Kane Wommack’s debut as the Southern Alabama football head coach was a memorable one, as the Jaguars beat Southern Miss 31-7 on Saturday at Hancock Whitney Stadium.
Jake Bentley pitched for two touchdowns and ran for another in his first game with the Jaguars, and South Alabama’s “Swarm D” forced five turnovers. The Golden Eagles hit a touchdown in the first quarter, but didn’t accomplish much else in the game.
Here’s a quarter-by-quarter look at how the Jaguars beat the Golden Eagles:
Both teams went three-and-out and kicked off their opening possessions. Southern Miss scored the game’s first touchdown with 3:55 left in the quarter, as Trey Lowe ran from 1 yard to make it 7-0.
South Alabama got two first downs and kicked again with 44 seconds left in the quarter. Southern Miss faced a third and a short as the quarter ended 7-0.
Set of keys: AJ DeShazor of southern Alabama stopped Lowe short on the 4th and 8th, but was called up for targeting after reviewing the replay. This gave the Southern Miss the top spot in the U.S. 15, and the Golden Eagles scored three games later.
Key player: Lowe, who ran eight times for 30 yards and completed two of three passes in the quarter.
South Alabama led for the tying touchdown at the 12:27 mark, with Jake Bentley throwing 1 yard to tight end Trent Tire. That made the score 7-7.
Southern Miss fumbled in the ensuing kickoff, setting up the Southern Alabama touchdown. Bentley threw five yards at Kareem Walker at 10:29 am, making the score 14-7.
Southern Miss then went to three and out, but South Alabama missed the ball on the Golden Eagles’ 15 with 7:34 remaining. The next three possessions ended in puntings and the Jaguars ran out of time to end the half with a 14-7 lead.
Set of keys: Southern Alabama’s Yam Banks snatched the ball back from Southern Miss Camron Harrell’s kickoff at 23, with Devin Rockette recovering. The Jaguars scored five games later to take the lead.
Key player: Bentley finished the half 9 for 11 for 137 yards and two passing touchdowns.
South Alabama scored in the first possession of the second half, generating 75 yards for the score. Jake Bentley’s 1-yard quarterback made it 21-7 at 11:48.
Southern Miss then went to three and away, and South Alabama added more points. Diego Guajardo’s 48-yard field goal took the score to 24-7 with 9:51 left in the quarter.
South Alabama’s Shawn Steele intercepted the next possession, but the Jaguars turned the ball away with 5:54 left in the quarter.
Southern Miss led to South Alabama 4 late in the quarter, but returned the ball to the downs. The Jaguars faced fourth place from their own 6th at the end of the quarter.
Set of keys: Bentley hit Caullin Lacy for 28 yards on the first play of the half, setting off the seven-play, 75-yard run for South Alabama to build a two-goal lead.
Key player: Jalen Tolbert of South Alabama finished the quarter with four receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown was taken off the board because he went out of bounds on 2.
South Alabama kicked off the opening play of the fourth quarter, and Southern Miss led into the Jaguars’ red zone. However, the Golden Eagles missed the ball with 11:28 to go.
Southern Alabama then went three-and-out and kicked. Southern Miss also went threesome and away, repelling the ball with 7:32 to go.
South Alabama then kicked the ball at 5:25, with Southern Miss in return with 4:35 to go. The Jaguars kicked off again with 2:14 remaining, and a turnover led to the last points of the night.
Davyn Flenord passed a Trey Lowe pass and drove 45 yards to the end zone with 44 seconds left, making the score 31-7. The Golden Eagles then knelt on the ball to end the game.
Set of keys: Southern Miss led to Southern Miss 10 early in the quarter, but fumbled for the ball to kill any chance of a comeback.
Key player: Flenord, whose pick-six counted for the only points of the quarter.