HOUSTON (AP) — With the game on the line in overtime, the Southern Jaguars felt right at home. Saturday they cashed in that experience for a Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship in a 34-27 win over Jackson State.
Nobody on the field showed that experience more than senior quarterback Dray Joseph. The SWAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year led the Jaguars with 337 yards passing and three touchdowns, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to Lee Doss for in the second overtime to give Southern (9-4, 7-2) the championship.
The score came after place kicker Gregory Pittman missed a 37-yard field goal in the first overtime that would have ended the game.
"The biggest thing is to remain poised," Joseph said he told his team in the huddle after the miss. "We've been in these types of situations and it enabled us to be successful."
The win was the 14th SWAC championship for Southern and third title game win in four tries. For Jackson State (8-4, 8-1). it was another year of heartbreak.
The Tigers could not answer in second overtime. On 4th-and-5, quarterback Clayton Moore eluded tacklers and bought time to find Tommy Gooden, who had leaked free out of the backfield. His high-arching pass found Gooden, but he was ruled out of bounds.
"He lost his perception of field presence," Tigers head coach Rick Comegy said. "When the throw was made he was clearly on the line. I saw it; it was a good call by the official. We hoped it would go another way but it was a good call.
The blow was tough for the Tigers as it marked the second year in a row that the conference title slipped through their fingers in overtime.
Moore was 21 of 42 for 262 yards passing with two touchdowns.
"We lost a game that could've gone either way," Comegy said. "Somebody's got to lose and tonight we were the loser."
Ryan Deising sent the game into overtime, hitting a 37-yard field goal as time expired. Deising missed his first opportunity, but Southern head coach Dawson Odums called timeout before the ball was snapped. With a reprieve, Deising knocked the attempt right down the middle to send the game to overtime.