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South Alabama-Idaho Matchup Breakdown

By Emory Hunt
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Both teams enter this contest at 1-2 on the season and are opening up conference play with this game as well.

There are only two conference matchups this week, in the Sun Belt, one is Louisiana-UL-Monroe, and the other is the South Alabama-Idaho game. Both teams enter this contest at 1-2 on the season and are opening up conference play with this game as well.


South Alabama

Defensive Front Seven: The Jaguars in their 4-2-5 defense, have the ability to create problems for any opposing offense. Linebackers Darrell Songy and Riley Cole have excellent athleticism and range.

Offensive Backfield: Tra Minter and Xavier Johnson are a dynamic 1-2 punch that have combined for over 220 yards on the ground and 2 touchdowns. Being able to sub in-and-out with talent like that makes you tough to defend.


Red Zone Offense:  The Vandals make their trips inside the redzone count.  So far on the season Idaho has scored 8 touchdowns on 10 trips inside the 20-yard line.

Running Game: This is more than likely tied to their success inside the red zone. The Vandal backfield is equally as impressive as their Jaguar counterparts. Both Isaiah Saunders and Aaron Duckworth have the ability to wear you down physically, and outrace you to the end zone if need be. Their offensive line, lead by Jordan Rose (6’6 325) does a great job in getting movement along the line of scrimmage.

Areas of Improvement

South Alabama

3rd Down Offense: 18% on 3rd downs will not cut it. I know Head Coach Joey Jones is a stickler for assignment, alignment & execution, so I would expect them to improve on this number moving forward. But this is a sign that your defense gets tired because your offense can’t sustain drives.

Openers: The Jags tend to struggle getting out of the blocks quickly in the beginning of games and coming out of halftime. Those are areas where they could easily be sitting at 3-0 on the season. They have to start the game, and the 2nd half the same way they close out both halves.


Run Defense: This is where the Vandals have gotten themselves into trouble. As well as they can run the ball, they have some issues at the point of attack on the opposite side. Stopping the run is about attitude and want-to, the Vandals need both to be at 100% in this game.

Quarterback Play: Matt Linehan is a solid quarterback; he played some good ball last season and into the bowl game. He’s gotten off to an inconsistent start to the season. It has been an accuracy/placement issue for him and he has to be on point in this matchup because of the aggressive secondary he’ll face.

Key Players

South Alabama

Safety Jeremy Reaves (5’11 190, Senior): Reaves will be all over the field for the Jaguars and you’ll hear his name called plenty in this one. So far the senior safety leads the team in tackles with 21, tackles for loss with 3 and also has a sack.


Defensive End Aikeem Coleman (6’3 275, Junior): Stopping the run has to come from upfront and works its way back. Coleman shows good activity in the trenches, showing the ability to slip blocks and make plays at, or behind the line of scrimmage.


South Alabama 19, Idaho 17

Emory Hunt - Emory Hunt, "The Czar of the Playbook", is a former UL Ragin' Cajun running back nw covering the Sun Belt for Southern Pigskin. His other work can be found at Twitter: @FBallGameplan