Cardinals suffer season's first loss
Sept. 10, 2011
MOBILE, Ala. - Lamar University's football team scored its first touchdown in eight quarters of play against South Alabama on Saturday afternoon in Ladd Peebles Stadium.
By the time redshirt freshman quarterback Jeremy Johnson hooked up with split end J.J. Hayes for the score with 2:11 remaining in the game, however, it was of little consequence. The 26-yard strike merely served to reduce the final margin of defeat to 30-8.
South Alabama ruled over the Cardinals for the second year in a row by dominating with a crunching running game and an efficient passing attack, both coupled with the Jaguars' ever-so-familiar stingy defense, which blanked the Cardinals 26-0 in Beaumont last season.
"You have to give a lot of credit to South Alabama," said Lamar coach Ray Woodard of the Jaguars who have won all 19 of their games since starting their football program during the 2009 season. "They are a good team, and they came out prepared to play in all phases of their game."
Running backs Demetre Baker and Kendall Houston, quarterback C.J. Bennett and receivers Bryant Lavender and Corey Waldon gave the 2-0 Jaguars the same kind of offensive balance the 1-1 Cardinals are still seeking with only one game remaining before they must begin Southland Conference play for the first time since the 1989 season at Southeastern Louisiana on Oct 1.
Baker carried the ball 13 times for 82 yards and scored on an 11-yard run in the second quarter, while Houston, who rushed for a career-high 164 yards against the Cardinals last season, had 43 yards on 13 carries, including a 4-yard touchdown smash to start the Jaguars' scoring parade.
As a team, the Jaguars piled up 21 first downs to Lamar's nine, rushed for 205 yards to the Cardinals' 115 and passed for 144 yards to LU's 123.
Bennett, a redshirt freshman who threw three interceptions in the Jaguars' 20-10 season-opening victory over West Alabama a week ago, completed nine of 14 passes for 144 yards without a pick. He had touchdown throws of 10 yards to Waldon and another 10 to Jereme Jones.
The Jaguars' other score came on Jordan Means' 22-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.
"I'm frustrated in the fact we had too many penalties (11 for 94 yards) against a good team, especially with the kickoff that went out of bounds to start the game," said Woodard. "We made some other costly mistakes, too.
"We were having to stack a lot of people in the box because we needed to stop the run, and we had a few miscommunications on coverages that allowed them (the Jaguars) to bust a couple of long passes on us."
Junior DePauldrick Garrett, who scored a school-record four touchdowns in the Cardinals' 58-0 season-opening win over Texas College last week, managed 56 yards on 18 carries this time, but his longest run was a 7-yarder.
Senior Andre Bevil, who passed for 2,013 yards for the Cardinals last season, had a second-straight subpar performance, completing six of 18 attempts for 97 yards.
Hayes snared three passes for 79 yards for Lamar, but no other Cardinal had more than one catch. Senior Marcus Jackson, making his first appearance of the season after sitting out the Texas College game with an injury, gained 18 yards on his lone reception.
"Our defense got worn down in the first half, because they spent so much time on the field due to their long and sustained drives."
The Cardinals denied the Jaguars on their first two possessions and forced them to start their third at the 4-yard after Kollin Kahler's 42-yard punt was downed inside the 5-yard line.
The Jaguars shook off their unfavorable field position, however by grinding out a 13-play, 96-yard drive for the game's first score. Biggest plays were passes of 18 yards to Lavender and 10 yards to Gardiner from Bennett and a pair of 11-yard first-down runs by Baker.
The payoff came on Houston's 4-yard smash up the middle with 12:42 remaining in the second quarter. The ice-breaking drive consumed 5:39.
After the Cardinals failed to get a drive going, the Jaguars moved briskly to the game's second score, covering 60 yards on four plays that required only 1:58. Benntt completed it by zipping a 10-yard pass to Waldon, who was wide open deep in the end zone.
Baker followed the efficient blocking of the right side of USA's offensive line to an 11-yard TD run that made it 20-0 Jaguars with 2:03 left in the first half. The scoring drive covered 64 yards on eight plays and lasted 3:42.
Bennett had big passes of 37 yards to Waldon and 18 yards to Lavender to keep the drive alive. Jordan Means' extra point attempt failed when it struck the right upright.
Baker had 65 of his yards on 10 first-half carries, and Houston had 42 yards on 12 totes. As a team, the Jaguars netted 85 rushing yards in the first two quarters to the Cardinals' 40 ground yards.
Bennett enjoyed a productive first half, completing eight of 12 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown. Lavender snared three first-half passes for 41 yards, while Waldon had two for 47 yards and Kevin Helms two of 36.
The Cardinals managed only three first downs in the first half to the Jaguars' 14, and the Cards had a 64 yards of total offense to the Jags' 219.
Bevil passes of 18 yards to Marcus Jackson and 45 yards to J.J. Hayes moments after the second-half kickoff had the Cardinals on the verge of getting back into the game after they advanced to a second-and-goal at the Jaguar 1-yard-line.
The opportunity was wasted, however, as Bevil fumbled the ensuing snap, and Enrique Williams recovered it for the Jaguars. Still, the Cardinals got points out of their effort as Asim Hicks and Chad Allen tackled Baker in the end zone on the next play to record a safety.
After a short Cardinal punt and an 8-yard return, the Jaguars were left with only 34 yards to negotiate for their fourth touchdown. They negotiated it in four quick plays with Baker getting the biggest chunk with a 17-yard blast up the middle on first down.
Upon reaching a third and 3 from the 10-yard line, Bennett and Jones teamed on the 10-yard pass that put the Jaguars up 27-2 with 3:56 left in the third quarter.
Backup quarterback Myles Gibbon led the Jaguars on their 63-yard, 11-play drive to their final score. The 6-foot-2 sophomore from Montreal, Quebec peeled off keepers of 16, 12 and 12 yards, and third-string running back J.J. Keels had a 20-yard run.
When the push stalled at the 5-yard line, Means kicked a 22-yard field goal to make it 30-2 Jaguars with 12:07 remaining.