Photo | Mike Kittrell
“It’s a challenge to bounce back from a game like that on a short week with a young team where our culture’s not established. Obviously, after this game [Texas State loss] everyone associated with this team — it’s going to take a total team effort to go get a win against Georgia Southern. Everybody in that building ought to expect to go beat Georgia Southern … That’s the only way you’re going to win that football game. You have to respond with your work starting [Sunday], taking care of bodies with no complaining or any of the extracurricular stuff. You just have to work and find a way to win a football game.” — South Alabama head coach Kane Wommack
“I thought they did a nice job working our boundary. They worked some comebacks against us on the offense on the scrambles. We said it coming into the game, the whole thing was about their quarterback. The quarterback scrambles and the quarterback keeps opened some things up in the run game because we were trying to protect our corners a little bit, and we did a poor job of that. Offensively, we gave up too many silly pressures. We had some shots downfield where we didn’t take care of business. At the end, I felt we were so inconsistent in the run game that an outcome like that is inevitable.” — Wommack on Texas State’s offensive success in the second half
“They started picking up on a couple of our plays. To be a great team you need to jell together in times like this, and I’m the first one to say I have to play better.” — South Alabama LB Jamal Brooks
“We know we have to pick it up [this] week. It’s a very disappointing loss. We made some mistakes on the field, but we’re going to correct them.” — South Alabama CB Darrell Luter Jr.
“Adversity hit us, so we had to find something deep within us to keep fighting each play one play at a time.” — Luter on the Jags’ defense having to spend a lot of time on the field in the second half.
“It’s very disappointing, it hurts. We had momentum, and we just lost it. We just have to get back to work.” — Jags’ RB AJ Phillips
“I had to be patient and wait my turn, and when my name was called I was ready to go. That’s what we do in the running back room. When it’s your time you have to step up and lead.” — Phillips on getting the opportunity to contribute against Texas State, his first appearance of the season
Another new helmet decal
South Alabama’s football team is leading the nation in helmet decal changes this season, and fans of the team seem to like the different looks that have been offered. Last week in the Jaguars’ game at Texas State, the look was similar to the previous game against Louisiana with a more white-on-white design. The exception being that on the left side of the helmet was a drawing of SouthPaw, the Jags’ mascot, while on the right side of the helmet was the word “JAGS” in the team’s signature font, in white with red trim around the lettering. The helmets matched the white jerseys worn by the team against the Bobcats. Previous helmet decals this season have included tributes to Mobile native Hank Aaron, the victims of the 9/11 attacks and the USS Alabama battleship. Perhaps the Jags have another helmet design planned for Thursday’s game against Georgia Southern at Hancock Whitney Stadium.
Lots of contributors at RB
Injuries have played a role in the situation, but South Alabama has used several players as ball carriers in its rushing attack so far this season. As a team, the Jags have rushed for a total of 665 yards in five games, an average of 133 yards per game and 3.3 yards per rush. Kareen Walker leads the way with 208 yards on 53 carries in three games. He has four touchdowns. Terrion Avery, in five games, has 156 yards and one score on 49 carries; Bryan Hill, in three games, has 149 yards and three TDs on 44 carries. A.J. Phillips made his first appearance last week, scoring twice in 19 carries and collecting 74 yards. Caullin Lacy has eight carries for 39 yards. Safety Keith Gallmon has 38 yards on one carry — a fake punt attempt — and quarterback Jake Bentley has 7 yards on 29 carries but two TDs. South Alabama ranks seventh in the 10-team Sun Belt Conference in rushing offense.
Ranking by the South Alabama defense in three different categories among Sun Belt Conference members. The Jaguars are ranked as the top team in the league in red-zone defense, opponents’ first downs and third-down conversion defense. In the red zone, the Jags have allowed opponents to score just 10 of 18 opportunities and have come up with three interceptions and a fumble recovery. As for first downs, the Jags have allowed just 83 in five games. On third-down conversion tries, opponents are successful just 21.2 percent of the time.
With Thursday night’s game against Georgia Southern, home games South Alabama will have played this season. That leaves the Jags with only two more home games this year after this week’s game — Saturday, Oct. 30 against Arkansas State and Friday, Nov. 26 against No. 15-ranked Coastal Carolina.
Victories South Alabama has produced against Georgia Southern, Thursday’s opponent, in seven previous tries. That would also be the same number of victories the Jaguars have managed against Texas State in games played in San Marcos. The Jags are 0-4 there.
Wide receiver Jalen Tolbert’s national ranking in yards per reception. He is averaging 21.76 yards per catch this season. He also ranks No. 8 nationally in receiving yards per game (108.8), No. 13 in receiving yards for the season (554) and is tied for No. 62 in receptions per game (5.0). He’s No. 1 in receiving yards per game and tied for fourth in receptions per game in the Sun Belt Conference.
South Alabama’s rank (out of 10 teams) in the Sun Belt Conference in penalty yards per game. The Jags are averaging losing 71.4 yards per game because of penalties called against them.
Touchdown receptions by wide receivers for South Alabama through the Jags’ first five games. That came last week when Jalen Tolbert hauled in a 12-yard pass from Jake Bentley in the first overtime period of the 33-31 four-overtime loss at Texas State. In all, South Alabama has four TD receptions, the others by tight end Lincoln Sefcik, tight end Trent Tyre and running back Kareem Walker.
Total tackles for the season for Wy’Kevious Thomas, South Alabama’s leading tackler heading into the Georgia Southern game. Thomas also has two sacks, three tackles for a loss, two quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery. Yam Banks is No. 2 on the list with 22 total tackles, including two tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles. Keith Gallmon has 21 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss and one interception. As a team, the Jags have 15 sacks and 32 tackles for a loss while picking off seven passes and recovering four fumbles.
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