Tag: Markis Merrill

Gamecocks jump over TSU 48-13 in front of 23,413 fans

~ Photo by Sydney Sorrells
~ Photo by Sydney Sorrells

JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville State Gamecocks lived up to their No. 1 FCS rank as they defeated the Tennessee State Tigers 48-13.

In the home opener for the Gamecocks, and Ohio Valley Conference opener for both teams, a record breaking 23,413 was in attendance at Burgess-Snow Field.

The Gamecocks (2-1) put on a show in front of their home crowd and won their first OVC game of the season in pursuit to a second straight OVC Championship.

Eli Jenkins led the Gamecocks with 162 passing yards, two touchdowns, and 95 rushing yards. Troymaine Pope tacked on 93 rushing yards and Josh Clemons ran for 67 yards with one touchdown. Miles Jones ended with two rushing touchdowns and Jarren Johnson recorded one rushing touchdown.

Ruben Gonzalez led in receiving with eight catches for 109 yards. Josh Barge and Markis Merrill ended with one touchdown catch apiece.

On defense, Joel McCandless led the way with nine tackles, two for a loss, and one sack. Chris Landrum recorded six tackles. Folo Johnson had four tackles along with Dawson Wells, Brandon Bender and DeBarriaus Miller. Miller recorded an interception along with Ra’Shad Green. E.J. Moss was in on a fumble recovery, while both Landrum and Joseph Roberts forced a fumble.

After going scoreless in the first quarter, the Gamecocks put the first points on the board in the second with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Jenkins to Merrill.

A defensive stop gave JSU the ball back leading 7-0. They would go up 14-0 with 3:14 left in the first half when Jenkins found Barge in the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown pass.

Green’s interception set the Gamecocks up for another touchdown right before halftime. Jones ran in from two-yards-out to extend the lead 21-0.

JSU opened the second half with a 34-yard field goal by Connor Rouleau.

TSU would then get the ball and found the end zone for their first points on an 84-yard touchdown pass. The Tigers missed the extra point so the Gamecocks led 24-6 with 11:20 left in the third quarter.

The Gamecocks didn’t respond to the Tigers score and TSU scored again when they got the ball back. Tennessee State brought the lead down to 24-13 with another touchdown pass. This left 5:57 in the third quarter.

JSU responded quickly this time and went up 30-13 with a 2-yard run from Jones.

TSU got the ball, but turned it over as Miller caught an interception to set up Clemons 1-yard touchdown run. The Gamecocks converted on a two-point conversion and went up 38-13.

Later, in the fourth quarter, Cade Stinnett converted on a 22-yard field goal to put the Gamecocks up 41-13.

The Gamecocks last touchdown came with 53 seconds left when Johnson ran in for 17 yards.

The Gamecocks dominated every phase of the game with first downs (32-9), total yards (576-208), and time-of-possession (32:15–27:45).

Next, the Gamecocks travel to play UT Martin in another OVC match-up on Sept. 26. Kick-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN3.

Marvel Robinson
Sports Editor

JSU Football wraps up J-DAY

JSU Sportswire
JSU Sportswire

In the 2015 J-DAY Spring Game, White defeated Red 17-9.

In the scrimmage, Red ran a total of 69 plays and White ran 49. In this scenario, less was more as White had 219 total yards, while running 20 less plays than Red. Red ended with 167 total yards.

Eli Jenkins led the White with two touchdowns. Jenkins passed for 151 yards completing 10-of-16 throws. He also rushed for 29 yards and a rushing touchdown of 14 yards to go with his passing touchdown.

Troymaine Pope led in rushing for White with just 36 yards. Dalton Screws was the top receiver with four catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. Screws caught a seven yard touchdown pass from Jenkins. However, Markis Merrill had the most receiving yards with 68.

On defense, Jaylen Hill led the White with eight total tackles. Darius Jackson led the Red with seven total tackles with three being tackles for losses.

For the Gamecocks Red team, Christian LeMay passed for 83 yards completing 7-of-20 passes. Dalton Etheridge also contributed at quarterback completing 7-of-11 throws with 44 yards. Miles Jones led in rushing with 40 yards and Calen Campbell ran for 36. Josh Barge led in receiving with seven catches for 91 yards.

Connor Rouleau, Cade Stinnett and Kyle Trego all made field goals in the game. Rouleau made two. One was from 44 yards out and the other from 49. Stinnett sent a 32-yd field goal through the uprights and Trego made his from 31.

The Jacksonville State Gamecocks will continue to try to get better this offseason before the first game of the season arrives on Sept. 5 when they travel to play Chattanooga.

Marvel Robinson
Sports Editor

JSU Football season ends in second round of FCS Playoffs

JSU Sportswire
JSU Sportswire

In the second round of the FCS Playoffs, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks lost 37-26 to the Sam Houston Bearkats. The Gamecocks season ends with an overall 10-2 record.

In the loss, JSU had more rushing and passing yards than Sam Houston. The Gamecocks ran for 260 yards, while Sam Houston ran for 241. Sam Houston threw for 161 yards, but the Gamecocks threw for 253.

It was 12 penalties and two turnovers that really hurt Jacksonville State. The Bearkats scored 14 points off those turnovers and they only had four penalties.

Eli Jenkins led with 337 all-purpose yards. Jenkins threw for 253 yards and added 84 yards on the ground. Jenkins had a passing and a rushing touchdown.

DaMarcus James led in rushing with 128 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was James 49th career rushing touchdown and puts him at the top of the list for career rushing touchdowns breaking David Gulledge all-time school record.

On defense, there were four Gamecocks in double digits with tackles. Ben Endress and Michael Carlisle led with 11 tackles, while Siran Neal and Folo Johnson both had 10 tackles.

On Jacksonville State’s first drive of the game, the Gamecocks drove right down the field on 5 plays for 70 yards to score the first touchdown of the game. On the drive, Jenkins completed two big passes, one to Markis Merrill for 29 yards, and the other to Josh Barge for 40 yards. The passes set up a 1-yard touchdown run by James. Sam Houston answered with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jared Johnson to Keshawn Hill to tie the score 7-7. JSU would then respond and go up 14-7 with a 73-yard touchdown pass from Jenkins to Spencer Goffigan. The score would remain 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Sam Houston struck first in the second quarter and tied the score at 14. JSU would answer with a touchdown of their own as Jenkins ran for 14 yards into the end zone. The extra point was blocked, so the score remained 20-14. It was 8:36 left in the second quarter when Sam Houston took the lead for the first time in the game going up 21-20 due to a touchdown pass from Johnson to LaDarius Brown. The Gamecocks would respond again, but this time with a 37-yard field goal by Connor Rouleau to jump ahead 23-21. Sam Houston would mock JSU with a field goal of their own to take the lead 24-23. However, JSU regained the lead with a 42-yard field goal by Rouleau right before the end of the half to lead 26-24 at halftime.

The Gamecocks played well in the first half, but the second half was the difference maker. The Gamecocks were shut out in the second half. The defense gave up two touchdowns in the third quarter to give Sam Houston the 37-26 lead. The Gamecocks had a chance to comeback, but fell short. JSU turned the ball over late in the fourth quarter and that sealed the deal.

Sam Houston will now face Villanova in the Division I Quarterfinals.

In the post-game interview, JSU head coach John Grass talked about the loss.

“They just made a few more plays than we did,” Grass said.

“Our guys played extremely hard (and) played the game physical. We did not play a bad game. At times we played extremely well today.”

Although JSU loss, John Grass was still named the American Football Coaches Association 2014 FCS Regional Coach of the Year.

JSU will look to do just as good in the regular season next year as they did this year. The Gamecocks won every single Conference game in the regular season and was named OVC Champions. Next season, the Gamecocks will look to not only make the playoffs again, but to go further than the second round and maybe to the Championship.

JSU Football wins 4 in a row

JSU Sportswire
                                                             JSU Sportswire

In only their second OVC game of the season, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (4-1, 2-0 OVC) defeated UT Martin (1-5, 0-3 OVC) 38-14. Saturday’s game marked the 36th meeting between the two teams where JSU now leads the series 29-7.

The Gamecocks played well as a team as many players contributed on both sides of the ball. Miles Jones stood out with a career high 150 rushing yards along with a touchdown to earn the honors of the OVC co-Offensive Player of the Week. The offense had a total of 497 yards with 284 rushing yards and 213 passing yards.  The defense was rock solid with a shutout in the first three quarters and only allowed UT Martin to reach the redzone once in the whole game.

JSU put the first points on the scoreboard early in the first quarter when Eli Jenkins completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Markis Merrill. JSU went up 7-0 as they moved to the second quarter with the same score. Max Shortell connected with Anthony Johnson on a 34-yard touchdown pass to put the Gamecocks up two touchdowns. After another JSU defensive stop, the Gamecocks’ offense would get the ball right back and score again. Troymaine Pope picked up a couple of first downs along with a Shortell’s 25-yard run to set Jones up for a two-yard touchdown run. The Jones score made it 21-0 with 8:34 left in the second quarter. UTM scored their touchdown on a Tony Bell 24-yard fumble return to make the score 21-7 at the half.

The third quarter was a long, scoreless quarter with little action. However, the play picked back up in the fourth quarter where JSU scored 17 points. In the post-game interview, head coach John Grass stated:

“We got to learn how to create that energy at all times and play four quarters of the same energy.”

In the fourth quarter, Jones ran for 62 yards to set up Jacksonville State’s fourth touchdown of the game where Bo Brummel caught a 12-yard pass from Jenkins to give Brummel his first career touchdown catch. This made the score 28-7, until Jaylen Hill made an interception (first in his career), which would eventually set up a Connor Rouleau 31-yard field goal to make the score 31-7. UT Martin would finally put together a drive that reached the redzone and the endzone. Trent Garland scored on a two-yard run for UTM to make the score 31-14 with 3:58 left in the game. However, it would be a little too late for a UT Martin comeback as Terrence Pendleton would recover a fumble and set up a Pope three-yard touchdown run. Dawson Wells also recorded his first career interception for JSU towards the end of the game and returned it for 29 yards. The final score would end 38-14.

“We just got to continue improving in all three phases and just get better,” said Coach Grass.

JSU has now won four-straight games and will get ready to travel to Nashville, Tenn. where they will play Tennessee State. The OVC game will start at 2 p.m on Saturday, Oct. 11 and will be broadcasted on ESPN3.

Marvel Robinson
Sports Editor

Gamecocks win first home game

~ JSU Sportswire
~ JSU Sportswire

With the help from three different quarterbacks, the Gamecocks (2-1) defeated West Alabama (2-1) 45-34.

It was announced that 18,912 were in attendance to see Jacksonville State play West Alabama. This was the first time they played since 1992 where JSU won.

Jacksonville State played three different quarterbacks and they all threw at least one touchdown. This was the first time in JSU history where three quarterbacks threw for a touchdown pass.

Eli Jenkins had a touchdown pass to Markis Merrill for 88 yards. Max Shortell had two touchdown passes to Josh Barge who had three total touchdown catches. His third touchdown catch was from Christian Lemay, the third quarterback that played.

“I’m comfortable with all three of those guys,” head coach John Grass said about the three quarterbacks.

The Gamecocks running game was effective as DaMarcus James scored a rushing touchdown to make 37 in his career. Troymaine Pope and Miles Jones both rushed for over 100 yards.

Jax State’s defense would get their first take-away of the season as Jermaine Hough intercepted a pass and scored on a 34-yard return.

The scoring started with West Alabama striking first. It only took the Tigers 3 plays and 67 yards to put the first points on the board. Kyle Caldwell had connected with Tyshaan Alston on a 5-yard pass. The Gamecocks would respond with an 88-yard pass from Jenkins to Merrill. The score would end 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Shortell would arrive at quarterback in the second quarter and throw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Barge. This would make the score 14-7 until Connor Rouleau added three more points with a field goal to make it 17-7. James would help put the Gamecocks up 24-7 as he ran in a 3-yard touchdown. West Alabama would score right before the half on a pass from Caldwell to Chad Toocheck. The halftime score was 24-14.

Both teams scored three-straight touchdowns in the second half. JSU would score their three touchdowns first as it started with Shortell passing to Barge again for a 13-yard touchdown. That drive consisted of 10 plays and 99 yards. The Gamecocks went up 31-14 to only to score again with another touchdown catch from Barge. This time, Lemay was the quarterback who threw the 14-yard touchdown pass to Barge. The touchdown pass was Lemay’s first of his career and it gave Barge a new career high of three touchdown passes. This made the score 38-14. The Gamecocks last touchdown would come on defense as Hough scored on a 34-yard interception return to make it 45-14.

West Alabama would score three last-minute touchdowns in the fourth quarter. However, it wasn’t enough as the final score ended in JSU favor 45-34.

Jacksonville State ended with 336 rushing yards and 294 passing yards. The Gamecocks total offensive yards were 630. Jaylen Hill led the team with six tackles.

“It’s good to get that first home win,” Grass said as he became the eighth Gamecock head coach to win his home-opener.

The Gamecocks are now 2-1 and eighth in the FCS. Jacksonville State will now head back on the road as they play at Murray State this Saturday in an OVC Conference game. 

Marvel Robinson
Sports Editor