The Big Five: Southern University

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The Big Five: Southern University

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[su_spacer size=”20″] After polishing off old nemesis Steve Spurrier and his South Carolina Gamecocks for only the second time in the past six seasons, the unbeaten Georgia Bulldogs get to enjoy a breather of sorts this coming Saturday (12 noon, SEC Network) when they welcome FCS foe Southern University between the hedges.
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But that’s not to say the game is unimportant for the presently 3-0 Georgia team. The Bulldogs have the big one with the Alabama Crimson Tide looming in Athens the following weekend and can certainly use the contest against the Jaguars to iron out some of the mistakes they committed in the opening two SEC counters against Vanderbilt and South Carolina.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Southern University, from Baton Rouge, La., is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and last season under head coach Dawson Odums (fourth year) compiled a 9-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in the SWAC.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Entering Saturday night’s game with Jackson State, the 2015 Jaguars were 1-1 on the season, having been pummeled by Louisiana Tech in their opener, 62-15, before then bouncing back to post a rout of their own, smashing Mississippi Valley State, 50-13.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Three of the Jaguars’ top offensive threats back from the 2014 team are sophomore quarterback Austin Howard (6-0, 190), who threw for 2,334 yards and 17 touchdowns as a true freshman, junior running back Lenard Tillery (5-10, 186), who ran for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns last year, and smallish senior receiver Willie Quinn (5-5, 145) who had 62 catches for 892 yards and five TDs last season while also proving a most dangerous threat on punt and kickoff returns. In this year’s opening loss to Louisiana Tech, Quinn totaled 197 yards in kick returns, including a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. For that performance, he was named as the SWAC Special Teams Player of the Week.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Defensively, one of the Jaguars’ ringleaders is senior linebacker Demetrius Carter (6-0, 225), who led Southern last year with 101 total tackles. And in 2014, the Jaguars’ defensive unit totaled 38 quarterback sacks.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Just as was the case with Louisiana-Monroe in Georgia’s season opener, Southern University won’t come away from this game with anything but a big paycheck (in this case, $650,000) because if the Jaguars stay within 40 points of the FBS Bulldogs, it would indeed rate a huge moral victory for the vastly outmanned visitors.
[su_spacer size=”40″] So, as we delve into the weekly Big Five factors a team must achieve to beat Georgia, take these with an extreme heaping of salt.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 1. Big play early on
[su_spacer size=”20″] It likely won’t matter over the course of the game but, Jaguars, you have some speed on this team so hit the Dawgs with a big play early in the game (maybe a Quinn kick return) and spoil Georgia’s hopes for a shutout. That way, you can say you were even with the Dawgs in the opening few minutes.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 2. Smother Chubb with your entire defense
[su_spacer size=”20″] Don’t worry about Georgia’s passing attack, which was very impotent — at least going into the South Carolina game — in the early going. Just load the box on defense and send all 11 guys after Nick Chubb and the Bulldog running backs.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 3. Offensively, again a big play from QB Austin Howard or RB Lenard Tillery
[su_spacer size=”20″] Southern offense, it’s likely you won’t move the ball consistently against the Georgia defense so pull out any trick play you’ve got to get on the board … either on a long TD pass from Howard to Quinn or on a long run from scrimmage by Tillery.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 4. Don’t be intimidated by the Sanford Stadium crowd
[su_spacer size=”20″] Expecting the runaway victory with their thoughts already on the Crimson Tide, the Georgia fans may be half asleep for this football game. So just go out and play ball like you’re back in Baton Rouge on your home turf.
[su_spacer size=”40″] 5. Above all, just show up and collect the $$$
[su_spacer size=”20″] After all, the big paycheck — which will benefit the Southern athletic budget greatly — is all you’re here for. You have no hopes of beating the University of Georgia so just have fun and know you’re doing it for a great cause.
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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.