The Jacksonville State Gamecocks (9-1, 7-0 OVC) not only found a 56-28 victory over the Southeast Missouri Redhawks (4-6, 3-3 OVC), but they were able to win their fifth Ohio Valley Conference title.
The back-to-back conference champion Gamecocks were the first to the scoreboard on Saturday. Eli Jenkins was able to find Markis Merrill for a 28-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. Connor Rouleau’s PAT put Jax State up by seven.
Southeast Missouri State was able to answer in the second quarter. Freshman running back Dante Vandeven finished off a 61-yard, four-play drive with a three yard run for six. Ryan McCrum tied the game with the extra point.
JSU would score two more times before halftime. Jenkins connected with Josh Barge to give the Gamecocks their second touchdown of the afternoon. After going 73 yards in 10 plays, Barge caught the ball for a four-yard touchdown. With another good PAT by Rouleau, Jax State was back up by seven.
With only 29 seconds left in the first half, Barge once again was able to find the end zone. The Gamecocks were first down and 10 at Southeast’s 24-yard line when Jenkins was able to connect with Barge for six. Rouleau put the Gamecocks up by 14.
Jacksonville State entered the second half with the same intensity they had shown in the first. Deciding to give the running backs a little bit of the spotlight, the Gamecocks gave the ball to Troymaine Pope to score the first touchdown of the second half. Pope ran only two-yards to finish a 13-play, 65-yard drive. Rouleau put the Gamecocks up by 21.
Miles Jones gave Jax State their second touchdown of the quarter. His 22-yard run, along with Rouleau’s PAT put the Gamecocks ahead by 28.
The Redhawk’s Tremane McCullough managed to find the end zone in the third quarter. After a 78-yard, 6-play drive, and McCrum’s PAT, Southeast Missouri trailed by only 21 points.
JSU was once again able to find the end zone in the third quarter. Pope’s 30-yard run, with a little help from Rouleau, once again put the Gamecocks up by 28.
A 42-yard yard run by quarterback Christian LeMay put Jax State ahead by 35 points.
Southeast Missouri was able to return Jacksonville States kickoff back 99-yards for a touchdown. CJ Stafford’s PAT chipped the Gamecocks’ lead back down to 28.