Marching Southerners win, Gamecocks lose in Baton Rouge


By Mike Goodson/Sports Correspondent

The Jacksonville State/LSU football game played this past Saturday (Sept. 10) in Baton Rouge, La., was surrounded by controversy almost from the start in what eventually became a 34-13 loss for the Gamecocks.

The controversy began shortly after the announcement of LSU banning visiting bands from performing at halftime. This ruling was later overturned, and the Marching Southerners made the entire state of Alabama proud with its performance.

Enter problem No. 2, the pre-game weather.

The contest was slated for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff with a slight chance of showers. About one hour and 15 minutes before the kickoff a steady downpour began. At about the 30-minute mark before game time, lightning was observed. The stadium announcer asked everyone to evacuate the stadium and go to the designated shelters near Tiger Stadium. In all, there was a one hour and 30 minute delay due to weather conditions.

Dual-threat quarterback Eli Jenkins once again was productive for Jacksonville State (1-1), which entered the game ranked fifth nationally among teams in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.

Jenkins passed for 248 yards, including a 76-yard scoring pass to Krenwick Sanders, and rushed for 82. The JSU roster includes several transfers from Football Bowl Subdivision programs, including former LSU receiver Kevin Spears, who caught two passes for 51 yards.

LSU had 12 total yards and no first downs on its first two offensive possessions before LSU head coach Les Miles made a change at quarterback with Jacksonville leading 3-0 with 13 minutes to go in the first half.

Replacing struggling starter Brandon Harris on LSU’s third possession, Danny Etling opened with three straight scoring drives. A transfer from Purdue, Etling completed six of his first eight passes for 100 yards, including a 46-yard scoring strike to tight end DeSean Smith to cap the quarterback’s first drive.

A 2-yard touchdown run by Bry’Kiethon Mouton capped Etling’s third series. Tre Davious White then closed LSU’s’ 27-point second quarter with a 60-yard punt return on which he retreated 20 yards to his own 20 before finding his way back up field for the score. Etling also had a 2-yard scoring run.

Heisman Trophy front-runner Leonard Fournette did not play at running back, getting the night off to rest his left ankle, which took a hard hit at the end of LSU’s season-opening loss to Wisconsin. Miles said Fournette is not seriously injured.

Derrius Guice started for Fournette and rushed for 155 yards, including a 4 yard score and a 44-yard run to set up another LSU score.

Louisiana State built a 27-10 lead by halftime.

“We gave up too many explosive plays,” said Jacksonville State head coach John Grass. “But I was proud of our guys. The main thing is we matched their physicality and kept fighting for four quarters.

“To me, the difference in the game was after we cut it to 13-10 on an explosive play and then they came right back and scored two quick ones. “I thought if we could have gotten to halftime down 13-10 we would have been sitting pretty good.”

Jenkins is easily on pace to eclipse the 10,000-yard mark in career total yards by the end of this season. He entered the game already holding the JSU record for total yards with 8,688.

Jacksonville State returns home this Saturday to play Coastal Carolina.

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