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Jacksonville State revels in upset of Rebels

Oxford, MS (Sports Network) - Jacksonville State didn't have to go for a 2- point conversion, and the win, in the second overtime against Mississippi on Saturday.

It's a good thing JSU coach head coach Jack Crowe didn't believe his defense could go back onto the field again if the Gamecocks tied the game with a kick.

He was kidding, of course, but there was no denying his defense was exhausted.

And it also was obvious his Football Championship Subdivision program came to win against their larger-school Southeastern Conference opponent. When the Gamecocks had a chance to topple Ole Miss, they seized the moment with a Coty Blanchard-to-Calvin Middleton 2-point conversion for a 49-48, double-overtime stunner in the season opener for both teams.

On a final crazy play, Middleton hauled in the pass from Blanchard in a crowd of players to end the Gamecocks' first win over a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent in nearly nine years.

Just moments earlier, Blanchard threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Kevyn Cooper on 4th-and-15 to pull JSU within 48-47.

"The coaches called a shovel pass," Middleton said of the 2-point conversion. "I don't even know if (Blanchard) saw me, but I knew if I could catch it I was deep enough in the end zone to score."

JSU, which would have won the Ohio Valley Conference title last year if it was not ineligible because of academic progress rate penalties, overcame a 31-10 deficit at halftime by outscoring Ole Miss 21-3 in the fourth quarter.

The Gamecocks forced overtime in the final 18.9 seconds. Marques Ivory connected with Alan Bonner for a 19-yard touchdown to pull the visitors with 34-32, then he threw a 2-point conversion to La'Ray Williams to tie the game at 34.

JSU scored on its final six possessions, including touchdowns on the last five, to send Ole Miss to its first loss against an FCS team. It was the largest deficit the Gamecocks had ever overcome for a victory.

While JSU rotated QBs, Blanchard and Ivory both threw for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Middleton rushed for 67 yards and the Gamecocks didn't commit a turnover.

09/04 22:18:39 ET

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Breaking The Line
by Samuel G. Freedman
Samuel G. Freedman's "Breaking The Line" vividly recreates the world of black college football in the civil rights era with a gripping chronicle of the 1967 season for coach Eddie Robinson at Grambling State and Alonzo S. "Jake" Gaither at Florida A&M.