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.