Photo: Jacksonville State’s Zerrick Cooper attempts a pass during the Gamecocks’ 71-0 victory over Mississippi Valley State last Saturday (Sept. 8). at Burgess-Snow Field. (Mike Goodson/Messenger)
By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent
Jacksonville State rebounded from a tough season-opening loss to North Carolina A&T to thrash the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils, 71-0 on Saturday, Sept. 8 at Burgess-Snow Field.
The Gamecocks scored first-half 36 points and added another 35 in the second half for the run-away win.
Jacksonville State tied a school record with eight rushing touchdowns.
JSU head coach John Grass was happy with his team’s improvements from first game on Aug. 25.
“I thought we corrected a lot of things. We cut down on a lot of penalties and cut down our turnovers, and that kept the game moving right along in a positive direction.”
Quarterback Zerrick Cooper accounted for three touchdowns in the first half, two passing and one rushing, with Josh Pearson catching both touchdown passes as JSU exploded for a 36-0 half-time lead.
JSU’s first score came on its first possession when Jaelen Greene capped it off with a 10-yard run. Cooper passed to Daniel Byrd for the two-point conversion.
In the second quarter, Cooper passed to Pearson for a 75-yard touchdown to put the Gamecocks up 29-0. Cooper’s 1-yard run rounded out the first half scoring.
JSU added five second half TDs to extend the score to 71-0.
Cooper finished 12 of 17 in passing for 211 yards with two touchdowns, all in the first half. He added four carries for 27 yards rushing, including a 1-yard quarterback keeper for a score. Cooper played sparingly in the second half.
Jacksonville State gained 654 yards of total offense, a yard shy of the school record. The Gamecocks had 366 yards rushing and 288 passing. The Delta Devils finished with a program low of negative 8 yards rushing and 133 yards of total offense.
After its second bye week of the season, Jacksonville State (1-1) hosts Tennessee Tech on Sept. 22, to open Ohio Valley Conference play.