Arkansas-Pine Bluff quarterback Ben Anderson didn’t leave much doubt Saturday he would be named the SWAC’s Offensive Player of the Week.
Apparently, neither did Southern wide receiver Mike Jones.
Both shared the honor announced by the SWAC during its weekly coaches’ teleconference Monday. Anderson led UAPB in rushing and passing and accounted for 80 percent of the Golden Lions’ offense Saturday in a 45-42 home victory against Grambling State.
As much as he carried the ball — 21 times for a career-high 192 yards — he might not have needed a big game from a receiver like Jones, a redshirt sophomore who caught five passes for 211 yards. Jones turned in touchdown passes of 74, 68 and 13 yards.
But both Anderson and Jones needed every yard they gained in their close contests (Southern beat Alabama State 31-28). Anderson threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns, helping UAPB total 594 offensive yards.
“He didn’t try to do anything supernatural,” UAPB coach Monte Coleman said Monday. “He stuck within the game plan coach (and offensive coordinator Eric) Dooley set up for him.”
Jones’ share of the honor is just extra good news for a Southern team that clinched a spot in the Dec. 7 SWAC championship game in Houston. The Jaguars’ tickets were punched when Alcorn State defeated Prairie View A&M 50-35.
Jackson State beat Alabama A&M 26-20 Saturday to wrap up the Eastern Division title and will play in its second straight championship game.
Extra Golden Lion Notes
Junior fullback Micheal Wilson had his busiest game of the season in terms of rushing Saturday. The Earle High graduate toted the ball four times for 22 yards and his first touchdown of the season Saturday.
“He gave us the boost that we needed,” Coleman said, adding freshman running back Jeremiah Young was “questionable” for returning to the game with “a little boo-boo”. He also said of Wilson: “His stats weren’t that big, but his contributions were outstanding.”
Senior safety T.Q. Mims, who has not played since suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament against Alcorn State on Sept. 21, dressed out for Senior Day, but did not play. Coleman said Mims, who has also played quarterback at UAPB, has not been medically released to play.
The Lions played one of their least penalized games of the year against Grambling State, drawing only three flags for 21 yards. In their previous outing at Mississippi Valley State, the Lions had 17 flags for 135 yards, drawing ire from their head coach.
“Sometimes you have to raise your voice,” Coleman said. “I was really upset with the number of penalties, and I had a long talk with the football team.”
Again, Johnathan or D.J.?
Grambling State junior Johnathan Williams has been impressive starting under center the past two games, and it raises the question of whether he or classmate/roommate D.J. Williams (no relation) will start in the Tigers’ next game.
For Tigers interim head coach Dennis Winston, it’s a good thing he doesn’t have to rush to make a decision. Grambling won’t play for another 18 days as it prepares to meet Southern in the season-ending Bayou Classic in New Orleans.
“We want to bring along D.J. slowly because we don’t anything else to come about (health-wise),” Winston said. D.J. Williams, whose father Doug was fired as head coach earlier in the season, missed his second straight start with concussion-related symptoms, but tossed a two-point conversion pass late in the game against UAPB.
“Johnathan is playing well right now, and his confidence is growing,” Winston added. “We want to make sure Jonathan knows everyone is behind him.”
That’s not to say Johnathan Williams is locked in as the starter. Winston said the decision will be based on the players’ week-by-week performance.
Johnathan Williams has accounted for 680 total yards and eight touchdowns the past two games. He completed 14 of 18 passes for 275 yards and a score against UAPB.
Comegy: Alcorn, not title game, next
It wasn’t pretty, but Jackson State found a way to beat Alabama A&M and qualify for its second straight SWAC final.
Jackson State came from an early 13-0 deficit to win 26-20 in Huntsville, Ala., where UAPB will visit this Saturday. The Tigers scored 26 unanswered points, including 12 on four Ryan Deising field goals.
They also had to overcome two lost fumbles and an interception to win.
“I’m not sure if that week off helped us or hurt us because we played very sloppy,” Jackson State coach Rick Comegy said. “I think they may have made us play sloppy.”
Comegy said while he’s very happy to wrap up the East, he can’t think of anything else but going up against Alcorn State next Saturday to close the regular season.
“It can be a very physical game,” Comegy said. “We could lose some guys before we get there (to the title game).”