Gamecocks tame Tennessee State, 38-16

The Gamecocks defeated Tennessee State 38-16 on Sunday. (Courtesy of JSU)The Gamecocks defeated Tennessee State 38-16 on Sunday. (Courtesy of JSU)

Jamerious Borden, Correspondent

Jacksonville State’s final trip to Tennessee State as an Ohio Valley Conference member ended like the previous five: with a Gamecock victory.

No. 10 Jacksonville State extended its winning streak to five with a marvelous victory over the Tigers at Hale Stadium on Sunday, winning 38-16. The Gamecocks (5-1, 2-0) currently own the longest active winning streak among FCS programs.

Quarterback Zion Webb passed for a career high of 280 yards along with three touchdowns while the defense limited Tennessee State (0-2, 0-2) to 225 net yards as JSU ran its all-time mark against the Tigers in Nashville to 6-0.

Uriah West ran for a touchdown and caught a 54-yard TD pass. Pat Jackson added a short first-quarter touchdown run while Dave Russell III and Quan Charleston caught touchdown passes from Webb as the Gamecocks overcame two turnovers that led to Tennessee State field goals.

“Our defense just continues to get better and improve,” said Jacksonville State head coach John Grass. “Offensively, we finished and played really well in the fourth quarter.”
Jacksonville State scored 17 points in an eight-minute span to pull away in the fourth after the Tigers trimmed their deficit to 21-16. 

Webb then connected with West on a 54-yard touchdown pass at the 12:03 mark to finish off a quick 74-yard scoring drive. Less than four minutes later, Alen Karajic kicked a 26-yard field goal and Webb wrapped up the scoring with a 19-yard touchdown toss to Charleston with 3:57 remaining. 

Along with his 280 yards, Webb completed 21-of-33 passes with only one interception- easily eclipsing his career highs of 12 completions and 137 yards vs. Eastern Kentucky in 2018. Webb completed his first TD pass of the afternoon with a 29-yard strike to Russell before halftime extending Jax State’s cushion to 21-6.

The Gamecocks outgained TSU 452-225 and recorded 24 first downs to the hosts’ 11.

West accounted for 125 all-purpose yards, running seven times for 40 yards and grabbing three passes for 85 more. His five-yard TD run got the Gamecocks on the scoreboard first less than 4.5 minutes into the contest. The junior back has now accounted for 100-plus scrimmage yards in three straight games.

Freshman Mike Pettway caught a team-high six passes for 75 yards for Jacksonville State. 

On the defensive side, the Gamecocks recorded six sacks, including 2.5 by redshirt freshman Chris Hardie. 

Redshirt sophomore Marshall Clark was the Gamecocks’ leading tackler with eight stops, followed by Nicario Harper’s seven stops. 

Jacksonville State improves 13-2 all-time against Tennessee State after a magnificent performance. Also, Redshirt junior Jacquez Payton made an interception in the second quarter marking the sixth consecutive game that JSU’s defense has forced their opponent to commit a turnover, a streak extending back to the Florida State game in October 2020. Finally, JSU’s Jack Dawson punted six times and averaged 43.7 yards per kick. 

Jacksonville State wraps up its two-game road swing on Sunday when it returns to the state of Tennessee to face UT Martin (1-1, 1-1 in OVC) at Stewart Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. The game will be available on ESPN+ and will be broadcast live on WLJS 91.9 FM.

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