The Southern University Jaguars invaded War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock Saturday and took down the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions by a final of 47-40.
The Golden Lions came out matching the Jaguars punch for punch as long as they could, but eventually Southern's talent prevailed.
The Jaguars entered the season with seven players named to either the first team or second team All-Southwestern Conference preseason team. That talent showed throughout the game, as the Jaguars made plays all over the field in all three phases.
Golden Lion starting quarterback Le'Earl Patterson led the offense on a seven-play drive, covering 88 yards on the opening possession of the game. Patterson found his wide-out Paris Mack flying down the left sideline, and they connected for a 33-yard pass and catch for the first touchdown of the game.
It was noted that Southern's all-SWAC quarterback Austin Howard suffered a partially torn PCL in their opening game of the season, therefore his mobility has been limited. Although Howard may have not been able to scramble, he proved that he didn't need to.
Southern running back Herbert Edwards handled most of the ground work with his patient rushing attack. Edwards helped the Jaguars march down to the UAPB 17 yard line on their first drive, where they would convert on an attempted 4th and three. The Jags didn't have to do much to get the first, as the Golden Lions were flagged for jumping offsides.
On the ensuing play, all-SWAC athlete Danny Johnson connected with Dennis Craig on a reverse pass for 12-yard touchdown. Although it was clearly an incomplete pass as the replay was played on the big screen, it was called a touchdown on the field, and in the SWAC, a play can't be overturned by review.
Patterson led the UAPB offense back on the field, and he was effective on the ground and through the air. After Patterson and Mack hooked up for the third time, UAPB running back KeShawn Williams took care of the rest with a 26-yard rushing touchdown.
It didn't take Southern long to answer. Jaguar freshman receiver Jamar Washington had himself a day, and his first catch of the game was a 62-yard touchdown reception on their second play of their second drive of the game.
Just as it looked like a shootout was brewing, the Jaguars' defense forced the first punt of the game after sacking Patterson on second and third down.
UAPB's defense couldn't match the stop by Southern, as the Jaguars punched it in to go up two scores. Jamar Washington hauled in his second big catch of the game to set the Jags up with 1st and goal. On 3rd and goal, Howard hit his all-SWAC tight end Dillon Beard for an eight-yard touchdown to give Southern a 21-14 lead.
The Golden Lions were putting together a nice drive in hopes of stopping the Southern run until they surrendered their first turnover of the game. Williams fumbled on the Southern 29 as Jaguars defensive lineman C. Lunkins forced it.
After that turnover, both teams would force each other to punt. Unfortunately, the Golden Lions didn't force enough punts before the Jaguars would score again.
Edwards set up his blocks well for a 36-yard carry to put the Jaguars in the redzone. Howard then found his wide-out Dontrell Brown for a 15 -yard touchdown pass to go up by 14 points.
Patterson would then throw an interception on the first play of the next possession, and on the return a late hit was called that placed the ball on the UAPB 10 yard line.
Southern got points off of the turnover, as Jamar Washington recorded his second touchdown of the game on a seven-yard pass from Howard.
Late in the first half, the Golden Lions' offense would take a hit when their leader Patterson went down with an injury. Patterson would stay out for the remainder of the game, and Brandon Duncan took over.
Heading into halftime, Southern led UAPB 34-14, and all the momentum was swinging in the Jaguars' favor.
However, that momentum would quickly waiver as the Golden Lions came out of the break and got to Howard to force a fumble. Not only did they force a fumble, but they also hobbled Howard.
Williams would then record his second rushing touchdown to make it a two-possession game.
The UAPB defense would continue to ride their wave of momentum by forcing their second turnover in the third quarter. UAPB defensive lineman Kevin Agee forced the fumble, and Danarius Dooley returned it to the Southern 32.
Golden Lion running back Dante McDonald took a screen pass down to the seven yard line, but they weren't able to punch it in for the touchdown. Instead, they settled for a 24-yard field goal by Jamie Gillan to make it 34-24.
The good news for Southern at that point was their starting quarterback Howard returned to the game.
The next score would come when Howard hooked up with Beard for his career high fifth touchdown of the game.
UAPB's Duncan went on to throw two touchdown passes to Jeremy Brown, but that wouldn't be enough to overcome the wrath of the Jaguars.
Southern freshman running back Devon Benn scored their insurance touchdown on a 46-yard run.
The Golden Lions scored 40 points, but that wasn't enough to top the Jaguars in the end. Patterson finished 13/19 for 154 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Duncan finished 8/17 for 103 yard, two touchdowns and one interception. Williams carried the ball 20 times for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
Southern's Austin Howard finished 22/32 for 252 yards and five touchdowns.