BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Unfortunately for Southern, part of Saturday night's 51-27 loss to Northwestern State once again stemmed from off-the-field issues and there are still questions at the quarterback position.
Uncertified players this week included starting defensive backs DeAndre Woodland and Kevin King. Both were pulled out of the tunnel just minutes before the game, which factored into Demons quarterback Zack Adkins finished 30 of 35 passing and completed 19 consecutive passes at one point.
"The frustrating part is just trying to make sure you keep the focus where it needs to be," said head coach Dawson Odums. "That was a tough challenge for us today. We played with a lot of freshmen, true freshmen, redshirt freshmen. That was the hand we were dealt. We tried to do the best we can with it."
"We really can't control the elements of who plays and what happened at the start of the game," said senior linebacker Brian McCain. "Next man up. Whoever is going to be that starting 11 have to go out and play to the best of their ability. That's why we prepare. That's why we have depth at those positions, so next man up."
"I know you practice guys all week and then you get dealt a curveball. You make the adjustment and you try to put the guys in position to be successful and we came up short today and that's really all that we try to do as coaches," Odums added.
It doesn't get any easier for Jaguars, as the they begin SWAC play at Prairie View A&M next week, which also has a high-powered offense, and the quarterback battle for Southern remains unsettled.
Redshirt freshman Deonte Shorts and true freshman Austin Howard have both had some success and put points on the board, but they both also struggled with turnovers.
"Giving teams the short field doesn't matter if they're a good team or an average team or a bad team, you're going to make it difficult on yourself when we turn the football over. You know that makes it tough, real tough. But, if our guys still try and compete, everything we still got to play for is in front of us. We didn't perform well today, but at the end of the day, it is what it is," Odums explained.
"It's just, really, we just really got to start clicking together and coming together," said junior wide receiver Justin Morgan. "Coming together as a team. That way we can just go forward in the season."
"It's a mix of everything, you know. You always want to protect your house and whatever you do, you want to protect your house. You want to go out and defend what's yours and today, we didn't do a very good job of that. And so, it's definitely something that's lingering on our minds. It's something we have to fix moving forward," McCain added.
Despite the loss, the Jaguars said they're keeping their heads held high and won't let it hurt their momentum heading into SWAC play on the road next weekend.
SU RB Tyre Bracken scores on a long TD run. PAT no good. (NSU 51, SU 27 - 4th Qtr.)
NSU K Chris Moore kicks a 24-yard FG. (NSU 51, SU 21 - 4th Qtr.)
SU QB Deonte Shorts scores on a 2-yard TD run. (NSU 48, SU 21 - 3rd Qtr.)
SU QB Deonte Shorts completes a 83-yard pass to WR Justin Morgan for a TD. (NSU 48, SU 14 - 3rd Qtr.)
NSU QB Zach Adkins throws to WR Ed Egan for a TD. (NSU 48, SU 7 - 3rd Qtr.)
NSU RB Garrett Atzenweiler runs for a TD. (NSU 41, SU 7 - 3rd Qtr.)
NSU QB Zach Adkins passes to Cody Jones for 10-yard TD. (NSU 34, SU 7 - 2nd Qtr.)
NSU K Chris Moore kicks 31-yard FG. (NSU 27, SU 7 - 2nd Qtr.)
NSU QB Zach Adkins throws to Shakeir Ryan for 9-yard TD. (NSU 24, SU 7 - 2nd Qtr.)
SU QB Austin Howard passes to Willie Quinn for a 79-yard TD. (NSU 17, SU 7 - 1st Qtr.)
NSU DE JeMarcus Marshall recovers a fumble by Southern QB Deonte Shorts to score a TD. (NSU 17, SU 0 - 1st Qtr.)
NSU K Chris Moore makes 46-yard FG. (NSU 10, SU 0 - 1st Qtr.)
NSU QB Zach Adkins throws to WR Tuff McClain for 6 yard TD. (NSU 7, SU 0 - 1st Qtr.)