Tag: Chattanooga

Gamecocks win first home game of the season against UTC

Ashley Finerson, Sports Correspondent

After a tough loss against Southeastern Louisiana, the Gamecocks were able to come back strong for their first home game against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and pull out a victory.

About half way through the first quarter, Chattanooga was unable to score a touchdown, ao instead they went for a field goal in an attempt to get some points on the board. UTC kicker, Victor Ulmo, was able to successfully put these first few points on the board for UTC. 

It was not long until the Gamecocks answered back. Four minutes later, JSU came back with a touchdown by Jamari Kinsley who received a 39-yard pass from Zerrick Cooper and an extra point from Bryant Wallace, putting the first quarter to an end. 

Five minutes into the second quarter, JSU came back even stronger and scored their second touchdown by Austin Kinsley in a 28-yard rush and Bryant Wallace putting the extra point on the scoreboard. This was followed by yet another touchdown by the gamecocks, giving JSU a generous lead for the game. Chattanooga continued to fall short of scoring a touchdown, forcing them to go for another field goal, which was once again successful by UTC kicker Victor Ulmo, bringing the score 20-6 at halftime. 

Once the third quarter began, Chattanooga came back stronger and more determined to gain the lead. They were able to finally score a touchdown by starting quarterback Nick Tiano with a two-yard rush. However, JSU answered back quickly with a touchdown from a risky 40-yard pass in the fourth down by Zerrick Cooper to Trae Barry. 

“Magic! It was one of those plays where you’re on the sidelines or in the stands just sitting there watching the ball and everybody’s eyes get big, but that’s one of our strengths, and I love that about our team,” said Head Coach John Grass about the 40-yeard touchdown. “We really don’t care who makes the play, it just has to be made. Trae was having a tremendous night and he came through again. Coop put it up there. That’s another thing about Coop, he trusts us to make plays, so he’s going to give us the opportunity regardless of what’s going on.”

After another touchdown from the Gamecocks, UTC answered back just as quick, scoring another touchdown from a two-yard rush by Ailym Ford and Victor Ulmo putting an extra point on the board for the Mocs. At the end of the third quarter, the score stood at a close 27 to 20, giving UTC a chance to come back for a win

Come the fourth quarter, the Gamecocks had control of the ball. Within just 15 plays and a total of six minutes and 27 seconds, JSU’s redshirt freshman Austin Kinsey scored the first touchdown of the fourth quarter. Once JSU regained possession, after forcing UTC to punt, starting quarterback Zerrick Cooper was able to rush one yard to score the second touchdown for the fourth quarter. The game ended with JSU 41 and Chattanooga 20.

Wide receiver Josh Person, had three complete catches from quarterback Zerrick Cooper, and also had a total gain of 25 yards throughout the game. As for quarterback Zerrick Cooper, he had an undoubtedly great game with a total of two touchdowns, one interception and a total gain of 334 yards.

After the game, third year player Zion Webb said, “It felt great to win.” It can be easily assumed that the rest of the team felt the same way. JSU football team is now 1-1 for their record and this game had put Chattanooga’s record 1-1 as well. 

“We didn’t play well in our first game, but we didn’t let that define us. We came back, we played well at home, had a great crowd and the atmosphere was top-notch from the Southerners to cheerleaders to Cocky. We had close to 20,000 people, so it was a good night all around. We beat a good Chattanooga team, but we still made some mistakes we’ve got to correct.” said Grass about Saturday’s game. 

“There are some things that we did well, that we did a lot better than we did in the opener, so I did see a will to win from our team. We knew Chattanooga was always a really good game. We couldn’t put them all the way away and they battled back, but our team responded,” continued Grass. “It was just good to see when they scored, our offense came back and scored again. We didn’t get rattled. We came out pretty healthy and excited about moving on to this next week.”

For the next two games, the Gamecocks will be playing at home. The next game will be this Saturday, September 14 against Eastern Washington and then against the University of North Alabama the following Saturday, September 21.

To follow JSU football for future events and updates, you can follow them on Facebook at JSU Gamecocks Athletics, on Twitter and Instagram atJSUGamecocksFB.

Photo courtesy of JSU

Overtime thriller gives Grass first win

~ Steve Lathan/JSU
~ Steve Lathan/JSU

John Grass earned his first win as head coach of the Jacksonville State Gamecocks as they defeated the Chattanooga Mocs 26-23 in an overtime thriller.

Jacksonville State approached the game ranked No. 9 and Chattanooga was ranked No. 13.

All of the Gamecocks touchdowns came from running the ball. Miles Jones, DaMarcus James and Eli Jenkins all scored on a rushing touchdown.

Chattanooga didn’t score at all on offense.

The scoring started when Miles Jones ran 12-yards for a Jacksonville State touchdown. Chattanooga would then score on defense as Eli Jenkins was intercepted by Dee Virgin for a 55-yard return. The Gamecocks had their longest drive of the game in the second quarter. DaMarcus James ended the 11 plays, 88-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to make the score 14-7. The kicker, Connor Rouleau, added three points with a field goal. The 42-yard field goal was Rouleau’s first career attempt and first career make. Chattanooga would then score again on another interception return. Lucas Webb intercepted Max Shortell to make it 17-14 at halftime.

The second half was more of a defensive game as nothing but field goals were kicked. Rouleau kicked a 21-yard field goal in the third quarter to make it 20-14. Chattanooga would then kick two field goals of their own to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Chattanooga would score first in the overtime. The Mocs kicked a 29-yard field goal to put them up three. All the Gamecocks needed was a touchdown to win the game and Eli Jenkins made sure they got it. Jenkins scored the game winning touchdown on a 13-yard run. The touchdown gave Coach Grass his first win as head coach.

The Gamecocks defense was strong as they only allowed 111 total yards. This was the fewest total yards allowed against a JSU team since the Gamecocks moved to Division I in 1995. Chattanooga only had 38 passing yards with 73 rushing yards. Jacksonville State on the other hand, had 409 yards of total offense. The Gamecocks had 124 passing yards and 285 rushing yards.

DaMarcus James led the rushing with 112 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown gave James 36-career rushing touchdowns which is third in JSU history.

Eli Jenkins was named OVC Offensive Player of the Week and Devaunte Sigler was named OVC Newcomer of the Week.

The Gamecocks have a bye-week this week and will get ready for their home opener against West Alabama on Sept. 20.

Marvel Robinson 
Sports Editor

Tough debut for Grass ends with a loss

~ JSU Sportswire
                                                          ~ JSU Sportswire

The Gamecocks lost 45-7 to the Spartans in the debut of new head coach John Grass. 

It was clear to see that the Jacksonville State Gamecocks were outmatched by the Spartans of Michigan State. Michigan State is the defending Big Ten champion and a serious contender to be in the inaugural College Football Playoff.

JSU came out strong with the first play of the game. It was a 32-yard pass from quarterback Eli Jenkins to wide receiver Josh Barge. That play turned out to be the Gamecocks longest play of the game. However, they did not score on that drive.

The Gamecocks scored their only touchdown in the third quarter when Max Shortell completed a 9-yard pass to Markis Merrill. Freshman placekicker Conner Rouleau scored his first point as a Gamecock with the extra point. The drive consisted of 9 plays and 54 yards.

Michigan State scored 38 of their 45 points in the first half. Connor Cook completed 2 passing touchdowns to Tony Lippett and a third one to AJ Troup. The three passing touchdowns consisted of 64, 71 and 17 yards. Nick Hill scored twice on a 17-yard run and an 8-yard run. Michael Geiger ended the half with a 35-yard field goal. Michigan State last touchdown came in the third quarter when Tyler O’Connor ran it in for three yards.

The Gamecocks had a low total of 22 rushing yards to Michigan State’s 211 rushing yards. DaMarcus James of the Gamecocks had no touchdowns, snapping a streak of 12-straight games with at least one rushing touchdown.

There were 11 Gamecocks that made their first career start on Friday’s game vs. Michigan State. The four on offense were Ruben Gonzalez, Justin Lea, Casey Dunn and Bo Brummel. The seven on defense were LaMichael Fanning, Devaunte Sigler, Tre Garland, Michael Carlisle, Folo Johnson, DeBarriaus Miller and Jaylen Hill.

Bo Brummel caught a 6-yard pass from Jenkins to give him his first career catch in a JSU uniform. Ruben Gonzalez also made his first career catch as a JSU player with a 23-yard pass from Shortell.

JSU senior linebacker Ben Endress recorded 10 tackles which led all defenders.  This marked his third-career double-digit tackle game.

John Grass became the first coach in Jacksonville State history to face an FBS opponent in his debut with the Gamecocks.

There were 75,127 in attendance at the game. This marks the second-largest crowd to ever watch the Gamecocks play behind 82,691 at Florida on Nov. 17, 2012.

Next up for Coach Grass and the Gamecocks is Chattanooga. The game will take place Saturday at 5 p.m. in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Marvel Robinson 
Sports Editor