JACKSONVILLE – The third-ranked Jacksonville State football team put on a show for its largest Homecoming crowd ever on Saturday by rolling to a 56-3 win over Austin Peay at Burgess-Snow Field.
The Gamecocks (8-0, 5-0 Ohio Valley Conference) ran the longest winning streak in the nation and their longest since 1991 to 12 games and did so in convincing fashion. The win was the most lopsided in JSU's OVC history and was the biggest on Homecoming since 1989. The dozen wins in a row is the longest streak by an OVC team since Eastern Kentucky's 12 in a row in 1991 and ties for the third longest in the Gamecocks' 107-year football history.
The 19,707 fans in attendance saw the Gamecocks dominate from start to finish, outgaining the Govs (2-5, 1-3 OVC), 539-157. They ran for a season-high 332 yards and threw for 232 more, while Peay managed just 67 on the ground and 90 through the air. The Govs did score first, on a field goal less than three minutes in, but watched Jax State rattle off then next 56 en route to the rout. The run was the largest stretch of unanswered points by the Gamecocks in their Division I history.
For the first time in school history, three JSU players threw for a touchdown. Junior Marques Ivory completed his first 10 attempts of the day to lead the trio and finished 10-for-12 for 145 yards and two touchdowns, while freshman Coty Blanchard was 4-for-4 for 25 yards and a pair of scores. Junior Thomas Darrah orchestrated the final drive of the game and completed all three attempts for 62 yards and his first career touchdown.
Senior Jamal Young led eight Gamecocks with at least one carry on the ground with 105 yards on eight rushes. Senior Alphonso Freeney scored a career-high three touchdowns on a night that saw him run seven times for 47 yards. Blanchard scampered for 82 yards on nine rushes, thanks to a 46-yard run in the second quarter.
Junior James Shaw ended up in the end zone on two of his three catches, while sophomores Alan Bonner and Kevyn Cooper also hauled in three catches, apiece. Cooper had 62 yards and a score, while senior Jeffrey Cameron led all players with 64 yards on two catches.
Young had two catches for 11 yards and a score, extending his school record for touchdown catches in a season by a running back to four.
The Gamecock defense also shined on Saturday, limiting a Govs offense that entered the day averaging 152 yards rushing per game to minus-11 yards in the first half and 67 in the game. JSU has now held its foes without a touchdown for eight-straight quarters, a stretch that dates back to the final six minutes of the UT Martin game two weeks ago.
Junior Brannon Byrd led the JSU defense with seven tackles, one for a loss, and the first interception of his career. The Lucedale, Miss., native picked off a Jake Ryan pass in the third quarter and tripped in the open field seven yards into his return.
Ryan completed 12 of his 20 pass attempts for 90 yards and one interception, while Ryan White, the OVC's fourth-leading rusher, managed just 18 yards on 10 carries.
The Gamecocks dominated the first half, outgaining the Govs 362-53 to take a 35-3 lead into the locker room. The 32-point advantage is the largest at the half in JSU's Division I history, while the 35 points were the most in a half since the Gamecocks scored 35 at Murray State on Oct. 5, 2006.
JSU's quarterbacks combined to go 13-for-13 for 165 yards and four touchdown passes in the first 30 minutes. Ivory was 10-for-10 for 145 yards and two scores, while Blanchard's two touchdowns and 20 yards came on 3-for-3 passing. JSU's ground game churned up 195 yards before the half, while the Gamecock defense held APSU to minus-11 yards on the ground on 10 carries.
Young got 76 of his yards in the first half, while Blanchard ran for 56. Freeney ran for a score on one of his four first-half carries. Shaw had two touchdown passes and 64 yards receiving before the break.
The Gamecocks continued their dominance into the second half and Freeney scored the final two of his trio of touchdowns in the third quarter. Darrah, a transfer from Alabama and native of Newnan, Ga., made his quarterback debut on the Gamecocks' final drive and marched them 78 yards on six plays for the last score of the day. He found Cooper across the middle from 10 yards out to cap the scoring.
Jax State will be off next week and will return to the field on Nov. 6 at Eastern Kentucky. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. in Richmond, Ky.
- Captains for the Gamecocks: senior WR Jeffery Cameron, senior WR John Houston Whiddon, senior Jamal Young, senior DB T.J. Heath, junior La'Ray Williams, senior LB Kevin Dix, senior TE Justin Kirby, senior RB Alphonso Freeney, senior OL Justin Key, senior OL Curt Porter, senior TE Cory Freeman, senior LB Morrell Jones and senior OL Tyler Ogletree
- Jacksonville State won the toss and deferred to the second half.
- JSU moved to 8-0 on the season with its 56-3 win over Austin Peay...The last time the Gamecocks were 8-0 on the season was in 1991.
- The Gamecocks extended their current winning streak to 12 games, which ties for third longest in school history, and matches Eastern Kentucky's 12 game win streak in 1991 for fifth longest in OVC history...The JSU streak leads the FCS and ranks second in all of NCAA Division I football.
- Jax State is now 54-9-2 all time in Homecoming games since 1946...Under Jack Crowe, JSU has an 8-3 record in Homecoming games...The 56 points scored was the most points in a Homecoming match up since a 59-point output in 1991 against Alcorn State...The biggest HC win since a 63-0 blanking of UT Martin in 1989.
- JSU put together a 302 yards in the opening half against the Governors...the last time the Gamecocks mustered up 300 yards or more in a half was earlier this year against Murray State (303).
- Jax State turned in 539 total yards of offense against APSU...The last time the Red and White posted over 500 yards was against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 11, 2009 (584).
- The Red Bandit defense has not surrendered a TD in the last eight quarters, after blanking Tennessee State last week and holding the Governors to an opening drive field goal...JSU's defense held opponents out of the endzone for 11 straight periods in 2008.
- The last time Jax State, which held a 35-3 lead at the break, scored 35 points in a half was against Murray State on Oct. 5, 2006 in Murray, Ky.
- The 32-point advantage at halftime is the largest lead held by JSU in its NCAA Division I history.
- The 56 unanswered points set a new Division I record...the previous record was 48 set in 1999 versus Union College (9-18-99).
- Senior FB Alphonso Freeney established a new career-high for TDs in a game with three against APSU...his three rushing TDs matches Jamal Young's three TDs against Eastern Illinois earlier this season.
- Senior RB Jamal Young turned in his second 100-plus yard rushing game of the season with 105...its just the third time this season JSU has had a 100-yard rusher.
- JSU Freshman LB James Powell made his first career start against APSU.
- Freshman QB Coty Blanchard threw a pair of TDs to push his season's mark to eight on the season and his fourth straight game with a TD toss...he also turned in a season-best 46-yard run in the contest.
- Sophomore TE Denzel Cheeks hauled in his second career pass - both for TDs...his previous catch was against UT Martin.
- JSU's QB duo of Marques Ivory and Coty Blanchard both have posted TDs in seven of the eight games this season...Ivory has thrown for a TD in all eight games, while Blanchard has tossed a TD in six of the eight games.
- For the first time in his career, Junior WR James Shaw has registered a TD in three straight games.
- JSU's Ivory turned in his longest run of his career with a 26-yard scamper in the second quarter...his previous was long run was 18 yards...Ivory also competed 11 straight passes dating back to the Tennessee State game...completed his first ten passes versus APSU.
- For the first time in his career, junior WR James Shaw has registered a TD in three straight games.
- Junior QB Thomas Darrah saw his first action as a Gamecock and finished 3-for-3 for 62 yards and a 10-yard TD pass.
- Junior LB Brannon Byrd tied for the team lead in tackles with seven...he also recorded an interception in the win.
3 - JSU players throw for a touchdown in a game...The first time in school history. (Marques Ivory, Coty Blanchard and Thomas Darrah)
8 - Different JSU receivers with a catch against Austin Peay
11 - Consecutive completed passes by JSU QB Marques Ivory, dating back to the Tennessee State game...connected on his first ten passes against APSU
32 - The largest halftime lead by the Gamecocks since moving to Division I in 1995
35 - Points scored in a half - the last time JSU posted 35 points in a half was against Murray State in 2006 (Oct. 5)
Head Coach Jack Crowe Quotes
On playing a complete game
"It was a complete game, the turnovers were unfortunate. We played everybody that was eligible to play unless I missed somebody. I was pleased with the defense first and foremost for stopping the run. I thought we were in control. We dictated what they did and I was very pleased with that."
On the Quarterbacks
"All three of them have different skills. Coty (Blanchard) is so effective running the ball. They are different but they are very good decision makers."'
On the polls
"We are trying to get as high as we can get, that determines the leverage that you have. We are looking at the short, the medium, the long, the small and the big picture. You don't build this stadium not to get home games. This stadium says - don't go to Montana."
On the bye week
"We are going to put the pads on next week. We are going to try to improve on the physical part of the game. I hope this win is the beginning of a new kind of football team for us. We are the youngest team in the OVC, that youth is what has been creating the inconsistency."
Wide Receiver Alan Bonner
On the win
"It feels good to come out and execute on offense and defense. The defense held them and the offense scored touchdowns. We have an off week, but we still have to work hard."
Quarterback Marques Ivory
On the win
"Coach Crowe challenged us to have a great week and to play up to our potential this week. We haven't played a complete good game until today. Coach Crowe wanted us to run the ball good; we executed there and the defense did great. The offensive line gave great protection, the receivers got open and the coach's called good plays."
Quarterback Coty Blanchard
On the win
"I hope we can keep it up. For us to be able to finish a game like this it shows how much character we have on this team. Everything just went together today. Marques (Ivory) played great, they ran good routes, and I felt good out there."