The South Alabama offense went to Idaho to make a statement and they did a good job of it.
It was the Jaguars defense who made a statement first though when Terrell Brigham sacked redshirt quarterback Matt Lineham on their fourth play from scrimmage, the first of seven in the game.
Quarterback Brandon Bridge completed 6 of his first 7 passes including a 51 yard strike to Claude Garrett to put the Jaguars on the board first. It didn't take the Jags long to put points on the board again, actually only 36 seconds, when Montell Garner picked off the second pass of the Vandal's next possession and returned it 59 yards for a touchdown.
Leading 17-0 the Jags would get the ball back with just over two minutes left in the game looking to take their lead into the locker room. But an unsportsmanlike penalty put the Jags on the 41 yard line with plenty of time left. A few plays later Bridge hit Shavarez Smith for back-to-back completions for 10 and 7 yards and got out of bounds at the Idaho 27 with seconds left. Grant McLaurin, who won the place kicking duties this week in practice, would make his second attempt of the game to put the Jags up 20-0 at the half.
The Jaguar offense would pick up where they left off with their first possession of the second half. Bridge would open with an 8 yard run then two plays later he would break loose up the middle and go untouched for a 54 yard touchdown extending USA's lead to 27-0 with only 1:26 off the clock.
Then the Vandals started making some noise.
Their first possession, aided by a pass interference on 4th and 6, went 16 plays and ended with a 38 yard field goal. But the Jaguars would give the ball back on an interception. After back-to-back defensive holding calls, Lineham would find Joshua McCain for a 10 yard touchdown pass to cut the Jaguar lead to 27-10 with under seven minutes left in the third quarter.
Another Jaguar turnover on their second play of their next possession happened when Kendall Houston was hit from behind and the ball popped free. However, looking at the replay, it looked like he was down before it came loose, but the officials did not agree and the play stood.
Idaho would proceed to drive the ball down to the USA 10 before a false start and a sack would back them up to the 23 yard line. Austin Rehkow would miss his second field goal of the game leaving the Jaguars ahead 27-10 with 3:18 left in the third quarter.
After sacking Lineham on fourth down, the Jaguars would only need three plays to all but put the game away. After no gain by Bridge he would throw it to Antonio Carter for 27 yards then Jay Jones would take it the final 18 yards on the ground for a 34-10 lead with just under eight minutes left.
The Jaguar receivers had a few good passes dropped but overall they played much better than the previous two weeks. Bridge went 15-of-25 for 196 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Shavarez Smith caught 6 passes for 44 yards, Wes Saxton added 3 catches for 18 yards, Claude Garrett scored his first touchdown as a Jaguar with his only catch of the game for 51 yards.
Jay Jones led the rushing attack with 108 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown. Bridge added 71 yards on 6 carries and a touchdown. Kendall Houston had 37 yards on 9 carries.
Qudarius Ford led the defense with 9 tackles. Demarius Rancifer came in and had 7 stops and a sack filling in for injured players. Garner had five stops, a sack, and the interception returned for a touchdown.
The Jaguars (2-2, 1-1 SBC) will travel to Boone, NC to face Appalachian State (1-3, 0-1 SBC). Idaho (0-4, 0-2 SBC) will travel to Texas State looking to get their first win of the season.