Monday, March 6, 2017

Farewell to 2016: South Alabama Jaguars

South Alabama Jaguars
6-7 (2-6)

2016 Schedule
Beat Mississippi State 21-20
Lost to Georgia Southern 24-9
Lost to UL-Lafayette 28-23
Beat Nicholls State 41-40
Beat San Diego State 42-24
Lost to Arkansas State 17-7
Lost to Troy 28-21
Beat Georgia State 13-10
Lost to UL-Monroe 42-35
Beat Presbyterian 31-7
Lost to Idaho 38-31
Beat New Mexico State 35-28
Lost to Air Force 45-21 (Arizona Bowl)

MVP Offense: RB Xavier Johnson
With the Jaguars being one of the most inconsistent teams in the nation on offense, it came down to who did the most on offense to pick an MVP, and that was Johnson. He rushed for a 10 scores in 2016, which is just one score fewer than the 11 TDs that QB Dallas Davis passed for. Johnson rushed for those scores on just 12.58 carries per game, which is rather efficient when you stop to think about it. He averaged 5.5 yards per cary, and finshed with 831 yards rushing, and scored three times in a win against New Mexico State in the next to last game of the season, a 35-28 win.
MVP Defense: DL Randy Allen
The senior DL finished the year with 73 tackles up front. Allen's value came in disrupting opposing backfields, where he collected 19 TFLs on the year. Allen also had 12.5 sacks to lead the team, broke up two passes, created eight QB hurries, and forced three fumbles, and even blocked a kick to earn MVP honors on defense for USA.
Others of Note
Davis passed for 11 scores, but was picked off 12 times. He finished with 2706 yards passing, and averaged 246 yards per game in 11 games as a sophomore.
The Jags rushed for 25 scores as a team, but gave up 26 rushing TDs.
WR Josh Magee and TE Gerald Everett, both seniors, tied for the team lead with 49 receptions, and combined for nine scores.
Darrell Songy led the team with 100 tackles.
Eight defenders finished with 50 tackles or more.
USA collected 74 tackles per game, but forced only 68.69.
The defense collected 91 TFLs, but the offense allowed 80.
Senior LB Roman Buchanan also finished in double figures in TFLs with 11.
Davis was sacked 31 times, and had 46 passes knocked away.
USA forced 16 fumbles, and the offense had 16 fumbles forced.
Davis was only hurried 11 times, meaning that many of his 46 knocked away passes were just poor decisions throwing into traffic.
The Jaguars were penalized an average of 7.6 times per game, and they were hit for a staggering 8.7 per game on the road, and nine times per game on the road.
Best Win: Mississippi State
The season opening win was probably the most high profile win in USA history, even if the Bulldogs did not finish with a winning record. Any time a Sun Belt team beats anyone from the SEC, it is a massive deal. The Jags followed it up with a 15 point loss to Georgia Southern.
Worst Loss: UL Monroe
ULM was by far one of the worst teams in the nation and  in the Sun Belt. A win here, and the Jags were in a bowl without a waver. With this loss, they were forced to hold off New Mexico State in the season finale to get through the door. This was a pure instance of the inconsistencies of this program in 2016.
2017 Non Confernce Schedule: 9/2 at Ole Miss, 9/9 Oklahoma State, 9/16 Alabama A&M, 9/30 at Louisiana Tech
USA should only be favored in the Alabama A&M game, with all three other non con games showing the Jaguars as dogs. I see no way that they beat Ole Miss or Oklahoma State, but if I had to pick an upset target here, it would be against Ole Miss with all of their ongoing drama. The Louisiana Tech game may prove too much on the road as well. It's looking like a slow 1-3 start in the first month of 2017.

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