“Shocked” doesn’t even cut it.
The No. 6 ranked Jacksonville State Gamecocks were obliterated at Southeastern Louisiana on Thursday in their 35-14 loss to the Lions.
Disaster struck early and often for Jacksonville State. The first Lion score was started out by a Gamecock mistake — an interception by Shawntrez Spates set up shop for the hometown team at the JSU 4 yard-line.
A nine play, 80-yard drive lead by Arkansas transfer Cole Kelley put Southeastern up 14-0 after one quarter.
Though Quarterback Zerrick Cooper connected with Josh Pearson in the second to make it a one score game, the Lions battled right back. Devonte Williams snagged a swing pass and outraced the JSU defense to give his team a 21-7 at halftime.
Cooper was once again picked off by the SELA defense; Ferlando Jordan returned the interception 65 yards for a score. A 35-yard touchdown pass to Austin Mitchell from Kelley extended their lead to 35-7 in the final interval.
The troublesome Gamecocks kept fighting and scored on a 28-yard pass to Michael Matthews. The final score would be 35-14, Lions on top.
Cooper finished the game with 40-52 with 414 passing yards- good enough for fourth all-time in single game passing yards for JSU. Unfortunately, the offensive line did not hold up enough. Cooper was sacked 6 times and pressured too often to be successful. He threw two touchdowns and two interceptions in the loss.
The Gamecocks had nearly 100 more total yards than Southeastern Louisiana, as they outgained them 481 to 384.
Coach John Grass now has a record of 3-3 in season openers. Per JSUGamecockSports.com, this is the first time they have lost back to back openers since losing five in a row from 2005-09.
Grass said after the game, “We had too many turnovers and missed assignments. The team’s still got a lot of potential but we’re young in spots and have got to learn from this.
There is no time to worry about it, though, says the sixth-year head coach.
“We have to put this behind us and get ready for a good Chattanooga team,” said Grass.
Jacksonville State will host Chattanooga next Saturday, Sept. 7, at Burgess-Snow Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on ESPN+.