South Alabama’s dream season continued on Saturday as the Jaguars battled for a 27-20 win at Southern Miss.
South Alabama is now 9-2 overall and 6-1 in the Sun Belt Conference. The Jaguars need one more win coupled with a loss to Troy to clinch the Sun Belt Conference West Division championship but can still win double-digit games for the first time as an FBS team and finish with a nice bowl trip.
RELATED: South Alabama turns it on in the fourth quarter for a 27-20 win over Southern Miss
The Jaguars end the regular season at home against Old Dominion next Saturday. Before that, here are five things we learned from the 27-20 win over Southern Miss:
1. Jaguars can still win if they don’t play particularly well
South Alabama statistically dominated much of Saturday’s game, but three turnovers and a poorly executed fake punt sent the Jaguars back into the fourth quarter. Previous US teams would have lost by two touchdowns in games like this, but this year’s team is obviously different. They’re far more talented and arguably better trained than any other team in the program’s history, and it shows in the way they can win, even when it’s sloppy.
2. Braylon McReynolds is a future star for South Alabama
La’Damian Webb has been a big part of the Jaguars’ offense this season, but he was hardly missed while sitting out against Southern Miss with an ankle/foot injury. That’s because freshman Braylon McReynolds did his best Webb impression, rushing for 100 yards and catching three passes for 66 yards. McReynolds isn’t quite as strong as Webb, but he’s faster and difficult to deal with on his own. Webb has one more year of eligibility after this year, so he and McReynolds could form a dynamic couple in 2023.
3. The Voisin brothers are two of Jaguars’ best players
It took them three years to make a serious impression, but twin brothers Jaden and Devin Voisin have proven to be South Alabama’s most valuable players this season. Jaden leads the team on safety and is likely to be seriously considered for All-Sun Belt Conference honors. Devin has become the Jaguars’ go-to receiver in recent weeks (he scored the go-ahead touchdown on Saturday) and has teamed with Jalen Wayne and Caullin Lacy to give Carter Bradley three reliable goals for every game.
4. South Alabama gets penalties under control for at least a week
Head coach Kane Wommack begged his team to play with more discipline and competition after last week’s awkward 12-penalty game against Texas State, and the Jaguars delivered. They were penalized just five times, once for holding on to a kickoff return, once for a false start, once for holding defensively, once for a pass interference and once for aiming for a rather random play – the runner bowed his head at the last moment – as an intentionally dirty game. Gone were the unsportsmanlike conduct fouls and late post-game hits that had plagued South Alabama for the past few weeks.
5. Southern Miss-South Alabama will be a great rivalry
The Jaguars improved their all-time record to 3-0 against the Golden Eagles, but Saturday’s game was by far the most competitive and exciting. The proximity of the two schools — they’re only 90 miles apart — and the fact that Southern Miss is now in the Sun Belt Conference adds even more spice to what’s becoming an excellent rivalry. Both teams have energetic young coaches in Wommack and USM’s Will Hall, and they recruit the same types of players in the same territory. South Alabama-Troy has grown into quite the football rivalry over the past decade, but USA-Southern Miss could reach that level soon.
next up: South Alabama hosts Old Dominion next Saturday at 11 a.m. at Hancock Whitney Stadium.