Jaguars recall win that got away at Alabama A&M

Southern traveled to Louis Crews Stadium to take on Alabama A&M last season and walked away with a disheartening defeat.

With the Jaguars leading by seven late in the game, the Bulldogs moved down to the Southern 7-yard line. Quarterback Deaunte Mason hit receiver Montarious Smith for a touchdown with 30 seconds left, capping a 73-yard, 12-play game-tying drive that sent the contest into overtime.

Southern regained the lead and struck first in overtime when Dray Joseph found Rashaun Allen for an 8-yard touchdown. But kicker Matt Hill’s extra-point attempt missed, leaving the door wide open for a Bulldogs victory.

Alabama A&M eventually moved to the Jaguars’ 1-yard line, converting a fourth down play in the process, before Mason punched it in with a run up the middle.

The Bulldogs clinched it with Chance Wilson’s extra point, winning 24-23 and sending Southern home with a bad taste in its mouth.

“We’re really worried about this year,” Southern coach Dawson Odums said. “You’ve got different players. Some of the players that were in that game last year are not here his year. So what we’re trying to get the football team to understand is that today is not like it was at the same point in time last year.

“Today is a different day. They’re a different football (team) and we’re a different football team from last season.”

Speaking of special teams ...

As last year’s game proved, special teams often serve as a pivotal role in the outcome of games.

This season, the Jaguars’ special teams have been ... well, eerily similar to the rest of the Southern squad this season: up-and-down.

The Jaguars began the season by having their first two extra-point attempts blocked against Houston — one was negated by a penalty — but sophomore kicker Greg Pittman has since converted 13 of 14 extra-point attempts. Pittman also connected on a 22-yard field goal against Mississippi Valley State and missed a 42-yarder against Jackson State in his only two field-goal attempts on the season.

Pittman’s 22-yarder against Valley is the Jaguars’ lone field goal conversion on the season. Southern ranks ninth in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in field goals made.

The Jaguars rank first in the SWAC in kick return average at 22.1 — thanks in large part to receiver Willie Quinn’s 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Northwestern State. Southern’s kick coverage ranks sixth in the conference.

But the Jaguars rank dead last returning punt returns, averaging a mere 0.7 yards per return.

Freshman punter Paul Randle Sodden struggled in the early portion of his first collegiate season, specifically in the Northwestern State game, when Sodden averaged just 27.7 yard per punt.

Yet Sodden has come on strong of late, raising his average to 33.9 and had arguably his best game against Jackson State in which he averaged 39.0 yards on three punts.

However, Southern remains last in the conference in punting average.

Compliance issues

Sophomore offensive tackle Corey White has officially been ruled ineligible for the 2013 season, Odums said.

White had not suited up for the Jaguars after transferring from LSU two seasons ago.

The Jaguars continue to await ruling on receiver Bradley Brown.

‘Think Pink’

The Southern football team will show its support for October’s breast cancer awareness month as players and coaches will don pink attire for at least the Jaguars’ next two games.

The SU logo on the side of the helmet will be pink. Players will wear other pink accessories such as towels, gloves, hats and wristbands.