Josie Howell, Sports Editor
The Jacksonville State football team was able to come back from a tough loss against Southeast Missouri with a win last Saturday against Murray State with a close score of 14-12. This was JSU’s second game of the season being played in pouring rain, this particular game being the worst weather the Gamecocks have ever had to play in. The rain itself would test the Gamecocks ability to persevere and perform in any given circumstance.
Despite the bad weather, Jax State once again showed power in their defense. The Gamecocks were able to keep MSU from scoring for the entire first half of the game. Yul Gowdy, JSU’s cornerback, led the Gamecocks defense with had a season high of 10 tackles. Defensive end DJ Coleman also contributed eight tackles for his team, being his second highest of the season right behind his nine tackles in the Gamecocks matchup against Austin Peay.
The Gamecocks backup quarterback Zion Webb, who has recently returned from an injury, came into the game ready to dominate. Webb helped put the first seven points on the board at the end of the first quarter with a 45-yard pass to wide-receiver Jamari Hester. This was later followed by 10-yard run by Webb at the end of the second quarter with a successful extra point from Bryant Wallace, bringing the score 14-0 going into half-time.
“It is what you expect from your backup quarterback – [Webb] has taken his role on this football team really well. When his number is called, he is ready and that is what you expect him to do,” said John Grass, JSU’s head coach. “I think he has adapted to what he can do with his legs and he even threw the ball well on Saturday. I hate that he got hurt and wished he could have played in the second half.”
In the second half, with Webb injured on the sideline, Jax State almost lost control of the game. Not only did the Gamecocks not find an opportunity to score for the entirety of the second half, but they also gave up a safety in the fourth quarter.
Along with the 2-point safety, MSU also scored a touchdown with an extra point, along with a field goal in the second half, eventually bringing the score 12-14 with the Gamecocks in barely in the lead. The Racers tried their best to turn the game around in the short three minutes left in the game and were almost successful in this attempt.
In the second down at the 52-yard line, but only five seconds left in the game, the Racers went for the long field goal to try and take the game away from the Gamecocks at the very last second. This ended in a failed attempt and the Gamecocks were able to walk away with the win.
“I think it was a tale of two halves with us scoring some points in the first half and just didn’t get any on the board in the second half. I thought Zion Webb came in and played really well offensively and really gave us a spark in the first half. It really helped our run game some and we made some plays to get some touchdowns on the board,” said John Grass, Jacksonville State’s head coach. “In the second half, it was a lot of rain and I have not been in a game with that much rain in a long time. I think our guys handled the weather pretty well even though we had some turnovers.”
“Our mind is on beating UT Martin. I think our guys understand the race and if we do our job and win this week and then we take it week-by-week. You never know what will happen,” said Grass. “Our goal is to get in the playoffs and be the best team at the end of the year. We are not in control of any of that and what is sitting in front of us is what we control. It shows the parity of this league.”
The Gamecocks will be traveling to Martin, Tennessee this Saturday, Nov. 2, to play UT Martin. Kick-off will begin at 2 p.m. Fans can keep up with the action on ESPN 3 or by listening to the game on the JSU Radio Network on 91.9 FM.