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.