Week 3: South Alabama

South Alabama (2-0) comes to Carter-Finley Stadium looking to upset NC State in an absolutely huge game for their program.

South Alabama Depth Chart


South Alabama Game Notes

A week after turning the ball over four times in the first half, USA did not commit a miscue in Saturday's 30-8 victory over Lamar. It was the first time since defeating Kentucky Wesleyan on Oct. 2 a year ago that the Jaguars did not lose the ball, and the fourth occasion in the program's first 19 contests that the offense has played turnover-free football.

For the second straight game, the Jags rushed for a total of 205 yards, as their 48 attempts on the ground were just six fewer than the total amount of plays run by the Cardinals. USA has recorded 200-plus yards rushing in four of the last five outings dating back to last season, and has now outrushed the opposition in all but one of its games since first taking the field on Sept. 5, 2009.

The Jaguars allowed LU quarterbacks to complete just 7-of-20 (35 percent) of their pass attempts for 123 yards last weekend, marking the third straight contest that they have held opposing signal callers below a 50 percent completion rate and 125 passing yards. Through 19 games, the USA defense has held the opposition below 200 yards through the air on 12 occasions.

USA scored on its first eight trips to the red zone — reaching the end zone seven times — this season after posting four touchdowns and a 22-yard Jordan Means field goal through the first three minutes of the final quarter last time out; the Jags' final possession reached the LU- 20 before taking a knee on the last snap of the contest. In fact, the USA offense has scored multiple touchdowns in the red zone in each of the last six games dating back to an Oct. 23 24-21 victory at UC Davis last fall.

The Jaguars put together a pair of scoring drives that lasted more than five minutes in the Lamar win, opening the scoring with a 13-play, 96-yard march — their longest since going 96 yards for a touchdown in the victory over KWC — while posting their final points after moving 63 yards in 11 snaps. Not only was it the third time in program history that USA had two scoring drives of 10 or more plays in the same contest, it marked the first occasion that the Jags have had two possessions of five-plus minutes result in points in a game. As a result, USA won the time-of-possession battle after holding the ball nearly 33 minutes against the Cards.

The Jags were 8-of-14 (57.1 percent) on third-down conversions in last weekend's win, collecting a total of 21 first downs overall. It was the first occasion since converting 57.1 percent (8-of-14) of their third downs in a victory over Georgia State on Oct. 30 last fall that they have been successful in the situation better than 50 percent of the time — last year, Lamar limited USA to just 1-of-14 (7.1 percent) conversions in the first meeting between the two schools — while the first-down total was the most recorded by the offense since it had 29 against Henderson (Ark.) State in the next-to-last contest of the 2010 campaign.

Sophomore ILB Enrique Williams was one of three Jags to post a team-high-tying five stops in the win over LU, the third time in the last four games that he has paced the unit in the category. Two of those were for a loss — the first time he has recorded tackles behind the line in back-to-back outings since Oct. 9 and 16 last season — while he also recovered a fumble on the USA-2 for the only turnover in the game.

Demetre Baker carried the ball 13 times for a game-high 82 yards against the Cardinals to lead the squad on the ground in his second career contest. In addition to contributing 41 yards on USA's first scoring drive, the redshirt freshman scored on an 11-yard run with two minutes to go in the opening half to cap a 20-point second quarter for the Jaguars. Through two contests, Baker is averaging 6.4 yards per carry.

WR Corey Waldon caught his first career touchdown pass — in his 17th appearance over the last two-plus seasons — on a 10-yard completion midway through the second quarter, helping the Jaguars double their advantage at the time after the two teams played a scoreless first quarter. The sophomore's other catch, which covered 37 yards on USA's next possession and led to another score, gave him a team-best 47 on the day; it was his first time leading USA in the category.

Jake Johnson matched Williams with five total tackles in the LU game, the third outing in a row dating back to last season that the junior has posted at least that many stops. Johnson — now in his second season with the program — is the only Jaguar with previous experience against North Carolina State, as he came off the bench in Virginia Tech's 38-10 victory over the Wolfpack on Nov. 14, 2009, but didn't record any tackles.

Redshirt freshman C.J. Bennett completed 9-of-14 attempts for 144 yards in last weekend's victory, as he has now completed 50 percent of his throws or better in each of his five starts. The effort included throwing for two touchdowns, the fourth time in his career that he has tossed two or more scores — three of those outings have come since he took over the starting job, as he has eight touchdown passes during that span.

Not only did Jeremé Jones record a 10-yard score on his only reception against the Cardinals, the redshirt freshman ran back four punts for 29 yards as well. Senior tight end Kevin Helms added two receptions for 36 yards — including a 34-yard catch that led to USA's second score, the longest of his career — giving the duo a catch in seven straight outings, the longest active streak on the team. It was the first time that the latter has caught multiple passes since the win over HSU in '10.

For the second straight week, DL Andy Dalgleish was credited with a career-high-tying four total tackles after accomplishing the feat against the Cards — he's led the defensive front in both games this year. It was the third contest in a row that the junior has posted a careerhigh tackle total, while his eight stops in 2011 already match his previous career-high season total first set the Jaguars' first fall on the field.

Senior OL Chris Brunson paced the Jags with nine knockdown blocks in the LU victory, the second consecutive game that he has recorded the highest total on the squad. His 77 percent grade was the best Brunson has earned since he was credited with an 84 percent mark in USA's first meeting with Lamar on Oct. 16 last year, a game he departed with a season-ending injury.

In his second outing as a Jag, Damond Smith doubled his tackle output from the opening week of the season as he collected four stops (three solo). His effort included a quarterback hurry, while he earned the coaches' award for the defense's biggest hit of the contest.

That's how long RB Kendall Houston's streak is after his four-yard touchdown capped the Jags' first scoring drive in the LU victory. The redshirt freshman — who gained 43 yards on 13 carries in the contest — has reached the end zone on seven occasions during that span.

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