Tag: UTC

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

Gamecock football prepares for first home game of 2019

Josie Howell, Sports Editor

After the August 29 loss against Southeastern Louisiana, the Gamecocks are preparing for their first home game of the season against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 

The last time these two teams played was in August of 2017, which ended in a victory for the Gamecocks, with a 27-13 final score. 

Since then, both the Gamecocks and Mocs have retired many players and have added new players to their roster, so anything is possible for Saturday’s game.

“I think we have a high chance of winning this game despite the issues we had the past game,” said starting quarterback Zerrick Cooper. “As for me going into this game, I’m going to treat it like a normal game nothing more. I think it’s a good thing to play in front of our crowd. It gives us an opportunity to showcase our team to them as they continue to cheer and support us.” 

In last Thursday’s game against Southeastern Louisiana, Cooper threw for a total of 414 yards and he is expected to bring the same energy and talent to this Saturday’s game against UTC. Cooper brought in well over 3,000 yards in the 2018 season and has made a huge impact for the Gamecocks.

“We are just looking forward to getting back on the field and responding to a tough loss against Southeastern Louisiana,” said JSU’s safety Darius Joiner. “I’m excited to play in front of our loyal JSU fans. We waited all summer to get to put on a show for our fans. [To prepare] we’re going to watch film and go into the game and execute the game plan that was set out for us all week.” 

Joiner had a career high of 27 tackles in the 2018 season. He also made an impressive seven tackles in the game against Southeastern Louisiana, and he also had three solos and four assists.

Jalen Choice, a JSU linebacker who had four tackles, four assists and one solo during the Gamecocks loss last week, has been a key player for Jacksonville State’s defense.

“I approach every game the same no matter who we play,” said Linebacker Jale Choice about how he plans to approach Saturday’s game. “I am really excited to play in front of our home crowd. I hope everyone comes and supports for the entire game!” 

UTC’s starting quarterback, Nick Tiano, is one to be on the lookout for during the game Saturday. In his 2018 season, Tiano brought in a total of 2,949 yards and he now has an impressive career high of 4,207 yards. Tiano also played an integral role in the Mocs Victory in their season opener against Eastern Illinois.

UTC linebackers Marshall Cooper and Ty Boeck are both key players for the Mocs defense and made a big impact in their game against Eastern Illinois. Both players combined for a total of 16 tackles, Cooper with 10 and Boeck with a career best of six tackles.

This match-up is just one of seven home games for the Gamecocks. The game will be held on Saturday, September 7, at Burgess Snow Field, beginning at 6 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Matt Reynolds/JSU

Horn passes first test as JSU’s new quarterback

Bryant Horn warms up prior to Jacksonville State’s 27-13 victory over UTC (JSU Athletics)

Daniel Mayes, Staff Writer

Replacing a legend can’t be easy.

That’s the unenviable task set upon Jacksonville State Redshirt Junior quarterback Bryant Horn this season after the departure of arguably JSU’s greatest quarterback in Eli Jenkins.

Horn’s task seems even more daunting when you consider that Jenkins’s favorite target and JSU legend in his own right, Josh Barge, is no longer around to ease Horn’s transition.

However, despite all the pressure that comes with being “the guy” as the new starting quarterback, facing a bitter rival and playing on a nationally-televised game on ESPN in his first game to boot, after a 27-13 victory over Tennessee-Chattanooga, Horn is off to a pretty good start.

In a game in which senior running back Roc Thomas, who accumulated 190 all-purpose yards, and the stifling Gamecock defense got most of the headlines and credit for the victory, Horn put forth a solid performance, connecting on 14 of his 20 pass attempts in his first outing, totaling 182 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.

“[Horn’s] leadership was outstanding from the jump of the game,” said Thomas, who was named FCS Offensive Player of the Week for his performance. “His leadership, his sticking with the plan of the game and his persistence was amazing.”

After a rocky first series in which the Gamecocks went three-and-out, Horn was able to calm his team down on their second possession and led JSU to a field goal, hitting sophomore wide receiver Jamari Hester with a bullet pass over the middle for 14 yards to convert a third down.

“I thought Bryant played really well for his first game,” Coach John Grass said after the victory. “He probably made one bad throw that he forced over the middle.”

That bad throw resulted in the first of his two interceptions, with Horn miss-firing on a pass intended for Shaq Davidson that sailed high and was picked off by UTC’s Kareem Orr.

The short field allowed the Mocs to tie the game at 3-3 after converting on a field goal of their own.

After the interception, Horn quickly bounced back, making smart decisions and leading JSU into scoring range again.

Horn’s second interception then came on a potential touchdown pass late in the second quarter that bounced off the hands of Hester and was swiped by UTC’s Lucas Webb, leaving the score at 10-6 at the break.

“He’s a quiet confident guy,” Coach Grass said of Horn. “Nothing rattles him.”

Horn proved his coach right in the second half, shaking off the two interceptions to lead the Gamecock offense to a 14 play, 67-yard drive on their first possession of the second half, which resulted in another field goal.

After a pick-six from the Gamecock defense made the score 20-6, Horn and the Gamecocks put the game away with a 59-yard touchdown strike hauled in by Davidson late in the third quarter.

Horn’s performance in his first outing will not cause any comparison to the gaudy statistics his predecessor routinely racked up, but, with a weapon like Thomas on the offensive side of the ball and a defensive unit that Coach Grass calls the backbone of the team, Horn showed he doesn’t have to be Eli Jenkins for him, or the Gamecocks as a whole, to be successful.