Two weeks into the 2017 College Football season some teams are doing well with 2-0 records. There are few indications that the current record of a team will reflect the rest of the season. The South Alabama Jaguars (0-2) are one of those teams. Their record will not reflect upon how they will handle the next ten games.
The Jaguars lost their first game to the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford 47-27. The Jaguars couldn’t get positive results against a Rebels team who flourished under Quarterback Shea Patterson. After that, South Alabama lost their first home game against the #11 Oklahoma State Cowboys of the Big-12 conference 44-7 score. The Jaguars defense had a hard time defending the pass against Heisman Trophy hopeful QB Mason Rudolph.
This is a different type of dilemma for the South Alabama Jaguars last season they had one of the biggest upsets in College Football history with a 21-20 win at Mississippi State. That win fueled the Jaguars all-throughout the season and got them into a bowl game. These two losses will not make the Jaguars’ season more difficult but they cannot afford to lose five more games, or they will lose their eligibility for a bowl game.
Now that the hardest games for the Jaguars are out of the way, they will be looking to get their first win of the season against the Alabama A&M Bulldogs (0-2). Fans of the Jaguars are excited that the team will be playing other opponents of equal or less talent. Even with these two losses (which was expected), the Jaguars still believe they can get to a 2nd consecutive bowl game this year. South will need to address some key mistakes to do so.
The most noticeable change is Dallas Davis getting the start for the Jaguars against the Bulldogs in place of Cole Garvin, who injured his ankle last week against Oklahoma State. Garvin won the starting Quarterback position in the fall while Davis was still recovering from his shoulder surgery last January. It took time for Davis’ shoulder surgery to recover, but Garvin had an amazing camp to win the starting position. Davis will make the Jaguars offense more diverse with his dual-threat ability.
The offense, in general, will strive for more efficient drives and finish them with touchdowns. The Offensive Line has given up 5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss through the first two games. Look for them to block more efficiently as well as creating a better run game. The Running Backs for South have been shut down from the tremendous defenses of the Rebels and the Cowboys.
Last season, RB Xavier Johnson rushed for 831 yards and 10 touchdowns. So far this season, Johnson has only rushed for 69 yards on 16 carries. Tra Minter is the other Running Back for the South Alabama Jaguars. He has rushed for 93 yards on 19 carries. Whoever gets the majority of carries will be competing against more lenient defenses, featured by the Bulldogs and when the Jaguars start Sun Belt Conference play.
The Jaguars defense will also look to improve they have allowed (averages 45.5 points per game) accounting for more pressures and sacks. DT Tyree Turner, FS Jeremy Reaves and former Louisville Cardinals transfer DE Finesse Middleton each have a sack. For the season the Jaguars’ have a total of 3 sacks. Reaves is the team’s leading tackler with 16 tackles, and he has accounted for 2 TFL’s and a pass deflection. Look for first-year starting Cornerback Jalen Thompson to ease into his starting role after two rough games against Ole Miss and Oklahoma State. Thompson is the team’s returning interception leader from last season with 4 picks. The Jaguars will host the Alabama A&M Bulldogs on Saturday night at 6 p.m.