Gamecocks hold off UT Martin for fourth consecutive OVC title


JSU took down UT Martin 14-7 on Saturday to earn their fourth consecutive Ohio Valley Conference championship. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)

Timothy Cash, Sports Editor

 No 2 Jacksonville State claimed their fourth-straight Ohio Valley Conference championship Saturday, squeaking by UT Martin 14-7.

The Gamecocks also extended their OVC-win streak to 31, and picked up the OVC’s automatic FCS playoff birth.

“I’m proud of this team for getting us right where we want to be at the end of the season,” head coach John Grass said after the game.

“Proud of all the guys who’ve come before them to make this four in a row happen.

It’s pretty special when you look back at it. But right now, we don’t have time to look back at it – we have to get ready for Tennessee State.”

Jacksonville State’s (9-1, 7-0) ground game punched in two first half touchdowns via Roc Thomas, while the Gamecocks defense limited UT Martin to only 83 offensive yards.

However, the Gamecocks had to fight off a second-half resurgence by UTM to secure the win.

Linebacker Joseph Roberts secured the win for JSU when he landed on a fumble by Skyhawks’ quarterback Dresser Winn with 1:09 remaining in the contest.

“It’s a great win on the road. We knew it was going to be tough coming up here,” Grass said.

“We didn’t make enough plays to get the ball in the end zone. A few scores were left out there … but it was just a good, solid win.”

Jacksonville State’s first score came on a 75-yard eight-play drive that was capped off with Thomas finding his way into the end zone on second-and-goal from the one-yard line.

Three Gamecock drives late, Jacksonville State found pay dirt again on a four-play drive that lasted less than a minute that saw Thomas picked up his second score on a 14-yard run.

The Skyhawks’ (5-5, 3-4) lone scoring drive came late in the third quarter.

Staring at their own six-yard line, Peyton Logan weaved his way through the defense for a 51-yard gallop to the Gamecocks’ 42-yard line.

Two plays later, Winn connected with Devonte Howard for a 32-yard touchdown.

Thomas finished with 52 rushing yards on 14 carries.

Tramel Terry found 61 rushing yards, and picked up 19 receiving yards on three receptions.

Bryant Horn passed for 92 yards on eight completions, and led the gamecocks with 86 yards on the ground.

Trae Barry led the Gamecocks’ receiving corps with 34 yards on two receptions.

Marlon Bridges and Quan Stoudemire led Jax State with eight tackles apiece. Jonathan Hagler picked up seven tackles.

Darius Jackson forced two sacks for a loss of 18 yards, and had five total tackles.

Logan led the Skyhawks with 54 rushing yards.

Landarius Galloway found 31 rushing yards. Winn completed 13 passes for 128 yards.

Howards found 37-yards on two catches.

Jacksonville State now turns their attention to Tennessee State for the final game of the 2017 regular season.

Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 16.

Streaming is available on ESPN3 and Watch ESPN.

Coverage can also be heard on the JSU Radio Network.

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