Three scores midway through the contest turned the tide of the game quickly as Southern pulled away from Texas Southern Saturday night at BBVA Stadium.
Southern scored on its opening possession as quarterback Ladarius Skelton found Ethan Howard for a 38-yard scoring strike and a 7-0 lead after the PAT. The Tigers started out slow as its first two possessions ended in a fumble and safety as the deficit grew to 9-0 with eight minutes left in the opening quarter.
The TSU defense came up big with a huge sack on SU’s second possession and true freshman starter Jalen Brown began to settle down as he found Jonathan Giles and Jyron Johnson down the field for three big completions with the latter a 14-yard reception on 4th-and-1. Nine plays later, TSU was on the board as Jacorey Howard rushed in from three yards out to trail 9-7 after Richard Garcia III’s PAT.
The momentum was short-lived as SU answered with a five-play, 73-yard drive as quarterback John Lampley found Jerodd Sims for a 22-yard touchdown as the PAT made it 16-7 early in the second quarter. TSU would fumble a punt midway through the quarter but the defense came up big as Marquis Walker picked off Skelton to give the ball back to the offense. Both teams would continue to trade possessions until late in the second quarter as Brown found a streaking Ke’Lenn Davis for his first career touchdown pass via a 54-yard strike. Garcia III’s PAT was good as TSU trailed 16-14 with 2:28 left.
However, Southern once again answered with a quick strike as Shykee Thomas returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. TSU would drive to the SU 23 but was whistled for offensive pass interference and couldn’t capitalize as they went into the half down 23-14.
Southern began to create separation with its running game as they scored two touchdowns in the third quarter for a 37-14 lead. TSU opened the fourth quarter with a seven-play, 76-yard drive which saw Brown find Osby Mitchell for two big pass plays. The drive was capped off with a LaDarius Owens’ five-yard run as TSU trailed 37-20 after the failed two-point conversion. Southern responded on its next drive with a touchdown as TSU only managed a field goal to close out the contest.
Brown led TSU in passing with 281 yards on 21-of-31 attempts and a touchdown. Jacorey Howard rushed for 59 yards on 14 attempts while Jyrin Johnson caught six passes for 36 yards.
Demontario Anderson led TSU with 10 tackles followed by eight from Alec Prince. Prince also had a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Texas Southern is back in action at home versus Grambling State on Saturday, April 3 at 7 p.m. inside BBVA Stadium.
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