~ 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

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