Tag: Austin Peay

Jax State falls to Austin Peay

Garrett Sanders, Sports Correspondent

This past Saturday, the Jacksonville State University football team traveled to Clarkesville, Tennessee to play Austin Peay. Unfortunately, the Gamecocks left Tennessee defeated.

The Gamecocks knew the importance of this game, and they would be tested early. Anything can happen on any given Saturday, and this was no different.

Austin Peay came out firing from all directions and the Gamecocks defense could not stop the Governor’s offensive attack. Missed tackles, poor execution and mental mistakes would be the downfall for JSU.

However, the defense was not the only group that lacked strength. Offensively, turning over the ball was the memo for the Gamecocks, and Austin Peay took clear advantage of this.

Despite the 33-52 loss, there were some good performances that prevailed in this matchup. While Zerrick Cooper threw a total of three interceptions, he also continued his streak of throwing a touchdown pass for an eighteenth consecutive game.

Wide-receiver Josh Pearson has had an awe-inspiring campaign throughout his time at JSU, and this particular matchup was a career-making day. Pearson added two receiving touchdowns to his record for a total of seven touchdowns in just five matchups, and 24 career total touchdowns.

Pearson’s first touchdown during Saturday’s game came on a 16-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter from his counterpart Cooper. This tied the touchdown record holder for the JSU all-time receiving touchdown record. One more touchdown and Pearson would be in the JSU history books.

With less than two minutes left in the game, JSU had the game loss well in hand. However, the Gamecocks did manage to get a drive going. At the three-yard line in the red zone, Pearson knew it was now or next week to break that record.

Being the fantastic slot receiver Pearson is, he beat the Governor’s corner on a perfect slant and Cooper zipped the ball to him. With an ideal throw and ideal catch, Pearson came through with a touchdown for the Gamecocks.

With that run to the endzone, Pearson officially broke a record and reached a milestone in his career. But for Pearson, it wasn’t about the record; it was about trying to get better as a team moving forward from the loss.

“We have a lot of people that are living off last year and the freshmen season in 2015. We haven’t made a name for ourselves and we have to do that first,” said Pearson during the postgame press conference. “We have to win the ball on both sides of the line. It’s bad when we only have 62 yards rushing. We have to change our approach and not look at records. We have to go out there and play Jacksonville State football, and that is the problem, we are not doing that. We are focusing on yesterday and last year. We have to attack each day and get better.”

The Gamecocks have realized that they must get more physical in practice. Head Coach John Grass made that clear during Monday’s practice.

“They just kicked our rear ends. That’s all you can say. It was just a poor performance everywhere,” said Grass. “We will be very physical this week in practice. Until we win the line of scrimmage, that is what we will do. That is the way this program was built and we will get it back to that point.”

This Saturday, the Gamecocks will host the Tennessee State Tigers. Tennessee State is 1-4, but John Grass feels that the Tigers can easily be overlooked.

“It does not get any easier this week because I feel like we are playing the most talented team that we have played all year. This is the best 1-4 (FCS) team in the country with Tennessee State. They could easily be 4-1 because they are a good football team. As always, we have to get ready to play,” said Grass.

Fans can catch the game at Burgess-Snow Field at 6 p.m. The game will also be broadcasted live on 91.9 WLJS and on the ESPN+ app.

Pearson breaks JSU touchdown record

Garrett Sanders, Sports Correspondent

Josh Pearson is someone who screams inspiration. Through hard times in life, he endured hardship and found a way out of it to make something of himself. It all started in the fall semester of 2015.

Pearson was a star athlete from Decatur looking for a school to further his academic and athletic career. He chose Jacksonville State University and with a full-ride athletic scholarship, he secured place on the football team. Pearson thought he had it made, but that’s when the immaturity of a college freshman hit Pearson. 

Pearson ended up putting too much focus on other things rather than being a student-athlete first. That’s when things came to a halt. He was deemed ineligible for the 2016 college football season. Pearson ended up losing part of his scholarship as well. The reality of life then hit Pearson, and he realized he needed to change his life around.

After days of studying to 3 a.m., making good grades and doing good deeds around the community of Jacksonville, Pearson regained confidence in himself, which resulted in him being deemed eligible for the 2017 football season. Pearson not only excelled in the classroom as a full-time student, but he succeeded on the gridiron as well.

While only playing in one game in 2017, Pearson found his way up the depth chart in the receivers’ room – and in 2018 things began to skyrocket for Pearson.

Being a redshirt Junior for the Gamecocks didn’t put any pressure on Pearson. Pearson blossomed in the offense with his quarterback counterpart, Zerrick Cooper. The two have an on-field relationship that is like none other. Pearson was known for his quick speed in the slot and could run routes to perfection, which upped his game on the field.

Seeing Pearson’s 67 catches and 1,123 yards in the 2018 season was very impressive. But the thing that is special about his talent on the field is his ability to get in the endzone.

Pearson has excelled at catching and running routes, but if there was one thing that stands out about him, it’s that he is a touchdown machine. Pearson’s 2018 season ended with a total of 17 total touchdowns on his record, averaging up to more than one touchdown per game. In 2019, he only continued to be that special weapon for the Gamecocks in the endzone.

With the Gamecocks already five games into the season, Pearson has seen plenty of action on the field. But last week in Clarkesville, Tennessee, he had an extraordinary moment in his football career, one which no one can take away from him.

Pearson, who was coming into the game with 22 career touchdowns during his time at JSU, only needed one more to tie the all-time career touchdown record for wide receivers for the Gamecocks. The record was formerly held by JSU alumnus Joey Hamilton, with 23 career touchdowns.

Pearson seized his chance to tie this record during the game against Austin Peay. With his partner in crime, Cooper, throwing the ball his way, Pearson ran into the end zone from 16 yards out to score a much needed touchdown, and to tie Hamilton’s record. 

Pearson was not done, however.

Pearson and the Gamecocks were down big to Austin Peay late in the game. But with less than two minutes left in the game, Pearson wanted to edge the competition closer and score, and he had a chance.

Being three yards away in the slot, all Pearson had to do was find a way to get open and beat his man in coverage. Cooper snapped the ball and Pearson did what he does best, beat his man, ran the perfect route, caught the ball and scored.

The three-yard go-ahead touchdown broke Joey Hamilton’s, and now Josh Pearson stands alone at 24 career touchdowns. But for Pearson, he just wants to get better with his teammates and win a national title.

“It is nice to have but it was hard to enjoy it after the game,” said Pearson when asked what he thought about breaking the touchdown record. “It’s a great record to have, but it is no fun when you lose because it is a team sport.”

With all that Pearson has accomplished throughout his time at JSU, the sky is the limit for him. The redshirt senior is currently majoring in exercise science and wellness and would like to pursue a career in being a strength and conditioning coach if football does not work out long term.

JSU falls to Peay for third straight loss

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Freshman Cam Martin scored a career-high 18 points in the Gamecocks’ loss to Austin Peay (Katy Nowak/JSU)

Logan Arnwine, Staff Sports Reporter

Jacksonville State fell once again to Austin Peay Feb. 17, 57-60 in Clarksville, Tennessee, marking their third straight loss.

Before these three defeats, Jacksonville State (18-11, 9-7 OVC) had not lost back to back games yet this season.

In each loss, the Gamecocks lost both the turnover and three-point shooting battles with their opponents, most notably with 19 turnovers against Tennessee State and shooting 1-11 from three against Murray State.

In the last meeting between Jacksonville State and Austin Peay, the Governors defeated the Gamecocks 87-67, Jan. 13.

JSU struggled to defend against Austin Peay’s offense in their first matchup. This time, Jacksonville State held the Governors to 60 points, 27 less than before, but the Gamecock couldn’t put them over the top.

Austin Peay opened up with a quick lead of 19-4 and continued the pressure to close out the first half with a ten-point lead, 21-31.

After a missed three by Jamall Gregory, the Governors’ Tre Ivory hit a huge three off of the assist from Zach Glotta on the other end to finish the first half and carry momentum into the second.

Austin Peay’s defensive prowess forced a devastating seven turnovers for the Gamecocks in the second half, cutting potential game-changing runs short.

Neither side excelled in three-point shooting on Saturday, but what separated the two teams was the free throw shooting in the second half.

The Gamecocks shot 50% from the free throw line while the Governors shot 70%. Jacksonville State left the opening for Austin Peay to pull away with the victory by leaving points on the board.

In the final two minutes, the Gamecocks’ Malcolm Drumwright, Christian Cunningham, and Cam Martin all missed a free throw a piece that could have tied the game at 60.

With eight seconds remaining, Austin Peay’s Zach Glotta missed one of two free throws to give Jacksonville State one last chance to force overtime with a three-pointer.

With the final shot and three seconds remaining, Junior Forward, Jason Burnell missed the game-tying three.

Dayton Gumm pulled down the game-sealing defensive rebound to end the Gamecocks comeback hopes and complete Austin Peay’s victory, 60-57.

Jacksonville state played well in the paint, scoring 32 points in the post out of their 57 total points, compared to Austin Peay’s 20.

Cam Martin scored 18 points, along with 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season and his collegiate career

Veteran guard, Malcolm Drumwright played all 40 minutes of the game while putting up 10 points, making this the sixth time of the season that he has played at least 40 minutes in a game.

Marlon Hunter also scored 10 points on 5 of 9 shooting.

Jacksonville State will play Belmont on Super Hero night, Feb. 22 at home on ESPNU at 8 p.m.

Belmont is coming off a 108-65 victory over Morehead State. The Bruins have won three straight and 11 out of their last 12 games,  putting them at 22-7 overall and 14-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference.



Gamecocks suffer first home loss of season against Austin Peay


Grant Benefield, Chanty Sports Reporter

Jacksonville State volleyball has been dominant at home this season, starting out 8-0 in Pete Mathews Coliseum in 2017.

But keeping that perfect home record alive would be a difficult task when the Gamecocks took on the OVC-leading Austin Peay Governors on Sunday.

The Governors (19-4, 7-1) showed just why they’re the #1 team in the OVC, defeating JSU (18-9, 4-4) in just three sets by scores of 25-19, 27-25, and 25-16.

Brooke Moore, Christina White, and Ashley Slay were unstoppable for the Govs, recording 12, 11, and 10 kills respectively. Moore also collected 11 digs and blocks.

Kristin Stucker set the table for the trio of Govs, recording 44 assists.

Austin Peay collected 6 service aces, compared to just 1 for JSU.

For the Gamecocks, Charis Ludtke led the way with 13 kills and 4 blocks. Outside of Ludtke, however, the Gamecocks struggled to score on Sunday.

Jennifer Hart served up 28 assists. Hannah Kirk and Madison Cooler both reached double-digits in digs, recording 15 and 10 respectively.

Next weekend, the Gamecocks will go a road trip to Illinois for a pair of OVC matches against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois on Friday and Saturday, with both matches starting at 6 p.m. CT.