Jacksonville State seeks momentum again
By Brandon A Baylor, FCS Intern
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Back to the future.
The Jacksonville State Gamecocks might wish they could have finished their Football Championship Subdivision season where they were less than a month ago - undefeated in early November.
Now they hope to start moving forward again by going backward to their early season play.
The Gamecocks were 8-0 and ranked No. 2 in The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top 25. The final 15 days of the regular season weren't so kind, as they suffered two losses in their last three games.
Dropping six spots down in the poll, the nation's No. 8-ranked squad let the Ohio Valley Conference title slip away. The Gamecocks lost to Eastern Kentucky on Nov. 6 and then to Tennessee Tech on Nov. 20, when the Golden Eagles managed to come back in the fourth quarter of a 35-24 upset, which allowed Southeast Missouri State to win the OVC with a 7-1 record.
Now Jacksonville State (9-2) has little momentum for Saturday's second-round playoff game against No. 7-ranked Wofford - the first playoff game at Burgess- Snow Field in nearly 20 years.
Head Coach Jack Crowe believes otherwise, however. "Of course it would look like from the games that we have lost our drive has been taken away, but it hasn't" he said. "We're still the same team we have been the whole season."
The Gamecocks, who opened the season with a win over Ole Miss, are ranked No. 2 in the OVC, averaging 33.8 points a game.
They have a balanced offensive attack with the combination of Jamal Young, Calvin Middleton, Darius Barksdals, Coty Blanchard and Alphonso Freeney, who have all for rushed more than 200 yards this season. Starting quarterback Marques Ivory has provided solid play with 2,078 passing yards and 17 touchdowns. Tight end Cory Freeman and left tackle Curt Porter were All-OVC first-team selections.
Defensively, senior linebacker Antonio Bonner has a team-high 71 tackles, while defensive lineman Monte Lewis and safety Keginald Harris earned All-OVC first-team honors.
Crowe said, "With all this talent, you can't be down at all. We're just happy to be able to host and play in the FCS playoffs."
11/30 16:18:15 ET