Cookeville, Tenn. – It took a full quarter for Jacksonville State’s offense to get cranked up against Tennessee Tech Saturday night. Once it did, the host Golden Eagles couldn’t stop the Gamecocks.
Marques Ivory passed for 268 yards and Griffin Thomas kicked a career-high three field goals as Jacksonville State dug itself out of an early 14-point hole to defeat Tennessee Tech 37-28 before a crowd of 7,141 at Tucker Stadium.
The Gamecocks, who trailed 14-13 at halftime, rolled up a season-best 566 yards of total offense to improve to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference. It was the most yards gained by JSU’s offense on an opponent’s field since 2009.
Jacksonville State’s defense, meanwhile, limited Tennessee Tech to just 266 yards – or two yards fewer than Ivory recorded with his arm.
Jacksonville State scored twice in a span of 2:42 late in the third quarter to seize control.
After Doug Page scored to give the Golden Eagles a 28-16 lead with 4:07 left in the third, JSU answered with a quick strike of its own to regain momentum.
Freshman Telvin Brown returned a kickoff 72 yards to the TTU 27. Backup quarterback Coty Blanchard on first down ran into the end zone and Thomas tacked on the extra point to make it 28-23 at the 3:48 mark. It was Jax State’s first one-play scoring drive since 2010.
A 55-yard Tennessee Tech punt pinned the Gamecocks at the 3 on their next possession. On the drive’s fourth play, Ivory hit Brown in stride in front of the Golden Eagles’ bench and the freshman outran the defenders to complete the 86-yard touchdown pass.
Thomas tacked on the extra point to give the Gamecocks their first lead, 30-28, with 1:06 remaining in the third quarter.
The teams combined for 321 yards and 31 points during the frenetic third quarter.
The Gamecocks dominated the second quarter – piling up 170 yards to Tennessee Tech’s 33 – and came away with points on all three of their drives to pull with a point (14-13) at halftime.
Thomas kicked field goals of 34 and 32 yards and DaMarcus James scored on a 4-yard run. James finished with a game-high 130 yards on 28 carries.
The Golden Eagles struck first, piecing together a 69-yard, five-play drive on their second possession. Tre Lamb connected with Cody Matthews for 34 yards and to Stephen Bush for 17 more as Tennessee Tech drove into the red zone.
Bud Golden followed with runs of nine and eight yards and Lamb finished off the drive with a 1-yard run at the 9:59 mark for a 7-0 TTU lead.
JSU responded with a lengthy 13-play drive that eventually stalled at the TTU 6. Thomas came on to attempt a 24-yard field goal, but his kick sailed wide right.
Tennessee Tech stretched its lead to 14-0 on JSU’s next possession when TTU’s Caleb Matthews intercepted a Coty
Blanchard pass and returned the pick-six 49 yards. Zach Sharp tacked on the extra point to stretch the Golden Eagles’ lead to 14-0 with 2:16 to play in the opening quarter.
Next up for Jacksonville State is a trip to Eastern Illinois (3-3, 2-1 OVC) next Saturday.
The Gamecocks return home on Oct. 20 for a showdown against current conference leader Tennessee State. Kickoff is at 11 a.m. and the game will be nationally televised by Fox College Sports.
- Captains for the Gamecocks: senior QB Marques Ivory, senior OLB Brooks Robinson, and senior DE DiMetrio Tyson
- Jacksonville State won the coin toss and deferred to the second half.
- True freshman Jermaine Hough earned the start at cornerback, the first of his career. He becomes the 14th Gamecock to make his first career start this season.
- Jacksonville State is now 10-6 all-time against Tennessee Tech and snapped a series-long two-game losing streak to the Golden Eagles.
- Tonight marked the sixth time JSU has worn red pants under Crowe. It now holds a 4-2 record in those pants. JSU’s previous games with red bottoms: 9/27/08 at EIU (W, 27-10), 10/11/08 at EKU (L, 38-35), 9/12/09 at Fla. State (L, 19-9), 10/3/09 vs. UT Martin (W, 52-7), 10/1/11 at Murray St. (W, 38-30).
- The Gamecocks racked up 566 yards of total offense, the most since gaining 609 vs. EKU on Nov. 5, 2011. It was the most by the Gamecocks on an opponent’s field since gaining 585 at Murray State on Oct. 10, 2009.
- Marques Ivory‘s 86-yard touchdown pass to freshman Telvin Brown was the longest passing play in the Jack Crowe era and tied Doc Lett’s pass to Mike Munhall vs. Samford on Sept. 21, 1968, for the third-longest in school history. It was the longest pass completion by JSU since Montressa Kirby’s 93-yard pass to Joey Hamilton vs. SW Missouri on Sept. 6, 1997.
- Senior Marques Ivory‘s 268 passing yards gives him 10-straight 100-yard passing games, excluding the 2011 opener in which he was injured in the second quarter. It was his 17th career 100-yard passing game.
- Ivory’s night marked the fifth 200-yard passing performance in his career and the first since Nov. 13, 2010. His 268 yards were the third-most in his career.
- Sophomore DaMarcus James ran for 130 yards in the win, his third 100-yard rushing performance of the season. He becomes the seventh Gamecock to run for 100 yards against TTU in 16 all-time meetings.
- Senior Washaun Ealey‘s one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter snaps a three-game touchdownless skid, the longest of his career, including his two years at UGA.
- Sophomore Brenton Tolson recorded his first career sack on the game’s first drive, a 12-yard loss that thwarted Tech’s opening possession.
- Tolson intercepted Tre Lamb to end the first half, his first career pick and the first by JSU this season. The last time JSU didn’t record a pick in the first four games was 2009.
- Freshman Telvin Brown became the first JSU player not named Alan Bonner to return a punt in 2012 vs. TTU. On the night, he had four returns for 29 yards.
- Brown also returned kickoffs for the first time, with his first going for 34 yards late in the first quarter and another for 72 yards that set up a score. He ended the night with four returns for 144 yards, a 36.0 yard average per return.
- Sophomore Rashod Byers‘ fumble recovery on a punt to start the second quarter was the first of his career and the first turnover forced by JSU since the first quarter of the Chattanooga game on Sept. 8. During that stretch, JSU turned it over five times.
- Sophomore DaMarcus James scored his team-leading fifth touchdown of the season late in the second quarter.
- Junior kicker Griffin Thomas made a career-high three field goals in the game to lift him to a career-best 13 points. His previous high was nine vs. Chattanooga on Sept. 8 and his night ties him for the third-most in a game in JSU’s Div. I history.
- Griffin Thomas‘ three field goals ties him for the school record for players not named Gavin Hallford. Hallford holds the school’s Div. I record with four (three times).
- Coty Blanchard‘s 27-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was JSU’s first one-play scoring drive of the season and its first since Nov. 20, 2010, also at Tennessee Tech.
BY THE NUMBERS
10 – Consecutive 100-yard passing games by Ivory excluding the 2011 opener in which he was injured in second quarter.
12 – Quarters between JSU’s last turnover and the fumble recovered by Byers in the second quarter.
13 – Points by PK Griffin Thomas in the game, a career high and ties for third-most points by kicking in JSU’s Div. I history.
27 – Career passing touchdowns by senior Marques Ivory, tying Dieter Brock for eighth in school history.
86 – Yards on Telvin Brown‘s first career touchdown catch, the longest pass play in the Jack Crowe era and tied for third longest in school history.
128 – Consecutive games in which the Gamecocks have scored, a streak that dates back to Nov.18, 2000, when they were last shut out.
130 – Rushing yards by DaMarcus James, his third 100-yard rushing game this season.
137 – Yards by which JSU outgained TTU in the second quarter (170-33).
266 – Total yards by TTU, the lowest output by a JSU opponent since Oct. 15, 2011, when Austin Peay had the same total.
268 – Passing yards by Marques Ivory, his fifth career 200-yard game and first since Nov. 13, 2010.
566 – Total yards by JSU, a season high and the most by JSU on the road since gaining 585 at Murray State on Oct. 10, 2009.
Courtesy JSU Media Relations