The aftermath of the first week of the college football season usually features extremes. Either extreme excitement over blowout and last minute wins, or tremendous panic over heart breaking losses and uncharacteristic performances.
Normally I would say there is no room for overzealous reactions and proclamations to the outcome of any contests because there is a long way to go. However, many SWAC schools didn’t do themselves any favors, while others took a much needed step in the right direction.
Southern might be the second worst team in the SWAC. I know, I said just a few days ago the Jaguars would improve in 2011 after a horrific 2-9 campaign under Stump Mitchell last season. If suffering a 33-7 loss against Tennessee State is any indication, then it will be another long year in Baton Rouge for the Jags.
Here is how SU’s first five drives of the game ended; Interception, punt, punt, punt and fumble.
In fact, seven of 12 Jaguar offensive possession ended after three or fewer plays.
“We knew we had to try to keep those guys off the field,” Mitchell told the Advocate. “Anybody who was at this game saw how big their offensive line was. … So we wanted to try to win the time of possession. We knew what we had to do. We just didn’t get it done.”
Southern’s ineffectiveness on offensive obviously didn’t inspire the defense, as the unit allowed 342 yards on the ground and 512 total yards of offense to the Tigers.
The blowout loss probably wasn’t the worst thing to happen to Southern Saturday. The famed Human Jukebox marching band missed the John Merritt Classic after its bus broke down just across the Tennessee border.
When your school schedules an NAIA opponent like Arkansas-Pine Bluff did there is an expectation of a sure win. Apparently Langston didn’t get that message in upsetting the Golden Lions 19-12.
The Golden Lions outgained Langston in yards 313-246 but were denied points on their first four visits inside the 25 yard line, thanks to a fumble, interception and two missed field goals.
Langston, of the Red River Conference, sent a message on the opening kickoff by executing a perfect onside kick to start the Delta 4 Literacy Classic
“If we won the toss and we deferred, we were going to kick that onside,” head coach Mickey Joseph said after the win. “So, we let them know right away that we wasn’t playing with them – that we was going to use everything in the book to win the football game. We wanted them to start thinking a little bit. We wanted them to start scrambling, and when you do that to a team, you take them out of the game plan right away.”
UAPB certainly got the message.
If you are Jackson State head coach Rick Comegy, you can’t be pleased with your offensive line. Yes, the Tigers beat Concordia (Ala.) 42-2 Saturday afternoon, but starting quarterback Casey Therriault was running for his life pretty much the entire game due to the turnstile that was the offensive line.
Therriault, who led the SWAC in passing last season, only was able to muster 218 yards in the air and just a single touchdown pass. The ground game wasn’t much better tallying just 59 total yards.
True freshman quarterback D.J. Williams in his first collegiate start might have silenced a lot of critics by going 16-of-24 for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns versus Alcorn State in Grambling’s 21-14 win at the Port City Classic.
On the other sideline Brandon Bridge (“Air Canada”) was grounded by a stingy Grambling defense that limited Bridge to 17-of-25 passing for 175 yards.
“I said all along, the most important thing is to ground Air Canada,” head coach Doug Williams told the Shreveport Times. “I think the defense did a tremendous job. The only time he got a big play off was when he got outside the pocket and the end went inside. The defense did a tremendous job containing Air Canada.”
Here are highlights from Alabama State’s 41-9 throttling of Mississippi Valley State.
My pick for SWAC Player of the Week: Alabama A&M running back Kaderius Lacey
The bruising running back toted the ball 29 times for 116 yards and touchdown in the Bulldogs 21-20 loss versus Hampton in the Chicago Football Classic.
Quote of the Week:
“I’m the goat right now,” said Alabama A&M kicker Chance Wilson, who had his potential game-winning kick against Hampton blocked as time expired. “It was a good snap, good hold and good kick. I heard it hit the pad and I knew they had blocked it.”
Some 4,911 attended the Jackson State home opener. I guess word that a football game was in town didn’t spread among the masses or that Concordia wasn’t an interesting enough opponent for the fans to get excited about.
Week 1 Report Card:
Jackson State: B-
Scoring 42 points while giving up just two against a tomato can was great. But shoddy offensive line play stood out.
Grambling State: A
D.J. Williams proved for one game he belongs as a collegiate starting quarterback.
Alcorn State: C
The Braves played the SWAC Western Division favorites tough, but were turned away on their final drive.
Mississippi Valley State: F
Same old stuff just a different year.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff: F
The Golden Lions lost to an NAIA school. Enough said.
The Jaguars were outclassed and outmatched in every facet of the game against Tennessee State.
Prairie View: F
Allowing 42 first half points against Bethune Cookman on national TV was embarrassing.
Alabama A&M: D
Everything went right for the Bulldogs building up a 17-0 lead against Hampton. However, costly special team mistakes was the bug-a-boo in the end.
Alabama State: A
I know their opponent were the Delta Devils, but the Hornets were dominant on the road.