In front of a homecoming crowd of fans, Jacksonville State won its 55th homecoming football game. The victory made homecoming week better, was a milestone for Coach Crowe, and kept the Gamecocks in the OVC title race.
Freshman Jermaine Hough, who grabbed his first two interceptions last week, snagged his third of the season on Murray State’s second drive. The Gamecocks received the ball on in Racer territory and on the first play of the drive senior running back Washaun Ealey carried the ball 29 yards for a touchdown.
Murray State QB Casey Brockman, a Walter Payton Award candidate, led the Racers back down the field to tie the game at seven. Brockman had a bittersweet day. He broke the Ohio Valley Conference all-time passing mark, but in a game he struggled in and ultimately lost.
The Racers took a 14-7 lead before the Gamecocks capitalized on another Brockman interception and had another short field. Ealey punched in his second touchdown after JSU had to drive just 16 yards.
A wild first quarter came to an end tied at 14, but the second picked up where the first left off. Murray State scored to take the lead before JSU answered back when senior QB Marques Ivory hit freshman receiver Telvin Brown for a 41 yard TD strike to tie the game at 21.
The Racers reclaimed the lead, but the Gamecocks put together a remarkable drive closing in on halftime. Jax State drove 72 yards in just under seven minutes and scored a touchdown with eight seconds remaining when Ivory found Alan Bonner for a short four yard toss to the endzone. The 19 play drive was the longest, plays wise, drive for JSU this season and was aided when the Gamecocks set up for a field goal and a Murray State offsides resulted in a first down.
The halftime score was tied at 28.
The Gamecocks came out just as hot in the third, driving 65 yards in just over three minutes to go up 35-28 after Ealey’s third rushing TD on the day. The scoring slowed down a bit and after Murray State toed the game once again, both teams entered the fourth deadlocked at 35.
In the fourth the Gamecocks constructed another impressive drive, 15 plays and over six minutes, but it didn’t reach the goal line. Griffin Thomas came on for a 38-yard field goal which gave JSU the late lead.
The Gamecocks had to hold off Murray State and Brockman on two late drives, but DiMetrio Tyson’s last play sack on Brockman sealed the deal for JSU.
Washuan Ealey led the Gamecocks rushing with 146 yards on 37 carries scoring three touchdowns on his way to earning OVC honors.
Ivory added 205 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Griffin Thomas’ eventual game-winning field goal was his third of the season after having one as time expired against Chattanooga, and one in overtime last week to beat Tennessee State.
Alan Bonner and Kevyn Cooper each had five catches for 64 and 55 yards respectively.
Hamish MacInnes downed three of his five punts inside the 20. Young defensive stars led the way on JSU’s defense, with sophomore linebacker Ben Endress and freshman corner Jermaine Hough each having seven tackles.
The Gamecocks travel to UT- Martin Saturday to face the Skyhawks, who are tied for first in the OVC before JSU returns home to face Austin Peay in the final home game.