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Gamble, Southern's Dooley familiar

by I.C. Murrell | October 1, 2022 at 4:16 a.m.
UAPB Coach Doc Gamble, left, watches the action during a Sept. 17 game at Oklahoma State University. (Special to The Commercial/Michael Sudhalter)

Doc Gamble sports a 1-1 record against Southern University, but the third-year University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff football coach also has a 1-1 record against Eric Dooley.

That matters because Dooley's Southern Jaguars may take on a different personality from the one that adopted Dawson Odums' scheme. Odums left Southern after the spring 2021 season, when UAPB went down to Baton Rouge and pulled out a 33-30 victory, but Jason Rollins kept the Jags going in the fall and helped them exact revenge during UAPB's homecoming, 34-7.

Gamble expects a more creative, wide-open offense from Dooley than the deep running attack under Odums and Rollins when the Golden Lions take the field at Southern's 28,500-seat A.W. Mumford Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 tonight, and the game will be streamed live on ESPN+ (a subscription-based app) and air on KPBA-FM 99.3.

"There may be different styles of play because they've got a different head coach," Gamble said. "When we went down there before, their style of play took on the personality of the head coach. This team we're going to play will take on the personality of the head coach offensively. They've always been well-coached on offense, creative and know where to attack you at."

Gamble's two meetings against Dooley happened when the latter was head coach at Prairie View A&M University. A former UAPB offensive coordinator under Monte Coleman, Dooley has made the move east on Interstate 10 from greater Houston in hopes of restoring a championship-level program.

"I thought the program was in great hands," Dooley said. "You just have to have them take on who you are and what you want accomplished."

Both teams are looking for an upswing early in the Southwestern Athletic Conference race. UAPB (2-2, 0-1) blew a 21-10 score last Saturday and allowed Alcorn State University to score 28 unanswered points, due in large part to Jarveon Howard's 295 rushing yards. It was the Lions' second loss in a row.

"In this game of football, anybody can tell you they're going to run the football first," Gamble said. "Now, are they committed to it or not? That's the thing about it, and [Alcorn is] committed to the run."

UAPB's offensive line helped sophomore Kayvon Britten regain his form from the first two weeks of this season, rushing for two touchdowns on the road.

"We speak to our guys that we want to run the ball," Gamble said. "At the end of the day, we're going to do what's best to move the football."


Southern (1-2, 0-1 SWAC) is coming off a bye week after dropping two straight games, the most recent to Texas Southern University in Arlington.

"We were able to reflect on some things we needed to correct to be a better version of the Southern University football team and a better version of Southern University," Dooley said. "It was an opportunity to gain some guys back as well ... just to get as healthy as we possibly could."

The version Dooley coaches averages 34.3 points per game on offense and 29.7 points per game allowed. UAPB has scored more on offense at 38 per game, but three of its opponents -- Lane College (42), Oklahoma State University (63) and Alcorn -- have scored 38 or more points, leaving the Lions with a 36.5-ppg clip on defense.

Britten, at 96.8 yards per game, is the second-leading rusher in the SWAC behind Alcorn's Howard (145). The Lions will need another big game from him and quarterback Skyler Perry (152.8 passing yards per game) to possibly outrun the Jaguars, who have a 408.7-399.5 edge against them in total yards per game.


UAPB and Southern will meet for the 60th time tonight. Southern owns a commanding 44-13-2 lead in the all-time series, having won 7 of the last 8 meetings.

UAPB beat Southern three straight years from 2010-12. UAPB last started a season 3-2 in 2019, when it lost to Southern 31-7.

The Lions finished 6-5 that year under Cedric Thomas.

SWAC standings and schedule

Eastern Division Conf. Over.

Jackson State 2-0 4-0

Bethune-Cookman 1-0 1-2

Florida A&M 1-1 2-2

Alabama State 0-1 2-2

Alabama A&M 0-1 0-4

Miss. Valley State 0-1 0-4

Western Division Conf. Over.

Prairie View A&M 2-0 2-2

Alcorn State 1-0 2-2

Texas Southern 1-1 1-3

UAPB 0-1 2-2

Southern 0-1 1-2

Grambling State 0-1 1-3

Today's games

Bethune-Cookman at Alabama A&M, 2 p.m.

Miss. Valley State at Florida A&M, 4 p.m.

UAPB at Southern, 6 p.m. (ESPN+)

Prairie View A&M vs. Grambling State, at Dallas, 6 p.m. (HBCU GO)

Alabama State at Texas Southern, 6 p.m. (AT&T SportsNet Southwest)

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SWAC standings and schedule

Eastern Division; Conf.; Over.

Jackson State; 2-0; 4-0

Bethune-Cookman; 1-0; 1-2

Florida A&M; 1-1; 2-2

Alabama State; 0-1; 2-2

Alabama A&M; 0-1; 0-4

Miss. Valley State; 0-1; 0-4

Western Division; Conf.; Over.

Prairie View A&M; 2-0; 2-2

Alcorn State; 1-0; 2-2

Texas Southern; 1-1; 1-3

UAPB; 0-1; 2-2

Southern; 0-1; 1-2

Grambling State; 0-1; 1-3

Today’s games

Bethune-Cookman at Alabama A&M, 2 p.m.

Miss. Valley State at Florida A&M, 4 p.m.

UAPB at Southern, 6 p.m. (ESPN+)

Prairie View A&M vs. Grambling State, at Dallas, 6 p.m. (HBCU GO)

Alabama State at Texas Southern, 6 p.m. (AT&T SportsNet Southwest)


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