No. 8 Jacksonville State whips UT Martin for fourth win in a row

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Courtesy JSU Athletics

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Jacksonville State got another dominating effort out of its defense and nearly 500 yards from the offense to claim its fourth consecutive victory Saturday afternoon.

Eli Jenkins threw two touchdowns as the eighth-ranked Gamecocks knocked off UT Martin 38-14 in their Ohio Valley Conference home opener at Burgess-Snow Field. Jacksonville State ran its record to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the OVC.

The Gamecocks played without leading rusher DeMarcus James, who dressed for the game but did not see action due to a nagging turf toe injury.

They didn’t need him against the Skyhawks (1-5, 0-3).

Junior Miles Jones ran for a career-high 150 yards on 24 carries and Troymaine Pope added 97 yards as the Gamecocks piled up 284 yards on the ground. Jones had a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and Pope had a 3-yard TD run late in the fourth for the Gamecocks’ final points.

“Those guys stepped up and did a great job,” said head coach John Grass. “We were concerned about DeMarcus coming in because he hadn’t practiced all week. Hopefully he’ll be able to play some next week and then we can rest him up during the off week.

“We have a lot of confidence in the other two. Miles and Buster (Pope) really played well tonight and our offensive line really stepped up and played another solid game.”

Jenkins had touchdown passes of 26 yards to Markis Merrill and 12 yards to Bo Brummel. Max Shortell, who was 10-for-13 passing, also had a 34-yard touchdown pass toAnthony Johnson as JSU’s quarterbacks threw for a combined 213 yards.

Nine different Gamecocks had a reception in the win. Brummel’s fourth-quarter catch was his first career touchdown.

Jacksonville State struck on its first possession and never let up. Jenkins finished off the seven-play, 69-yard drive with his 26-yard scoring pass to Merrill with 11:55 left in the first quarter. Connor Rouleau tacked on the first of his five extra points for a 7-0 lead.

Shortell directed another seven-play touchdown drive early in the second. Johnson made a diving, one-handed snag of Shortell’s pass in the end zone and Rouleau added the extra point to make it 14-0.

Jones’ 2-yard touchdown run at the 8:34 mark in the second quarter extended the Gamecocks’ lead to 21-0.

UT Martin’s only first-half points came when linebacker Tony Bell recovered a fumble and rambled 24 yards into end zone with 4:26 left in the first half. The extra point drew the Skyhawks to within 21-7.

Rouleau kicked a 31-yard field goal in the third quarter and Pope added his 3-yard run with 2:17 remaining.

UT Martin was limited to 216 yards of total offense.

Defensive back Jaylen Hill and linebacker Dawson Wells had interceptions for the Gamecocks.

Jacksonville State travels to Nashville next Saturday to face Tennessee State (4-2, 1-1). Kickoff at Hale Stadium is slated for 2 p.m.

Courtesy Jacksonville State University Athletics