Thomas Ashworth, Interim Sports Editor
The Jacksonville State Gamecocks football team defeated the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks, 21-3, on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Burgess-Snow Field.
With the win, the Gamecocks move to a 7-1 record and are now 4-0 in Ohio Valley Conference games. JSU is tied for first in the Ohio Valley Conference with Murray State, who is also 4-0 in OVC play after a 35-13 win over Tennessee State on Sunday.
JSU’s defense shined throughout the whole game, holding SEMO to only three points and 144 total yards of offense, only 24 of those being rushing yards. Before this game, SEMO was averaging an OVC-leading 36.7 points per game. The Gamecocks defense came up with four sacks as well as eleven tackles for loss.
“I felt like our defense played as a unit today,” said junior safety Jeremiah Harris. “We held them to very few rushing yards and did a pretty good job against the passing game. I feel like we did a pretty good job today.”
Harris led the JSU defense with nine total tackles. DJ Coleman contributed heavily to the defense’s stellar performance as well, accounting for 14 yards lost on 1.5 tackles for loss. Cornerback Jacquez Payton had the lone JSU interception, coming up with the pick in the third quarter.
The Gamecocks shined on both sides of the ball, with the offense coming up with three touchdowns. Quarterback Zion Webb went 11-19, throwing for 190 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Uriah West led the way for the Gamecocks run game, rushing for 71 yards and a touchdown. Running back Josh Samuel rushed for 63 yards, as well as hauling in a 54-yard touchdown reception.
“We were just trying to make a play and get the ball to the guys who were open,” said quarterback Zion Webb. “I tried to wiggle out of the pass rush and got free. I saw Josh come up and got it to him to make a big play.”
Many in attendance would say that the MVP of the game came onto the field at the end of the first quarter. The Burgess-Snow crowd came to life as a squirrel made its way across the field, displaying great flashes of athleticism and speed as it ran from endzone to endzone.
“I didn’t know if they were passing a beach ball around up there or doing the wave or some of that stuff, but it was a dang squirrel,” said Jacksonville State head football coach John Grass. “I think everybody was ready for the squirrel to score, for sure.”
After running from the endzone closest to the student section all the way to the fieldhouse endzone, the squirrel had enough of the spotlight and decided to see itself out. The crowd continued to stay alive through the game as the Gamecocks came up with a win to remain undefeated in OVC play.
“It was a very solid team win and I thought all three phases executed extremely well,” Grass said. “I’m excited about the way we’re playing right now.”
The Gamecocks football team will play next on Sunday, March 28 at Burgess-Snow field against OVC rival Austin Peay. Kickoff at Burgess-Snow Field is set for 2 p.m. and the game will be available on ESPN+.
CORRECTION: Earlier, our article provided an incorrect date for the next JSU football game. JSU and Austin Peay will meet on March 28 at 2 p.m.