The South Alabama Jaguars entered last nights season opener looking to rebound from their worst season in program history after going 2-10 (1-7 in Sun Belt Conference) in 2019. Much of the teams struggles last season centered around an offense that failed to put points up on the scoreboard, managing only 18.4 points per game. That PPG total ranked 121st out of 130 FBS teams.
Inconsistent QB play from starter Cephus Johnson forced the Jaguars to make the change to redshirt freshman Desmond Trotter with 4 games left in the 2019 season. South Alabama’s offense showed signs of life when Trotter took over as the starting quarterback, with the team averaging 26 points per game over the final four games of the season. With Trotter returning at QB in 2020 along with a deep and talented group of Wide Receivers, there was reason for optimism as the Jags entered the opener against Souther Miss on Thursday Night.
With Trotter and all three starting wide receivers returning, there was plenty of reason to believe that the Jaguars passing game could cause problems for opposing secondaries in 2020. Unfortunately for Southern Miss, they had the opportunity to experience those problems first hand as the Jaguars WR's put on a show last night. Starting Wide Receivers Jalen Tolbert, Jalen Wayne & Kawaan Baker combined for 352 yards receiving and 3 touchdown receptions as the Jags racked up 529 yards of total offense and 32 points in their victory against the Golden Eagles.
Any doubts about seeing an improved Jags offense was put to rest on just the third play from scrimmage, as Jalen Tolbert grabbed a pass from Trotter and raced 73 yards for a TD. Tolbert would also give the Jags their first touchdown of the second half when he made a leaping catch for a 31 yard TD giving the Jags a 10 point lead. Tolbert would finish with 6 catches for 169 yards while the other "Jalen" Jalen Wayne hauled in six passes for 101 yards. The combined performance by the Jalen's marked the first time in South Alabama's history to have two 100-yard receivers in the same game. Kawaan Baker nearly gave them a third 100 yard receiver, finishing the game with 4 catches for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Overall it was an impressive night for South Alabama as they came away with the 32 -21 win, giving the Jaguars their first road victory since 2017 and with the way the wide receivers performed last night, I don't think it will be their last. With Trotter gaining more confidence at QB and this talented group of Wide Receivers, I expect the Jaguars offense to give opposing defenses nightmares as the season rolls on.
Click on the Video below to see some of the Jags offensive highlights from last nights victory. As always, feel to reach out to me for additional insight, information or with requests for guest blogging, podcasts or projects. You can join the site for updates or connect with me by email email@example.com or on twitter @js_ace_football