South Alabama Stifles Arkansas State 31-3 and the Viewing Experience Was Even More Miserable Than the Score
The game opened with a five-play TD drive from the Jaguars, and that’s all South Alabama needed to beat Arkansas State on a soggy Saturday afternoon in Jonesboro.
Injuries continue to haunt the Red Wolves, with starting offensive lineman Jordan Rhodes out of the game, putting another freshman (this time Aleric Watson) on the offensive line. The result was an offensive display that should be shown to school children as a cautionary tale for not expecting to receive too much enjoyment from life.
“This season will forever live with me for the bizarre happenings going on,” said Coach Butch Jones, referencing the rash of injuries the team has endured.
The offense was not only impotent, but at times a complete catastrophe. The Red Wolves finished the first half with -23 yards rushing (but rebounded to finish the game with -19 yards). The Jaguars recorded 4 sacks and 11 TFLs and forced a fumble out of Johnnie Lang in the fourth quarter. At one point, Blackman accepted a shotgun snap into his own end zone and was dropped for a safety. At the end of the third quarter, a double rainbow appeared over Centennial Bank Stadium, and the Red Wolves commemorated it with a three and out. The team converted 2 third downs the entire game. Pain, thy name is this limp Red Wolves offense!
“When you don’t have explosive plays on offensive, it’s very hard to move the ball,” said Jones. Jeff Foreman’s 48 yard reception was the only explosive play of note for the Red Wolves on Saturday.
The Red Wolves defense, however, didn’t seem to catch the offense’s malaise. Aside from a handful of big plays, Arkansas State played with thud and vitriol, harrying Jag quarterback Carter Bradley for the game’s duration and forcing a 8 punts. The spunky unit’s reward was a litany of quick three and outs from the offense, which managed all of 158 total yards of offense – fewer yards than the Jaguars Ladanian Webb recorded on the ground.
When asked what might of accounted for the difference in competitive fire between the offense and defense, Jones said, “I might have something to do with personalty,” explaining that the offense too often allowed negative plays to dictate the rest of the drive.
“We played 100 snaps, we expect zero touchdowns,” said safety Eddie Smith, seemingly to underscore the defense’s more confident attitude.
Defensive moxie notwithstanding, the game was an ocean of miserable, delivering not a single iota of hope or a sliver of joy for the grim-faced fans who braved the rain.
Red Wolves Jeff Foreman collected 98 yards on six receptions, and kicker Dominic Zvada knocked down a 32 yarder to remain perfect kicking field goals. South Alabama’s LaDanian Webb rushed for 162 yards and three touchdowns, career highs. Congratulations to Webb and his future Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week award.
Photo Credit MINE