On Nov. 17, the Gamecocks concluded their football season with a trip to Florida for a visit to “The Swamp.” The then-6th ranked team in the BCS shut down Jacksonville State’s offense, snapping a streak of 133 games, longest in the OVC, in which the Gamecocks had scored in.
The last time the Gamecocks were shutout was against another FBS foe in arch rival Troy in 2000.
JSU had opportunities early to knock the door down in the scoring department after the Gamecocks quickly found themselves inside the Gator ten on the first drive of the game.
On the first play of the game senior QB Marques Ivory found senior receiver Kevyn Cooper on the right side for a short pass play.
Cooper was quickly sandwiched between two Gators but when the pile fell to the ground, Copper caught himself and began racing down the sideline. The play went for 76 yards shocking the Gator crowd of over 80,000 fans, the largest crowd to ever watch Jacksonville State. It was the longest nonscoring play in the programs’ division I history.
However, the drive stalled shortly after and a Griffin Thomas field goal attempt was missed wide. Florida marched down the field and scored on a seven yard rush taking a 7-0 lead. After a field goal late in the quarter the score was 10-0, Florida, after the first quarter.
While Jacksonville State made strides to put points up, they were unsuccessful. But the Gamecock defense was outstanding and shutout the Gators in the second quarter with help from senior Nick Johnson’s field goal block just before the half.
The Gamecocks trailed by only 10 at the break.
The Gamecocks were backed inside their own five yard line to start their first drive of the second half and were limited with plays.
In an attempt to move the ball out from deep in Gator territory, Ivory tossed an interception that was shortly run back into the endzone for a touchdown.
Florida took a 17-0 lead.
The momentum turned from that point and JSU was unable to makeup much noise for a comeback, especially with QBs Ivory
and Coty Blanchard being knocked out late with injuries.
The Gamecock defense played as well against the Gators as any SEC team and only allowed two more field goals, and finished with only the one offensive touchdown allowed all day.
DaMarcus James was only able to gain 37 yards on the ground in the rushing offense, while Ivory passed for 14/25 for 169 yards.
Senior receiver Trey Smith brought in the most catches with five, but 48 yards didn’t match Cooper’s total of 93. Seniors Alan Bonner and Washaun Ealey each grabbed two passes.
Jacksonville State finished 6-5, their worst record in a few years, and once again missed the playoffs. The Gamecocks hope to bring a more competitive game plan next season with a returning defense and offensive keys, along with not having two SEC schools on the schedule may help in getting JSU in the newly expanded 24 team playoffs.