Josie Howell, Sports Editor
Gamecocks fans have been anxiously waiting all year and the time has finally arrived, football season is here. Thursday, August 29, the JSU football team will travel to Hammond Louisiana to play Southeastern Louisiana to play their first game of the season at the Lion’s Strawberry stadium. The Gamecocks have been working hard and practicing in some of the hottest conditions Jacksonville, Alabama has seen in order to prepare for this moment.
“The atmosphere should be great and they (Southeastern Louisiana) have a great program,” says grass when asked about the upcoming game. “They changed coaches last year and Coach Scelfo did a really good job there in his first season. He has two really good quarterbacks and the offensive coordinator was at Eastern Illinois, so we are familiar with him and he is one of the best play callers we have played against. They have some weapons and some good running backs and play multiple guys in that position. Another strength for them is having four starters back up front on the offensive line. They are a complete team.”
According to the Southeastern Louisiana athletics page, the lions were 4-7 overall and 4-5 in its first season under the new head coach Frank Scelfo. Scelfo’s first recruiting class was said to add a lot of talent to their team, such as their starting quarterback, Chason Virgil. Virgil was ranked 9th in passing yards in the FCS with a total of 3,035 yards and also in completions per game with an average of 22.55 CPG.
This can be compared to JSU’s own starting quarterback, All-American and All-OVC Zerrick Cooper. In the previous season, Cooper was able to make 251 total completions for the season and totaled for an impressive 3,416 yards for the 2018 season with a total of 32 touchdowns for the gamecocks.
Defensively, the players that will seemingly make a great impact for the lions are defensive linemen Fred Brown and Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund. Brown started 10 of 11 games for the Lion, making 13 solo tackles and 27 tackles total for the season.
Adeyemi-Berglund earned many awards last year such as 2018 All-Southland Conference honorable mention, 2018 first team CoSIDA Academic All-District and All-Louisiana. He started in all 11 games and led third on the team with 33 solo tackles and 63 tackles total for the season.
Defensive Back Yul Gowdy, Line-Backer Jalen Choice, and defensive back Traco Williams will all be key players when it comes to JSU’s defense. According to the JSU Gamecocks athletics page, Gowdy named preseason All-American as a sophomore and made a total of 41 tackles for the season as well as 11 tackles for loss. Choice and Williams were both named 2nd Team All-OVC. Williams was able to bring in four interceptions, 66 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 10 passes defended. Choice was able to bring in a total of 88 tackles and 12 tackles for loss. All three will make for a strong defense in JSU’s first upcoming game.
“We are excited to see where the Gamecocks are. I think we have more of a veteran team than we did this time last year. We have a lot of question marks that were answered, but we still have some question marks out there. We have some guys that haven’t been in a game that will play and they will only get better,” says Grass.
This matchup at Strawberry Stadium will happen at 7 p.m. Thursday evening. For upcoming dates, events, and news regarding JSU football and athletics, follow JSU athletics on twitter at “JSUGamecocks” and of Facebook at Jacksonville State Gamecocks.
Photo courtesy of JSU