The Southern football roster boasts 19 seniors. None of those players has had a winning conference record in a season in their time on The Bluff or an overall record better than .500 in a single season.
But with the Jaguars’ (5-4, 5-2 in Southwestern Athletic Conference) 31-24 victory over Texas Southern (2-7, 2-6) Friday night at BBVA Compass Stadium, the Southern seniors secured their first winning season in SWAC play and pulled themselves within one victory of notching their first winning season overall.
The seniors are also one conference victory away from playing in the conference’s championship game held on Dec. 7 in Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
Senior quarterback Dray Joseph, while pleased with achieving his first winning record in his time at Southern, said he has another goal weighing on his mind.
“It’s a great feeling just being able to put wins together,” Joseph said. “The thing is, we haven’t won three games in a row since I’ve been here. You just try to implement that to the guys and just keep reminding them to do the things that we do well, and the thing that we don’t do well, to throw that out and build on something that we do well.”
Texas Southern reaction
On the heels of his team’s 31-24 loss to Southern, Texas Southern coach Darrell Asberry let it be known that he was none too pleased with the officiating in Friday’s game.
“I remember going into the locker room and telling the officials that I don’t mind the flags, just call them both ways,” Asberry said.
Southern was flagged seven times for 49 yards, while Texas Southern was penalized 110 yards on 10 penalties.
“(The officials) called a holding call on a touchdown play of ours, and I’m looking at the film now and am still trying to find the hold,” Asberry said.
“Those kinds of things can break the back of a young team,” Asberry said.
Asberry also voiced his concern over a number of questionable calls that could have been clarify with the use of instant replay, that the SWAC currently does not implore.
“I think this is the type of game where instant replay needs to be invested in,” Asberry said.
“Not the universities, but the conference needs to invest in it because they’re the ones with all the money. If (the SWAC) wants to be Division I, then we need to invest in it.
“The backline judge calls a touchdown that on film clearly shows that the (Southern player) didn’t get in.”
Coleman falls behind
Senior running back Darius Coleman is falling behind the rest of the players at his position, but not of his own doing, Southern coach Dawson Odums said.
Coleman has a scheduling conflict which keeps him out of multiple practices — something many SU upperclassmen deal with.
“Coleman has classes during most of our practices, and he’s not practicing and (the rest of the running backs) are practicing,” Odums said. “It’s hard for coaches to put him in and rely on him.”
Sodden finding his groove
After a disappointing beginning to the season where punter Paul Randall Sodden, including a nine punt performance where Sodden averaged just 27.7 yards per attempt in the second game against Northwestern State, the freshman has been a weapon in recent games for the Jaguars’, flipping field position and pinning oppositions deep in their own end.
Sodden has averaged 38.5 yards on nine attempts in the Jaguars’ last two contests, including six of Sodden’s 12 punts on the season placed inside the opposition’s 20-yard line.
“I think you’re seeing the kind of talent that the young man possesses,” Odums said. “Seeing him kick at a high level, you can see the confidence in him growing week in and week out.”
Around the SWAC
Alabama A&M defeated Alcorn State 19-18 after falling behind 15-0 to start the game. The Bulldogs held the Braves out of the end zone late in the game, forcing a field goal attempt by Haiden McCraney, which missed. The win gave Alabama A&M (3-6, 3-4) coach Anthony Jones his 100th career victory. ... Alabama A&M’s win over Alcorn (7-3, 5-2) gives Jackson State (7-2, 7-0) a a one-game advantage over Alabama State (6-3, 6-1), a team Jackson State defeated earlier in the season, in the Eastern Division of the SWAC. ... Grambling notched its first victory of the season with a 47-40 win over Mississippi Valley State (1-8, 1-6). The Tigers (1-9, 1-6) were led by quarterback Johnathan Williams, who totaled 319 yards and seven touchdowns. Williams replaced D.J. Williams as the team’s starer Saturday while D.J. Williams was dealing with “nicks and bruises,” interim coach Dennis Winston said.