MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The South Alabama Jaguars (4-1, 1-0) are set to play in front of a national audience Saturday, Oct. 15 when head coach Kane Wommack’s Jaguars host the University of Louisiana-Monroe on NFL Network at 6 p.m. CT for their homecoming game.
The Jaguars enter week seven of the college football season fresh off a bye week that Wommack said his staff and players took full advantage of. Wommack said the energy in the facility when the team returned was “energetic, hungry and the mentality that [the program] wants to start the week with.”
“I told the guys this morning that recovery [is important], which is what some of our guys needed, especially when you play as physically as we do over the first five games,” said Wommack in his weekly press conference. “Some guys had some bangs and bruises that needed recovery, while other guys needed to be pushed just to add the depth that we need offensively, defensively and on special teams.”
Starting quarterback Carter Bradley and senior cornerback Darrell Luter Jr. expressed the same notion as their second-year head coach – recovery is essential and something the team and themselves needed.
“Guys were in the training room getting extra work in, working with the strength coaches doing stretching and stuff like that,” said Bradley. “It was helpful for us.”
“It was much needed,” said Luter Jr. “Some of the guys needed time for their bodies to recover that were banged up from the previous games.”
Wommack will face the Warhawks for the second time as a head coach, but he is no stranger to the program, as he has faced them during his time as the defensive coordinator for the Jaguars during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Like most of 2021, the road matchup against ULM was one to forget, a 41-31 loss gave the Jaguars their second of six Sun Belt Conference losses.
The Jaguars have picked up a 14-point win over Central Michigan on the road, but lost to UCLA in the Rose Bowl by one-point . Throw all of that in the rearview mirror. The Jaguars are 1-0 in conference play coming off a last-second 20-17 road win over Louisiana courtesy of a Diego Guajardo 43-yard field goal as time expired.
“We didn’t play our best football against Louisiana, and I think our guys are very aware of that,” said Wommack. “There’s something to be gained from responding after an emotional win and recognizing that we need to get better at our process, and make sure that we show up with more consistency than what we did particularly in the first half against Louisiana.”
Now, the Jaguars are rested and — for the most part — healthy as they gear up to be in the national spotlight on their home turf, Hancock-Whitney Stadium, somewhere they have not played since Sept. 24.
“We’re excited to be at home,” said Wommack. “Homecoming is a special opportunity for a university to reflect on some of the things you’ve done in the past and honor those that have come before you. Yet at the same time, it’s an opportunity to look ahead at what our future shows.”
The Warhawks (2-4, 1-2) have had a rough go during the first six weeks of the season. Terry Bowden’s squad played Texas and then-ranked No. 1 Alabama in the first three weeks of the season. ULM most recently lost to Coastal Carolina 28-21 in their homecoming week.
Defensive coordinator Corey Batoon, who is in his second year in the role for the Jaguars, has coached South Alabama to the 3rd ranked team defense in the SBC. The defense, led by Darrell Luter Jr., allows just 18.8 points per game.
Batoon, however, said there are plenty of points of emphasis and improvements his defense can make ahead of the homecoming matchup. Batoon said he can take away a few positives too as the defense has “made people earn everything they got.”
“From an improvement standpoint, I would like to see us create more negative plays,” said Batoon. “I think we are doing a good job on third down. I think we are doing an okay job in the red zone, there’s more we can do execution wise.”
Luter Jr. and the rest of the defense know the threat Warhawks starting quarterback Chandler Rogers poses both through the air and with his legs. Rogers has three rushing touchdowns and 278 total yards on the ground.
“He is very athletic, so we have to watch out for that,” said Luter Jr.. “We need to contain him. It’s kind of difficult. We have to watch our eyes. Whether you are blitzing or what have you, he will scramble.”
Running back La’Damian Webb is second in rushing yards in the conference (463) and has six rushing touchdowns paving the way for the Jaguars’ fourth-ranked offense in the conference.
Webb has the ‘big uglies’ up front to thank for his – so far – a very successful season. Offensive coordinator Major Applewhite knows the skills players get the attention, but said “it’s a big man’s game.”
“If you can control the line of scrimmage offensively or defensively you have a very good chance of winning the football game,” said Applewhite.
With the addition of NFL Network, the Jaguars have two nationally televised games. The Jaguars will play two games within a six-day span beginning with aforementioned ULM Saturday. South Alabama will then host Troy on Thursday, Oct. 20. on ESPNU at 6:30 p.m. CT.
The Jaguars were picked to finish second in the SBC West Division behind Louisiana, who the Jaguars beat last week, as previously mentioned. South Alabama will travel to Arkansas State following next Thursday’s game.
Tickets, parking & more information
People wishing to attend the homecoming game have several different options to purchase tickets. The best source is the USA website where people can choose tickets based on seat and/or price. As of Thursday, tickets are selling for as low as $7 and run up to $17 on the USA website.
- Stubhub: Tickets as low as $17
- SeatGeek: Tickets as low as $10
- VividSeats: Tickets as low as $11
- Ticketmaster: Tickets as low as $14
People can purchase parking passes on the USA website as well. Per the website, a single game parking ticket cost $20. As of Thursday, there are just two lots with parking spaces open, Lot 607 and Lot 608.
Park and Ride is available as well. There are courtesy shuttles that will start four hours prior to kickoff and run for at least 30 minutes following the conclusion of the game. People wishing to use the shuttle must wait at the Moulton Tower (Bell Tower). The shuttles will not drop off people at their cars in lots.
In the Stadium
Football will call opens two hours before kickoff. Gates will open 90 minutes prior to kickoff. Approved bags and items include clear plastic bags, small clutch bags or purses, seat cushions/stadium chair and one empty, plastic water bottle. Non-clear bags are not permitted. You cannot check bags at the stadium.
Hancock Whitney Stadium is a cashless stadium and only credit cards or mobile payments will be accepted. Apple Pay and Google Pay will be available at select concessions and vendors.
When: Saturday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. CT
Where: Hancock Whitney Stadium 500 Stadium Dr.
What: Annual Homecoming Game
Online, in-game stats: Statbroadcast
Radio: Sports Talk 99.5 Mobile
Live Stream: NFL Network