AR-Pine Bluff v. Southern
By: Dustin Nothnagel
Intern, Louisiana Gridiron Football
In each team’s 3rd SWAC match-up, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (APB) went to Baton Rouge to face the Southern University Jaguars. APB entered Saturday’s game with a 1-3 record overall with a 0-2 SWAC record. The Southern team that showed up Saturday had no doubt that it was going to play the best football it has played all season.
Early in the season, Southern’s biggest issues were roster related, ‘who was or was not going to play.’ After a few position changes on the offensive line and a set depth chart, the Southern players have responded to the criticism. Austin Howard, the freshman QB, is now able to take chances and get the ball down the field. Howard looks to be a better thrower because of the protection provided to him. A lack of big plays no longer haunts the Jaguars’ offense as they were able to score on 4 touchdowns from over 25 yards out. The first big play came on the Jaguars’ first possession with only 48 seconds missing from the clock as Howard connected with Senior WR Reggie Travis who took the pass 79 yards. After a responsive touchdown by APB, Danny Johnson returned the ensuing kick-off 98 yards for the score. The back and forth action continued into half-time, the mid-way point score was 34-21 with Southern scoring 2 late touchdowns to stretch their lead. After half-time, the big plays continued as WR Willie Quinn threw a pass to fellow WR Reggie Travis on a perfectly executed reverse-pass. The Jaguars were able to keep pressing and close out APB 51-36.
Now that this Jaguar team is stable, it is beginning to find some identity as a football team especially on offense. Austin Howard is coming into his own behind a nice offensive line; he is able to get the ball to his play makers, in particular Reggie Travis, and stretch opposing defenses. This Southern football team will be really fun to watch in the upcoming weeks as they delve into more SWAC competition. The Jaguars travel to Alabama to take on Alabama A&M, a SWAC opponent with a 2-4 record.