This week’s game: South Alabama (1-2) at No. 23 MSU (3-0), Saturday, 6 p.m., PPV (Bart Gregory play-by-play, Jackie Sherrill analyst)
Happy wet Monday, people. The dreariness readings are high this morning, but we’ll muddle through somehow. We enter Week 4 of the college football season, and in today’s Journal you can read about Dan Mullen wanting his players to respond positively after a close shave against Troy. You can also read my weekly rewind of the game.
Later today, I’ll have updates from Mullen’s 1 p.m. press conference. We’ll just have to see who else shows up to talk. Now let’s take a look at MSU’s next opponent.
• Last meeting: First meeting
• Series: 0-0
• South Alabama on the Web: usajaguars.com
• South Alabama coach: Joey Jones (24-6, fourth year)
• Three South Alabama players to watch: QB C.J. Bennett, RB Demetre Baker, LB Jake Johnson
• Premature Review: In our Premature Preview of South Alabama, we looked at a program that’s making the transition into Division I-A. Right now USA is considered a transitional I-A program, and for MSU it counts as a game against a I-A team. The Jaguars are playing a Sun Belt Conference schedule this year and next season will become a full-fledged member of that league and of the I-A ranks.
Jones’ record is mighty impressive, but you have to recall that the Jags played prep schools and whatnot in the early going. Still, they posted a 6-4 mark last season. So far this year, South Alabama has lost to Texas-San Antonio (33-31), defeated Nicholls State (9-3) and lost to N.C. State (31-7). That latter result happened this past weekend, and it wasn’t even that close, as the Wolfpack built a 31-0 halftime lead.
So USA is going to take some licks along the way. But Jones has a strong background, having won a lot of games in high school. He also oversaw the reboot of Birmingham-Southern’s football program for two years (2006-07).
His USA defense so far hasn’t been as unforgiving as last year, and the spread offense Jones employs hasn’t produced much the past two weeks. It looks like, however, that this could be a competitive Sun Belt team in the near future. How competitive can it be this weekend?
Good question. MSU is currently a 34.5-point favorite.