ITTA BENA, Miss. –Southern defeated Mississippi Valley State 50-13 in the conference opener for both teams Thursday night in Rice-Totten Stadium.
Southern began its quest for a third consecutive western division crown by topping the Delta Devils after falling to Louisiana Tech less than a week ago.
MVSU found themselves trailing early as the Jaguars led 33-0 after a quarter and a half of action.
Lenard Tillery ran for touchdowns of 10 and 14 yards on the Jaguars’ first two possessions on his way to gaining 91 yards on 15 carries.
Willie Quinn followed his 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Louisiana Tech with a 39-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Austin Howard threw his first touchdown pass of the season, lofting a perfect 28-yard toss to Nico Talbert, then Quinn topped him with an 89-yarder to Randall Menard.
Howard was an efficient 10-of-14 for 150 yards before giving way to Deonte Shorts late in the third quarter. Howard did not throw an interception after throwing two in the opener.
His defense came up with three interceptions as two newcomers — junior safety Nicholas McDonald and freshman cornerback Demerio Houston — had one each and wide receiver Justin Morgan, who just started practicing at cornerback this week, had one.
MVSU’s offense showed some life after Dontrinell Scott replaced Quantavius Peterson at quarterback in the second quarter to cut the lead to 33-7 at halftime and he teamed with Barron for a 34-yard touchdown on the first possession of the third quarter.
But the Devils sent the ensuing kickoff in Quinn’s direction and he ran 90 yards for a doubt-removing touchdown.
Greg Pittman kicked a 36-yard field goal and Shorts’ 1-yard touchdown run made it 50-13 entering the fourth quarter.
Kentarious Pittman led the Jaguars with 11 tackles including 2.5 tackles for loss. Le’ Trey Jones totaled six stops for the Delta Devils.