Jacksonville State had made a habit of playing Southeast Missouri State in close games in recent years; that was not the case Saturday after a 31-16 win.
The Gamecocks took the field honoring the 1992 Division II National Championship team by wearing throwback helmet decals.
SEMO drew first blood. A drive that started on their own one ended with a 5-yard touchdown run by sophomore fullback Brandon Beck. The drive went 99 yards and lasted 6:04. SEMO led 7-0
The Gamecocks struck back quickly with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Marques Ivory to Kevyn Cooper to tie the game at 7-7. The 9 play drive went 84-yards in 4:10.
Early in the 2nd Quarter, JSU punter Hamish MacInnes punted the Redhawks inside their own one. SEMO was in familiar territory and was well on their way to another 99-yard touchdown drive until a defensive stand forced them to settle for a 42-yard field goal. SEMO led 10-7.
JSU would score the final points of the half on a 1-yard touchdown run by redshirt freshman running back DaMarcus James. JSU led 14-10.
JSU started their next drive at their own 22. They drove down the field getting as close as SEMO’s 1 before being forced to settle for a 20-yard field goal. JSU led 17-10.
SEMO would not quit. Senior running back Renard Celesttin capped off a 14-play 70-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown drive to begin the
fourth quarter. Kicker Drew Geldbach missed the tying PAT. JSU led 17-16.
The Gamecocks pulled away.
JSU increased their lead to 8 on a 20-yard pass from Marques Ivory to Alan Bonner for a touchdown.
The Gamecocks’ final points came on an 8-yard touchdown run from DaMarcus James.
The game ended with the Gamecocks running their favorite play, the quarter back kneel.
Head coach Jack Crowe took one glance at the stats before saying, “Everything about this says we played a quality football team.”
DaMarcus James rushed for a career high 150-yards on 21 carries.
After throwing two interceptions last week, one for a touchdown, quarterback Marques Ivory was 14-18 for 161-yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Gamecock offense did not turn the ball over this week.
JSU’s offensive line had a dominating performance giving up no sacks and gaining 268-yards on the ground. Each scoring drive went for 61-yards.
In a season filled with questions surrounding the Gamecock defense, the Red Bandits put on their best performance of the season giving up 303 total yards, the lowest total this season.
Sophomore defensive tackle Caleb Lawrence and sophomore safety Pierre Warren led the team with nine tackles.
“I can’t say enough about the job Adam (Ross) and Davern (Williams) have done with our players, ” said Crowe. Adam Ross and Davern Williams are the offensive and defensive line coaches.
With Saturday’s win, JSU improves to 2-2 on the year, 1-1 in the OVC and now own a five game winning streak against SEMO.
JSU returns to action on Saturday as they travel to Cookeville, Tennessee to take on Tennessee Tech.