Photo: Jacksonville State quarterback Bryant Horn (left) hands off to Roc Thomas during the Gamecocks’ 41-25 win over Eastern Kentucky last Saturday (Oct. 14) at JSU. (Mike Goodson/Messenger)
By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
Jacksonville State jumped to a quick 14-0 lead against Eastern Kentucky last Saturday (Oct. 14) and never looked back on the way to a 41-25 win at Burgess-Snow Field.
It was the Gamecocks’ 27th consecutive Ohio Valley Conference win and served notice that JSU would not relinquish their conference crown without a fight.
Jacksonville led 31-3 at the half and the game was well in hand at that point.
“This is a pat on the back for everyone who has worked hard to build this program,” said JSU head coach John Grass. “There has been hard work on the field, but also a lot of hard work went into this success off the field.”
Jacksonville State (5-1, 3-0 OVC) used a 66-yard kickoff return to score its first touchdown after a four-play drive that lasted 1:28.
EKU answered with a drive to the JSU 7-yard line, but an interception in the end zone ended the threat. Jacksonville State answered with a six-play, 80-yard drive that lasted just 2:21 and was capped by a 12-yard Roc Thomas touchdown run. The ensuing extra point made it 14-0.
The Colonels (1-5, 1-3 OVC) got on the board with a 30-yard field goal by Lucas Williams with 4:52 left in the second quarter. With less than two minutes left in the second quarter, however, JSU capped a nine-play, 93-yard drive with a 31-yard touchdown pass and then returned an interception for 73 yards to pull away, 31-3, at the halftime break.
EKU turned the ball over four times in the game while Jacksonville State did not give the ball away. JSU outgained Eastern Kentucky, 184 to 57 on the ground and 34 to 252 overall.
“The first half, outside of our kickoff coverage, I thought we played about as well as we can play,” said Grass. “You’re seeing (on Saturday) what we’re seeing in practice. We’ve been really practicing well, and it showed tonight.”
JSU travels to Eastern Illinois next week before returning home to play Southeast Missouri.