A look back at the Red Wolves’ 49-31 victory over South Alabama on Friday.
No doubt the stars of the night. The defensive line took control of the game from the beginning. And they closed it out at the end, keeping USA quarterback Cody Clements from scrambling and running from pressure.
They took over the game early in the fourth, starting with Cody Brown’s interception. That was followed by Ja'Von Rolland-Jones forced fumble that was recovered by Chris Stone in the end zone and then Justin Clifton’s interception return for a score.
For the night the A-State limited the Jaguars to 29 yards rushing. Even if you take the away from yards for sacks (56), USA did not come close to a 100-yard rushing night. Rarely does that formula win.
USA finished with 302 yards offense. The Jags had 273 at the half.
For the night the Red Wolves had 6 sacks and forced 5 turnovers, 3 interceptions. The unit scored twice and set up a short field for another score in the critical fourth quarter. South Alabama was just 3 of 14 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth (the Clifton interception return) down.
The Special team
Outside of a 9-yard punt that Luke Ferguson shanked late in the second quarter and a failed fake punt on the first series it was a good night.
Ferguson was part of one of turning points in the game when kicking off from the A-State 20 after an unsportsmanlike call on Tres Houston’s touchdown his kick reached the 13 and Xavier Woodson, who led ASU with 13 tackles, made the tackle at the 27. A chance for the Jags, clinging to a 31-28 lead, was eliminated by strong special teams play.
Six of the 9 kickoffs were touchbacks and the Jaguars averaged just 19 yards per return. Ferguson ended the night with a 35.6 yard per kick average on punt and had three kicks inside the 20, including one inside the 10. None of the kicks were returned.
And the placekickers added to a perfect night, hitting all 5 extra points and 2 field goals. The Red Wolves have not missed an extra point (25 of 25) this season and a 6 of 7 on field goals.
The Red Wolves’ offense had the least impressive showing on the game, but still managed 345 yards offense, which has become commonplace with the program.
The most alarming stat was just poor performance on and seven possessions where no first downs were made and for the night A-State was 3 of 15 on third down and 0 of 2 on fourth down.
In the Red Zone the Red Wolves were 5 of 6, the one time getting stopped on fourth down inside the 2. Fredi Knighten’s fumble at the goal line was a big loss but that drive still produced points.
The new star, Warren Wand, continued to shine (139 yards total offense – 80 rush, 7 receiving and 47 on kick returns) while one of the established ones, J.D. McKissic, had just four touches and all were positive plays, a 23-yard run, 2 receptions for 27 yards and a two-point conversion.
Another bright side was no interceptions and just the one lost fumble although there were 4 in the game.