South Alabama WR Jalen Tolbert
Photo | Courtesy of the University of South Alabama
Kane Wommack didn’t like what he saw from his South Alabama football team last Saturday night in a 33-31 four-overtime loss at Texas State. His Jaguars held a 24-10 lead in the second half but allowed what he called “self-inflicted wounds” — penalties, fumbles, unforced errors, the inability to close out the game — to allow the Bobcats to come back and claim the Sun Belt Conference win.
Asked his thoughts after the game, Wommack didn’t sugarcoat the matter.
“I thought we did a terrible job of executing,” he said. “I thought we played without a swagger and a demeanor. We’ve got a lot to learn from this game, but most of it is how to operate at a high level and expect to go win in that situation. We let their momentum carry us out and we had way too many self-inflicted wounds to win a football game. The truth of the matter — they deserved to win and we didn’t.”
He didn’t stop there. After talking with the team, Wommack elaborated on what he saw from the Jags.
“I think we earned every bit of that loss,” he said. “We played poorly and had bad body language and demeanor. … On top of that, we created penalties for ourselves that gave them more opportunities to score on offense. From our offensive standpoint, we didn’t execute in the most critical situations.
“Yeah, there was some stuff that was bad at the end of the game, but there were so many poor things leading into that moment that we should have never put ourselves in that position. When we did, I felt that there was a sideline that did not expect to win the game and that’s exactly how I feel we played.”
The Jaguars have a quick turnaround with a Thursday night home game against Georgia Southern, a team South Alabama has never beaten. It will be televised by ESPNU. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. at Hancock Whitney Stadium.
Texas State quarterback Brady McBride scored on a two-point conversion run in the fourth overtime period to give Texas State the victory. South Alabama had a chance to tie the game after McBride’s run but failed on a pass attempt. The new NCAA overtime rules state that after two overtime periods, if the game has not been decided, then each overtime period from that point on will include just two-point conversion plays until a winner is determined.
South had a chance to win it in the second overtime. After both teams scored a touchdown and kicked an extra point in the first period, Texas State attempted a field goal in the second overtime that hit the right upright and bounced harmlessly away. All the Jags had to do was kick a field goal to win, but a fumble on the third-down play was recovered by the Bobcats and the teams went to a third overtime where neither team scored.
Texas State scored first on a 57-yard pass play from McBride to a wide-open Javen Banks on the game’s third play from scrimmage. But the Jags scored the next 17 points on an A.J. Phillips 6-yard run, a 37-yard Diego Guajardo field goal and a 1-yard scoring pass from Jake Bentley to tight end Lincoln Sefcik on the same play that failed to score a week ago against Louisiana in a similar situation.
Texas State scored on a 43-yard field goal to cut the South Alabama lead to 17-10, but Phillips returned with a 5-yard scoring run to increase the Jags’ lead to 14 points. With the ball again later, South Alabama looked to make a big play, trying a flea-flicker by handing off to Bryan Hill, who was to take a few steps toward the line of scrimmage, then pitch the ball back to Bentley who would throw it downfield. But a Texas State defensive lineman intercepted Hill’s pitch back and used the turnover to score a touchdown a few plays later. The game’s momentum swung in favor of the Bobcats who would get a 1-yard scoring run from Jahmyl Jeter with 17 seconds to play to tie the game and send it into overtime.
“We just lost,” said South Alabama linebacker Jamal Brooks. “The message in the locker room was clear — we beat ourselves. There was nothing our opponent did that we didn’t expect for them to do. Everything that they did tonight we’ve repped and practiced. It’s on me. I had too many missed tackles; I have to lead the defense.”
Wommack continued, “That’s a tough challenge for a program in Year 1. I mean, we’re going to have to go do our stuff, go get back to work, right? The guys are going to have to learn from the stuff that we didn’t do well enough in this game and then carry into the next game. And that’s a real challenge to be able to do, so we’ve got our work cut out for us as coaches and we’ve got our work cut out for us as players. We’ll see if we’re up to the challenge.”
South Alabama is now 3-2 on the season and 0-2 in Sun Belt Conference games, both league losses coming against West Division opponents. Texas State improved to 2-3 and 1-0 with the win. The Jags have never beaten the Bobcats in San Marcos.
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