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Alabama A&M: Jaguars jump all over Bulldogs 21-6 (600 hits)

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana -Alabama A&M came here eager to prove that the Southwestern Athletic Conference preseason predictions were wrong.

The Bulldogs were picked to finish fourth in the league's Eastern Division preseason poll. After Saturday's showing against Southern, maybe they should have been picked to finish last. They certainly played like one of the worst teams in the league against the Jaguars.

Southern used a pair of big plays early to go up by two touchdowns barely seven minutes into the game and never looked back and went on to beat the Bulldogs 21-6 in the SWAC opener for both teams before an announced crowd of 9,020 at Mumford Stadium.

"Southern played with an intensity early on that we didn't have and never caught," said A&M coach Anthony Jones, who is 3-10 in his last 13 games with the Bulldogs dating back to last season. "We weren't very good today in any phase of the game.

"I said before the season started that we had a chance to beat everybody on our schedule, but everybody on our schedule had a chance to beat us and we proved that tonight."

The loss dropped A&M to 0-2 on the season and 0-1 in league play. Since holding a 17-0 halftime lead against Hampton in its season opener, A&M has been outscored 42-6 in its last six quarters.

Southern, which snapped a seven-game losing streak dating back to last season, improved to 1-1 overall and 1-0 in league play.

"I didn't see any of this coming," A&M quarterback Deaunte Mason said. "I thought we prepared well during the week. The coaches did a great job preparing us. We didn't execute the gameplan."

That was very apparent on defense early on.

The Jaguars scored on the first play from scrimmage when quarterback Dray Joseph found LaQuinton Evans on a short pass and after avoiding tackles by Vernon Marshall and Derrick Harris, he raced 72 yards for a touchdown 19 seconds into the game. Manuel Canto kicked the first of his three extra points to give Southern a 7-0.

It was 14-0 after Joseph and Charles Hawkins connected on a 57-yard touchdown pass on the Jaguars' next possession. Hawkins beat A.J. Clark on the play.

"I can't explain it," A&M free safety Rico Porch said. "We came out with no intensity from the beginning. They jumped out on us early and we never recovered. It was like we were sleep walking."

Chance Wilson kicked a 27-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to pull the Bulldogs within 14-3, but Joseph found Mike Berry w ith a 21-yard touchdown pass with 1:26 left in the first half to give the Jaguars a commanding 21-3 lead at intermission.

Joseph, who finished with 308 yards passing, had 265 at halftime.

"We didn't get enough pressure on him," A&M defensive tackle Montay Rover said. "If we had gotten pressure on the quarterback it would have made it easier on the secondary."

The way A&M's offense was playing, the touchdown made the lead almost insurmountable.

"That was big, particularly because we couldn't get in the end zone," Jones said. "We couldn't overcome it."

The Bulldogs pitched a shutout in the second half, but Southern's defense kept Mason and company under wraps.

A&M got inside the Jaguars' 28-yard line five times throughout the game, but the Bulldogs made two field goals, missed one and turned the ball over on downs on their last two possessions at the Jaguars' 14 and 19-yard lines.

"Southern wanted this game a lot more than we did," Jones said. "We didn't do well at all. We've got to go back to the drawing board and fix a lot of things."

A&M hosts Tuskegee Saturday in the second annual Louis Crews Classic.

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Friday, September 30th 2011 at 5:51AM
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