Jacksonville, Ala. – Jack Crowe thought he’d delivered the desired halftime message to his Jacksonville State football team as he turned to leave the locker room late Saturday afternoon at Burgess-Snow Field.
Then he heard some of his seniors speak up.
Loud and clear.
“I got through with my two cents,” Crowe said, “and then they got up and took care (of the rest).”
The Gamecocks began the second half trailing one-win Austin Peay by two points. They ended it with a 38-23 victory in front of an announced crowd of 11,523, running their record to 6-4 overall and 5-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference.
“One thing I like about this team is that our senior leadership is very vocal,” said tailback Washaun Ealey, one of 13 seniors who helped the Gamecocks finish 5-0 at home this season.
“We’ll call each other out. We knew they weren’t two points better than us. We made our adjustments, talked a little trash and got motivated.”
The defense, torched for 319 yards up to that point, buckled down, forcing a pair of three-and-outs. And the offense, on the field for only 22 plays in the first 30 minutes, went to work.
Senior quarterback Marques Ivory capped off a five-play, 66-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run off the read option. He followed that score with a 10-yard TD pass to Ealey five minutes later. Backup quarterback Coty Blanchard connected with Ealey again on the next drive from 27 yards out.
In a 10-minute span, Jacksonville State went from 16-14 down to the Governors (1-9, 0-7) to leading 35-16.
“Our fans mean the world to us. I think winning at home is really important,” said Crowe, who saw his team post its 18th come-from-behind win since the start of the 2010 season.
“Coming out in the second half, I think we played better, (but) we were really struggling to keep our focus defensively. We gave up more offensive yards to them than any other team. They had 30 more plays (than us).
Austin Peay opened up firing, quarterback Jake Ryan in particular. He shrugged off a first-drive interception by leading back-to-back scoring drives, culminating in a touchdown passes of 24 yards to Mikhail Creech and 20 yards to Devin Stark.
“We didn’t get off to a good start,” Crowe said.
The Gamecocks appeared to steady the ship when DaMarcus James crashed into the end zone from 7 yards out — one play after a 71-yard reception by senior Alan Bonner — less than two minutes into the second quarter. Ealey followed that with a 1-yard TD run six minutes later to knot the score at 14-all.
The Governors had some chances to tack on more points, but kicker Stephen Stansell missed a 30-yard field goal and had a 31-yarder blocked. They did get a bit of a momentum boost late in the half, however, when Jacksonville State had a special teams boo-boo. A punt snap near the goal line sailed over the head of Hamis MacInnes, who directed the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety with 1:48 left in the second quarter.
Minutes later, the Gamecock seniors were sparing no words with their teammates.
“We came out kind of flat, in practice mode,” said Ealey, who finished with 80 yards rushing and another 38 receiving. “But we came together as a team.”
After racing past Austin Peay in the third quarter, Jacksonville State had to weather several threats over the final 15 minutes. The Governors got within 35-23 on Ryan’s 9-yard TD pass to Reco Williams at the 14:15 mark, and they reached the Gamecocks’ 14- and 24-yard line on two other drives later in the quarter, only to turn the ball over on downs.
A 60-yard run by James (13 carries, 149 yards) with less than three minutes to play basically settled matters, leaving Ivory and his fellow seniors feeling good about their last game at home.
“It’s a good thing,” said Ivory, who completed 10-of-14 passes for 107 yards. “To go undefeated at home, that’s a hard thing to do.”
JACK CROWE QUOTES:
“If we could’ve got off the field defensively, I feel like we could’ve done more with our offense. We didn’t get off to a good start we fell behind two points (at halftime) and fell very out of focus defensively.”
“Coming out the second half, I think we played better. We were really struggling to keep our focus defensively. With it being one of the last games of the season that is something that is hard to stop, but we will do something about it in spring training.”
“I thought there were some great efforts on defense – DiMetrio Tyson and Rashad Smith are really fine football players. With some more examination, we might find some more really good points defensively.”
“I am bothered about how we played defensively, and I will have to deal with that. The coaching all the calls were on the money, I just didn’t think we stepped up and made the plays we could have.”
“DeMarcus James is serious about what he does on the football field, he takes nothing lightly.”
“Our fans mean the world to us. I think winning at home is really important. I don’t care if it is by one or whatever the margin was here. You’re going to win every time you show up and play in front of them.”
“I think this is the best group of seniors we have ever had, there just isn’t enough of them on defense. I got through with my little two cent speech at halftime and then the seniors got up and they took care of halftime.”
JSU PLAYER QUOTES
Marques Ivory, Sr., QB
On winning the final home game
“It was a good thing to do. It made us undefeated at home.
Washaun Ealey, SR, RB
“ I just go out every day and compete and try to get better. Today, it was me catching the balls out of the back field. I had some pretty good rushes, but I didn’t really run the ball like I wanted to. I left a lot of yards out there on the field. I feel like we came out flat, but we came together as a team. That’s one thing I like about this team, we have leadership and we are very vocal. During halftime, we talked to each other and made adjustments trying to get some emotion in the game.”
Rashad Smith, Jr. LB
On playing without the cast
“ It was actually harder to get used to. I had to adjust back to my hand again, and I am used to using my hand as a weapon. I can’t just throw my hand into a helmet, I might break a finger again.”
Erick Butler, Fr., DE
On blocking kicks
“Blocking kicks is new and I never did that in high school. The one today, we were down two points and I was just doing my part to help the team. I figured if I block the kick, it could help us move forward and we could have momentum in the second half.
- Captains for the Gamecocks: senior QB Marques Ivory, senior DB Brooks Robinson, and
senior DE DiMetrio Tyson.
- APSU won the coin toss and elected to receive.
- Saturday’s game marked the final home game for JSU’s 13 seniors as the class now has posted a four-year record of 30-14 and is just the third class in the school’s Division I history to post 30 wins.
- JSU now has 18 come-from-behind wins since the start of the 2010 season after the Gamecocks trailed 14-0 today vs APSU. As a matter of fact, it marks the fourth straight come-from-behind win over the Govs.
- With the win, JSU now leads the all-time series 13-6-3. Coach Crowe is now 6-1 in his
career against APSU and 6-0 against the Governors at Jax State.
- JSU improves to 54-9 when scoring 30 or more points in a game and 30-3 at Burgess-
Snow Field at JSU Stadium under Crowe when putting up 30-plus points.
- Today’s game marked the final regular season game for 13 JSU seniors. This year’s senior
class has a 30-14 record, which ranks as the third winningest four-year class in JSU’s Division
- With JSU’s win today, the Gamecocks improve to 6-4 on the season, marking the 10th straight season the Gamecocks have posted a winning record. That’s the longest such stretch in school history.
- Rashad Smith intercepted his first pass of the season and the second of his career when
he picked off a APSU pass on the game’s first drive.
- DaMarcus James‘ fumble on the Gamecocks opening possession marked the first time this
season the Gamecocks have turned the ball over on their opening drive.
- Alan Bonner‘s 71-yard reception from Coty Blanchard in the second quarter was his longest
catch of the season and the second longest of his career.
- Blanchard completed the second longest pass of his career and the longest of the season
with the 71-yarder to Bonner. Blanchard’s career long came off of a 74-yard completion
to Bonner against Eastern Kentucky on Nov. 5, 2011, which was also Bonner’s career long.
- Washaun Ealey‘s one yard touchdown run in the second quarter marks the sixth straight
game in which he has scored a touchdown.
- APSU was credited with a safety when JSU snapped the ball over punter Hamish MacInnes‘ head
and out of the back of the endzone in the second quarter. It was the first time a JSU opponent
has recorded a safety since Oct. 23, 2008, when JSU snapped a punt out of the endzone.
- Freshman Erick Butler blocked his third kick of the season when he got a hand on a APSU
31-yard field goal attempt. He has now blocked the second most kicks in a season in JSU
history, tying Darrell Prater, who blocked three kicks in 2003.
- Marquez Ivory recorded his first rushing touchdown of the season when he scored from
10-yards out in the third quarter.
- For the second time the season and the second time in his career, Ealey scored a rushing
and receiving touchdown in the same game. He accomplished this against TSU earlier in
- Ealey’s 27-yard touchdown catch from Blanchard marks the first time in his career at JSU
that he has recorded two receiving touchdowns in one game.
- Ealey finished the game with three total touchdowns, giving him six multiple touchdown
games in his career at JSU.
- Tonight’s game marks the ninth time that Blanchard and Ivory have thrown a touchdown
pass in the same game.
- DeMarcus James finished with his fifth 100-yard game of the season, rushing for 149 yards
on 13 carries.
- Jacksonville State had two players make their first career start today vs APSU. Dustin
Gayton (LB) and Sean Watson (DL) on defense. Jax State now has 16 players make their
first career start in 2012.
JSU BY THE NUMBERS
1 – Number of fourth down conversion JSU opponents have converted in the fourth quarter this season.
5-0 – JSU’s record at home this season. The Gamecocks have now been perfect at home for the third time in coach Crowe’s career and the first time since 2008.
10 – Number of consecutive winning seasons the Gamecocks have posted
13 – Number of solo tackles Rashad Smith finished with, the most in his career
18 – Come from behind wins by JSU since the start of the 2010 season
133 – Number of consecutive games in which JSU has scored in, the longest streak in the OVC
149 – Rushing yards the DeMarcus James finished with, tying his career high
Courtesy JSU Media Relations