It was a 16-yard touchdown pass in the second overtime that gave Southern a 34-27 victory against Jackson State on Saturday at the 2013 SWAC Championship. They did so with a crowd of 38,985 in attendance Saturday at Reliant Stadium.
The victory will be remembered for Joseph’s touchdown and a 99-yard, fourth-quarter drive by the Jaguars that gave them a 27-24 lead. Jackson State tied the game at the end of regulation when Ryan Deising booted a 37-yard field goal to tie the game, 27-27, and send it to overtime.
Dray Joseph was 27 of 46 for 337 yards passing with three touchdowns, two to Willie Quinn, to lead the Jaguars. Southern (9-4, 7-2) won its third conference championship in school history.
The Jaguars led 13-10 at the half despite being out-gained by Jackson State, 231-164. Southern had the Tigers to thank for that.
On all three of Southern’s first-half scoring drives Jackson State committed penalties that kept them alive, including two roughing-the-punter calls on two field goal drives. Southern’s only touchdown drive of the first half consumed 97 yards and took 10 plays in the second quarter. The Jaguars gambled on fourth-and-3 at the Jackson State 34 and it paid off.
Southern’s quarterback, Joseph, passed 34 yards to Quinn for a touchdown to take a 10-0 lead with 11:18 left in the second quarter. Quinn caught the ball in the middle of the field at the 18 and then, using his sprinter speed, raced past the Jackson State defenders for the score.
Jackson State got a 32-yard field goal by Deising to cut the margin to 10-3 with 6:12 left in the second quarter. But the Jaguars answered with a 36-yard drive to the Jackson State 22. It was kept alive when the Tigers were flagged for their second roughing the punter penalty of the first half when the Jaguars faced fourth-and-6 at the Jackson State 37.
The drive went backward and Southern had to settle for a 44-yard field goal by Greg Pittman that gave them a 13-3 lead with 1:04 left in the first half. But Jackson State’s offense, in hurry-up mode, moved rapidly down the field on the ensuing possession, going 73 yards for a touchdown in only five plays. Tigers quarterback Clayton Moore passed 25 yards to DeSean McKenzie to cut Southern’s lead to 13-10 with 10 seconds left in the first half.
Jackson State was its own worst enemy in the first half with two turnovers and seven penalties for 65 yards, three that led to Southern points.
As both teams failed to score in the first overtime, Southern put the pressure on Jackson State to score a touchdown or they would win the game. Jackson State‘s running back stepped out of bounds to negate what would have been a 5-yard touchdown pass from Clayton Moore. The referees would review the play but he was clearly out of bounds and Southern was crowned the new SWAC champion.