By Felix Cunningham
Jackson State’s main objective was to try and contain the Jaguars’ electrifying do-everything-player Willie Quinn during the first home game of the season for Southern University.
The senior Jaguar speedster entered last weekend’s matchup with Jackson State with three return touchdowns in his first two games of 2015.
In front of a sold out crowd of 30,194 fans at A.W. Mumford Stadium, Jackson State (0-3, 0-1) did just that – at least in the return game.
Quinn finished the contest with only 14 total return yards as a result of a bevy of Tiger squib kicks, but the pint-sized receiver led the Jaguars with six receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown.
“Coach told me that they weren’t going to kick the ball to me, so I didn’t expect to get the ball,” Quinn said.
However that did not stop Southern (2-1, 2-0) from using other offensive threats in the arsenal to trump Jackson State 50-31.
Disproving the “sophomore slump” myth, Southern’s primary weapon this season has been sophomore quarterback Austin Howard.
Howard threw for a career high in passing yards by halftime and finished with 395 yards completing 21 of 32 passes, including a 43-yard pass to Quinn. Howard also rushed for 29 yards and two touchdowns.
“When we saw the crowd that we had we just wanted to come out and reward them for the faith they had in us,” said Howard.
Southern’s rushing attack was clicking on all cylinders Saturday night, as junior running back Lenard Tillery rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns, while senior running back Malcolm Crockett added 33 yards and two scores.
“Today we showed that we were very versatile,” Crockett said. “We can pass the ball, run and do great on defense.”
Southern showcased its versatility very early in the game.
The Jaguars scored twice within 2:28 minutes to take a fifteen-point lead over Jackson State in the first quarter.
“When we score fast like that,” Crockett said, “it shows the other team that we mean business.”
Jackson State finally put points on the board when Dan Williams caught a 24-yard pass from quarterback LaMontiez Ivy.
Southern obliterated Jackson State in the first half, gaining 405 yards, including 336 passing yards, to take a 29-7 lead.
JSU scored the last touchdown of the night when Ivy threw Williams a nine-yard touchdown pass to shrink the ultimate deficit to 50-31.
“We call it a fifty-piece and we are looking forward to putting points on the board like that every week,” wide-receiver Randall Menard said.
Head coach, Dawson Odums spoke on the resolve of the offense.
“You had explosive offenses out there, but defensively we had a game plan and other than two drives, I think we executed as well as we could have,” Odums said.
The Jaguars will travel to Athens, Georgia next weekend to face No. 7 Georgia in Sanford Stadium.