Hampton Coach Joe Taylor put all the pressure on his defense to win today's Heritage Bowl. Vincent Lewis didn't disappoint his coach.
Lewis set up a touchdown and a field goal with two of his three interceptions and the Pirates forced three other turnovers to avenge a regular season loss with a 24-3 victory over Southern University.
"My job was just to make sure everybody was where they were supposed to be," Lewis said. He said of the interceptions, "I was breaking on the ball and I was just at the right place at the right time."
The Pirates (8-4) got two touchdowns from Adrian Wideman, first on an 11-yard halfback pass from Montrell Coley, then on a seven-yard pass from Roy Johnson, in building a 17-3 lead in the third quarter.
The loss ended a two-game winning streak in the Heritage Bowl for the Jaguars (11-2), who beat Hampton, 21-6, in October in Indianapolis.
"For us it was a big win, a great win," Taylor said. "We really didn't do a whole lot different from the first game. We just did it a little bit better. It all comes down to execution."
It was only the second loss for Southern in six Heritage Bowl appearances.
"It's tough to beat a team twice," Southern Coach Pete Richardson said. "Our team didn't execute today. It didn't happen. It happens like that sometime. No excuses. Hampton played well today."
Lewis got his first interception on Southern's first possession, picking off a long pass from Terrance Levy at the Hampton 36.
The second interception started an 11-play, 61-yard scoring drive that featured Johnson's 20-yard pass to Zuriel Smith and a nine-yarder to Smith on fourth and four at the Southern 24. The touchdown came on Coley's pass to Wideman, who was wide open in the end zone.
Two series later, Lewis picked off another pass from Levy and returned it 22 yards to the Southern 27, setting up a 22-yard field goal by Acie Wyatt that gave the Pirates a 10-0 lead with 3 minutes 54 seconds left in the half.
Southern's only score came on a 33-yard field goal by Justin Mattingly 11 seconds before halftime after the Jaguars took over at the Hampton 36 following a high snap that foiled a punt.
Travis Coleman's 50-yard punt return to the Southern 9 set up a one-yard scoring run by Michael Jones with 5:42 remaining.
The Pirates wasted a scoring opportunity after Chris Parker returned the opening kickoff 50 yards to the Southern 37. Hampton reached the 1, where on fourth down Johnson fumbled the snap, and the Jaguars recovered at the 9.