Daniel Mayes, Staff Sports Reporter
Jacksonville State could not have asked for a better beginning to the game.
A slow start by a Georgia Tech team that played in a double-overtime contest just Monday night allowed the Gamecocks to seize control early on, but costly turnovers helped Georgia Tech to a 37-10 victory over JSU on Saturday.
A dominant defensive effort for Jacksonville State in the first half and a long touchdown drive helped JSU to a 7-3 lead, and the Gamecocks outplayed FBS power Georgia Tech for most of the first half.
The Gamecock defense prevented the Yellow Jackets from converting on four of their first five third downs and allowed just 140 yards by the Tech offense in the first half.
The JSU offense found a rhythm early on as well, and a 14 play, 75-yard drive ended in the Gamecocks’ lone touchdown of the day, a Bryant Horn pass to Krenwick Sanders early in the second quarter.
However, a turnover late in the first half killed JSU’s positive momentum.
After the Gamecock defense stopped the Tech offense on a fourth down, Horn was picked off by Georgia Tech’s Lawrence Austin with just 1:34 left in the first half.
Two plays later, Tech’s TaQuon Marshall found Ricky Jeune for a 27-yard touchdown pass that gave the Yellow Jackets a 10-7 lead that they would take into halftime.
Despite the deficit, JSU outgained the Georgia Tech offense 144-140 at the halftime break.
The JSU defense would allow Tech just 322 total yards in the game, 283 fewer than the Yellow Jackets amassed against Tennessee in their opener.
After halftime, two more turnovers by JSU allowed the Yellow Jackets to quickly put the game out of reach.
Horn threw another interception on his first third quarter pass, and Marshall found Jeune again for another touchdown.
A Horn fumble on JSU’s next drive led to Marshall’s third touchdown pass, this time to J.J. Greene, making the score 23-7.
The Yellow Jackets then tacked on another TD on a 65-yard run from Jerry Howard.
A JSU field goal from Cade Stinnett late in the third quarter then another Marshall touchdown, this time on the ground, rounded out the scoring for the game, making the final tally 37-10.
The Gamecocks now head into an off-week that will give them a chance to recover and prepare for their home-opener against Liberty, who took down their opening week FBS opponent Baylor 48-45.
JSU will take on the Flames on Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. on Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium.