Tag: Football

JSU defeats Murray State, hair raising game ends 14-12

Josie Howell, Sports Editor

The Jacksonville State football team was able to come back from a tough loss against Southeast Missouri with a win last Saturday against Murray State with a close score of 14-12. This was JSU’s second game of the season being played in pouring rain, this particular game being the worst weather the Gamecocks have ever had to play in. The rain itself would test the Gamecocks ability to persevere and perform in any given circumstance.

Continue reading “JSU defeats Murray State, hair raising game ends 14-12”

Southeastern Missouri puts an end to Gamecock home winning streak

Josie Howell, Sports Editor

After winning every home game of the season so far, the Gamecocks went into Saturday’s game with their heads high, but Southeastern Missouri would be the first team to really challenge the Gamecocks on their home field. 

Continue reading “Southeastern Missouri puts an end to Gamecock home winning streak”

Hot Take: Is John Grass in the hot seat?

Garrett SandersSports Correspondent

John Grass is one of the most prominent head football coaches that Jacksonville State University football has ever had in its 115-year football history. With a 55-14 record in a span of six seasons, one would think his job is safe and secure. However, even with the recent success of Grass, he could be under fire.

Grass has taken the JSU Football program from the dead and has resurrected it into being a feared football program, not just in the OVC, but the FCS as well. He has won five straight Ohio Valley Conference Championships and has made the FCS Playoffs in every year he has coached. So, what’s the big deal? How is Grass’s coaching job in question?

Is it a lack of recruiting talent for JSU? When you have star players like Eli Jenkins, Troymaine Pope, Josh Pearson, Marlon Bridges and recent NFL draftee Siran Neal? There is no issue there.

What about winning games consistently? During Grass’s time at Jacksonville State, he has only lost an Ohio Valley Conference game twice in five years! That’s very impressive for someone of his caliber in coaching, coming from a small FCS school like JSU. So, if recruiting and regularly winning year by year isn’t the issue, what is?

During Grass’s tenure at Jacksonville State, he has made the FCS playoffs all five years he’s been head coach. But what if I told you out of those five years, he has only four career playoff wins?

Out of those five years, Grass has only made it out of the second round of the playoffs one time! That, of course, was the year JSU went on to a deep playoff run and were runners-up to the eventual National Champion North Dakota State in 2015.

Grass, to say the least, has had trouble making a deep playoff run throughout his five years at JSU, but there is also one more significant factor that has recently caught the attention of JSU fans everywhere. That is the fact that Grass has struggled in the past 11 games. He has gone 7-4 and keep in mind that a regular season in the FCS is 11 games.

During Grass’s five years at JSU, he has never lost more than three games in an 11 game FCS regular season. These past 11 games are certainly not the norm for JSU football. Perhaps this is a step in the wrong direction.

Greg Seitz has been very patient with Grass and the JSU football program during the time Grass has been at JSU, but with the recent track record, tables could be turning if Grass doesn’t start producing wins regularly that JSU is accustomed to seeing.

With the recent controversial football hype video that has gone viral, it seems the football program has lost control of its class act. Not to mention the fact that JSU has been making heavily careless mistakes on the football field. This comes from a general lack of discipline on the team.

Winning is a significant factor in what makes JSU football flow. However, with the recent “downfall” of JSU’s football program, it could be time for Greg Seitz to pull the plug on Grass.

On the other hand, Grass could start winning and this discussion could be irrelevant. But until the wins start coming in, we must ask the question, “Is John Grass in the hot seat?”

Let the debates begin!

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.