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Thomas kicks Gamecocks past rival UT Chattanooga


The Gamecocks earned their first win of the season Saturday night after Griffin Thomas nailed a 37-yard field goal as time expired in front of nearly 19,000 at Burgess Snow Field. The Gamecocks had lost what at one point was a 17 point lead and saw Chattanooga tie the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion with just 39 seconds remaining in the fourth.

Who knew a missed field goal by the Mocs just two minutes into the game on their first drive would come back to haunt them so much? On the first play from scrimmage, UTC freshman QB Jacob Huesman, making his first career start, rushed 62 yards to get inside JSU's 20. The Gamecocks would force a field goal try, which was wide right.

Gamecocks QB Marques Ivory would lead a seven-minute ensuing drive for JSU that made it inside the UTC 10 yard line, but was backed up on a holding penalty. Thomas kicked a 33-yard field goal to give JSU an early 3-0 lead. Huesman was leading another drive into JSU territory for UTC before junior Rashad Smith forced him to fumble. Pierre Warren scooped up the fumble and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown, the first career touchdown for the sophomore out of Prattville, AL.

Late in the second, JSU took over at midfield when sophomore DeMarcus James took the second play of the drive 43 yards for a score on the handoff from Coty Blanchard. JSU led 17-0. Chattanooga would take one final drive down the field and on fourth and one on the one with only a second to go in the half, UTC went for it and scored rather than taking a field goal.

After a field goal by Chattanooga opened the second half, JSU drove down and scored on Blanchard's 30-yard strike to DeMarcus James, who scored his first career touchdowns rushing and receiving in the same game. JSU led 24-10 at that point but Chattanooga, a scrappy team from the Southern Conference, wouldn't go away, and with 39 seconds remaining were celebrating a successful two-point conversion that tied the game at 24.

Sophomore Gabriel Chamber returned the UTC squib kick to midfield, where Ivory would lead a quick drive to the 20 for Thomas's kick.

JSU avoided a major letdown and has to clean up the penalties, having seven for 55 yards. UTC's Huesman, who looks to be a rising star, gained 357 total yards and three touchdowns between rushing and passing, but JSU stopped him when it was necessary. For Jax State, James and Troymaine Pope both rushed for over 100 yards, while Ivory passed for 157 yards, 70 to Alan Bonner, who led with five catches. The Aussie Hamish MacInnes booted five punts, the longest 53 yards, downing one inside the 20 and two more for touchbacks.

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