The Memphis Blues: Jags fall short to Tigers

Junior receiver, Chris Channing, gets taken down by a host of University of Memphis defenders at Liberty Bowl stadium on September 7. Keith Lewis/DIGEST

The Southern University Jaguars football team came into last week’s game looking to put their bad week one performance against McNeese State in the rear view mirror as they welcomed this week’s test: the Memphis Tigers of the American Athletic Conference.

A crowd of 34,487 was on hand at Liberty Bowl Stadium in Memphis, TN to see the Jaguars take on the Tigers in the 1,000th game of the Southern football program. The Jags struck first in the first quarter when junior wide receiver Jamar Washington took a 7 yard run in for the score to cap off a quick five-play drive that spanned 75 yards en route to an early 7-0 SU lead.

Memphis would proceed to go down the field on a drive that lasted less than two minutes which resulted in a field goal, putting Memphis on the board 7-3. After a Jaguar punt, Memphis quarterback Brady White found wideout Antonio Gibson to give the Tigers a 10-7 lead. Later in the 1st quarter, the Tigers would block a punt that Keith Brown would return for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 10 point lead heading into the 2nd quarter.

In the 2nd quarter, Southern would sustain a 17-play drive that amounted to a total of 75 yards that took over 10 minutes off the clock and would eventually result in a 4 yard touchdown pass from Ladarius Skelton to senior tight end Jeremias Houston. Memphis would get the ball and score with ease with a 46 yard touchdown run from Kenneth Gainwell to put the Tigers back up 10 in the second quarter. A field goal from sophomore kicker Martell Fontenot would bring the Jaguars within 7, only for the Tigers to go down the field before the half and extend the lead to 10 at halftime.

The second half is when everything broke loose for Memphis. The Tigers would get the ball to start the second half and proceed to go down the field on a twelve play drive that was capped off with a Kylan Watkins touchdown run from 6 yards out. The bright spot of the third quarter for the Jags came when sophomore linebacker and preseason All- SWAC selection Jordan Lewis got the fumble recovery and ran it all the way back for a 74 yard touchdown.

Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell would shake back and add on two more touchdowns in the third quarter, including a 21-yard touchdown catch to give the Tigers a 48-24 advantage going into the fourth quarter of play.

“We couldn’t get anything going offensively in the second half,” said Southern Head Coach Dawson Odums.

The Tigers would add to their lead with a 10-yard touchdown from freshman running back, Rodrigues Clark. The Jaguars ultimately couldn’t match the offensive output of Memphis as they lost their second straight game of the season to Memphis 55-24.

Despite the loss, Coach Odums noted some positives that he saw as the Jaguars limited turnovers on the afternoon after committing a dismal 5 turnover performance vs McNeese State.

“We played a better game than last week. We didn’t make the same mistakes we made last week, ” said redshirt junior wide receiver Hunter Register, who led the team in receiving yardage on the day .

The Jaguars offense will look to make adjustments after only putting up 90 total passing yards on the afternoon, despite running for 168 yards. “There’s a lot we can build on,’’ said Coach Odums.

The Jaguars will look to improve next Saturday in the Pete Richardson Classic against Edward Waters in the home opener of the 2019 season.

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