South Alabama beats Arkansas State 34-30, ends 9-game skid

The Associated Press

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) -- Sophomore Jalen Tolbert caught five passes for a school-record four touchdowns, Rocel McWilliams came up with a game-saving sack and South Alabama snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 34-30 victory over Arkansas State on Friday.

The Jaguars (2-10, 1-7) picked up their first Sun Belt Conference win in their season finale as Desmond Trotter tied a school record with four TD passes. Trotter completed 20 of 31 passes for 279 yards with an interception. Tolbert finished with 144 yards, topping the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career. His scoring catches went for 21 and 30 yards in the first quarter and 31 and 26 yards in the fourth quarter.

South Alabama took a 27-17 lead early in the fourth quarter after Trotter's third TD toss to Tolbert. But the Red Wolves (7-5, 5-3) scored on three straight possessions - a Layne Hatcher 1-yard TD run and two field goals by Blake Grupe - to take a 30-27 lead with 3:51 left in the game.

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Trotter answered with a nine-play, 61-yard drive that ended with TD pass number four to Tolbert for a 34-30 Jaguars' lead with 1:18 remaining.

Arkansas State had one last shot after a 22-yard kickoff return by Jeff Foreman and a personal foul on South Alabama's Shawn Jennings gave the Red Wolves the ball at their own 40-yard line. But McWilliams sacked Hatcher on first down and teammate Jeffery Whatley recovered, allowing the Jaguars to run out the clock.

Hatcher completed 23 of 38 passes for 342 yards and two TDs for Arkansas State, which saw a four-game win streak end. Kirk Merritt had nine catches for 121 yards.

Tra Minter rushed for 106 yards and a TD on 21 carries for South Alabama.

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