The Gamecocks could not get it done on the road.
Jacksonville State football lost at UT Martin 22-17 last Saturday night. The loss all but eliminates JSU from playoff contention in 2019.
JSU (6-4, 3-3) got on the board first in Tennessee. Quarterback Zerrick Cooper raced into the end zone for a one-yard score midway through the first. After a scoreless second half of the quarter, the Gamecocks led 7-0 through one.
Offense was sparse early in the second, too. In the second quarter, the Skyhawks (6-3, 5-1) tied it up. Signal caller John Bachus scored on a ten-yard scamper to make it 7-all. With halftime nearing, UT Martin struck again as Bachus found Colton Dowell for an eleven-yard touchdown pass. The missed extra point gave the Skyhawks a 13-7 advantage with 1:29 until halftime.
Jacksonville State was not finished for the first half. JSU capped off an eight-play, 75-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown pass from Cooper to Michael Matthews as time expired in the second quarter. The ensuing Bryant Wallace kick once again put the Gamecocks on top 14-13.
Both defenses stood tall throughout the third quarter. A special teams blunder by the Gamecocks came back to bite them, as Terry Williams raced 65 yards to the house on a punt return. The big-time touchdown, followed by a missed two-point conversion, put the Skyhawks back on top at the end of the third by a score of 19-14.
In the fourth, it appeared JSU would be able to retake the lead. Unfortunately, a 46-yard drive stalled out and Coach Grass was forced to settle for three. Wallace nailed the 37-yard field goal, making it a two-point ballgame with 9:40 left in regulation.
On the following drive, UT Martin matched Jacksonville State’s efforts. The Gamecock defense held the Skyhawks at the one-yard-line, but Rya Courtright hit the 18-yard kick to put his squad up five once more.
JSU had time to cut into the deficit: there was 5:46 left in the fourth quarter. However, one drive ended as an incomplete pass hit the turf on fourth down. The Gamecock defense got the ball back for the offense, but Zerrick Cooper was sacked on the final play to send Skyhawk nation into frenzy. UT Martin upset Jacksonville State for their first win over the Gamecocks since 2012.
With the loss, Jacksonville State has fallen to fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference standings. Their 3-3 conference mark all but kisses goodbye to any chance at winning the OVC or making the FCS Playoffs in general.
Up next for the Gamecocks is their road test at Tennessee Tech this Saturday. JSU will head to Cookeville, Tenn., to take on the 5-4 (2-3) Golden Eagles. Kickoff for the OVC contest is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. CT, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.