Jacksonville State bounced back from a disappointing homecoming loss last Saturday, to win big, 40-16, in Clarksville, Tennessee over Austin Peay. The Gamecocks hit the road to take down the #21 ranked FCS school in the country, the Austin Peay Governors, on the school’s senior night. JSU advances to 7-2 on the season, with just two games remaining on the schedule, and a perfect 3-0 in ASUN conference games.
The first quarter was highlighted by great defensive stands from both teams early on. There were multiple three-and-outs recorded by each squad, as well as a fourth down stop by the Gamecocks early on. The first points of the game were put on the board late in the first quarter, with senior quarterback Zion Webb uncorking a huge 48-yard touchdown pass to junior Perry Carter. The long score was the first touchdown by Carter on the season, as well as his first touchdown as a Gamecock after transferring from the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
The subsequent extra point, after the touchdown from Webb to Carter, was missed by sophomore Alen Karajic. The score stood at 6-0 for just a little bit in the first quarter, as the next possession for Austin Peay saw them take the ball into the endzone as time expired in the first quarter. After the first quarter of play, the Governors led the Gamecocks by a score of 7-6.
If the first quarter was highlighted by excellent defense, the second quarter was undoubtedly highlighted by the offensive units. Midway through the second quarter, following four consecutive three-and-outs, both team’s offenses found a rhythm. The Gamecocks once again opened up the scoring in the quarter with Karajic, making up for his extra point miss, drilled a 40-yard field goal. The kick, which put JSU up 9-7, was quickly outdone by another long Austin Peay touchdown drive.
With the score standing at 13-9 in favor of the Governors, senior running back Matt LaRoche rushed for his fourth touchdown of the season for the Gamecocks. With just 20 seconds left in the first half Austin Peay drove down the field and nailed a 55-yard field goal as time expired. The huge kick not only tied an Austin Peay school record for the longest successful field goal, but also knotted up the score at 16-16.
The third quarter was utter domination from the Jacksonville State football team. The defense allowed just 24 yards in the quarter, while the offensive unit put up two more touchdowns. One score came from a short run from junior running back Pat Jackson, while the other came off of a 14 play 75 yard drive. The latter of the two touchdowns was a nifty trick play call at the goaline from head football coach Rich Rodriguez. The play saw junior receiver Sterling Galban complete a touchdown pass to Webb in the endzone, giving Webb his first career receiving touchdown.
The fourth quarter saw continued domination from the Gamecocks, who were up 30-16. All three phases of the football team stepped up in the final quarter, and shut down any chance at an Austin Peay comeback. The first play of the quarter was an interception for senior Stevonte Tullis, leading to a quick field goal for the Gamecocks that brought the score to 33-16. Then on the next possession, sophomore Jamari Jemison scored on a 69-yard blocked field goal return. The score ballooned the lead to 40-16, giving JSU 24 points unanswered to end the game.
Jacksonville State will return to the field again in two weeks, following the team’s bye week. The next game for the Gamecocks will be at home, at Burgess-Snow Field, on November 11th at 1 p.m. CT. The game, which will feature JSU’s 2022 senior night, will be against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels.