on Thursday night at A.W. Mumford Stadium.
The junior quarterback, who was named the undisputed starter after fall practice, and the Jaguars offense had hoped to put on a show in front of their home fans for the first time this season and a national audience on ESPNU.
Instead, the Southern offense was pretty painful to watch in person or on TV as the Jaguars (0-2, 0-1 Southwestern Athletic Conference) suffered the painful loss to the historically hapless Delta Devils (1-3, 1-1).
“Unfortunately for us, it was a bad game, especially when you have a TV audience to play in front of,” said Southern coach Stump Mitchell.
A bad game especially for Joseph, who was unavailable for comment after the game.
Joseph completed 12 of 29 passes for 114 yards with an interception and a fumble. The Jaguars had three turnovers and only 197 yards of total offense.
Joseph was playing without one of his main assets, senior wide receiver Charles Hawkins who was out with a hamstring injury. He was also victimized by poor offensive line protection, penalties and dropped balls.
“(Hawkins) is really the heart and soul,” Mitchell said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have him, and nobody was really able to step up with his leadership ability. We still had dropped balls, and that’s very difficult. Some of our better players had bad games.”
Joseph was off the mark most of the night, but Mitchell said that wasn’t his biggest concern.
“The fact that we don’t hold on to the ball, that concerns me,” he said.
A dropped ball by Southern punter Chase Tuten set up the game’s lone score, giving the Delta Devils the ball at the Southern 3-yard line just before halftime.
It took one play for Trey Bateaste to score for the 6-0 Valley lead.
“Our offense turned the ball over, and we had one bad snap on the punt which allowed them to get the ball down there and score. That’s a tough way to lose a defensive shutout,” Mitchell said.
After a sluggish first half, the Jaguars offense found some life in the second half but was thwarted each time.
Valley took the opening kickoff of the second half into Southern category before a fumble gave Southern the ball at its own 45.
The Jaguars drove 35 yards, highlighted by their first third-down conversion of the game on a run by Darrius Coleman and a 19-yard pass from Joseph to Bradley Coleman. But the drive stalled when Gregory Pittman missed on a 37-yard field goal attempt.
On their next possession, the Jaguars showed even more life, driving 10 plays and 77 yards to the Valley 14 before backup quarterback J.P. Douglas fumbled after an 11-yard run.
After another Mississippi three-and-out, a 39-yard punt return by Virgil Williams set up the Southern offense at the Devils 16-yard line with 7:14 left in the game.
Three plays netted 4 yards. Then, on fourth-and-6, Joseph, under duress, hurled a pass toward the end zone that was intercepted by Jeremy Johnson at the 4, turning back another Southern attempt.
With just over two minutes left, the Jaguars had one final chance, but a penalty and sack hampered that effort.
The discombobulated Jaguars were especially porous in the first half when they had as many total yards (57) as penalty yards (50).
Southern couldn’t get going on the ground or the passing game, totaling 47 yards rushing and 10 yards passing.
Joseph connected only 3 of his 12 pass attempts in the first half and had a fumble.