Jacksonville State has slumped down the stretch.
The Gamecocks started out their 2019 campaign with hopes for a great season and a playoff run. As the second half has unfolded, though, JSU has struggled to win conference games they were favored in.
With Saturday’s 37-27 loss at Tennessee Tech, Jacksonville State has now lost two straight games and has dropped three of their last four. The stumble dropped the Gamecocks to 6-5 overall and 3-4 in Ohio Valley Conference play.
Once again Jacksonville State started out behind. Thanks to a Haidar Zaidan field goal, two rushing touchdowns from Bailey Fisher, and a scoring pass from Fisher to Metriu Fleming, JSU found themselves down 24-7 at the half. The visiting Gamecocks’ only score in the first half came midway through the first, as Zerrick Cooper found the always-reliable Josh Pearson on a four-yard touchdown pass.
Early in the second half, JSU showed signs of life. The offense marched down the field and capped off a 10-play, 75-yard drive with a 19-yard rush from Michael Matthews. The touchdown drew them within 10. On the ensuing possession, Bailey Fisher found receiver Brad Clark for his second scoring toss to make it 31-14. After botched drives for each side, it was a 17-point ballgame headed to the fourth.
Another field goal from Zaidan increased the Golden Eagle lead to 34-14 with 11:19 left. Once they got the ball back, Jacksonville State quickly raced down the field and put it in the end zone again with a Cooper-to-Jamari-Hester connection. That made it 34-21, and put JSU down less than two touchdowns with over eight minutes left on the clock.
JSU had opportunities to get back into it but could not find the end zone. Tennessee Tech nailed another kick with 1:19 left that essentially iced it. Three plays later, Cooper found Pearson for a 66-yard score but missed the two-point conversion that would have made it a one-possession game.
When all was said and done, Jacksonville State fell to the Golden Eagles 37-27 on the road. For the Gamecocks, it is the continuation of a disappointing season. JSU will not have a shot at the OVC title for the first time in a long time, and thus will miss the FCS Playoffs.
Their final game will be played next Saturday, Nov. 23.
The Gamecocks will host the Eastern Kentucky Colonels at Burgess-Snow Field for their Senior Day contest. A win would secure a 17th straight winning season for Jacksonville State, the longest active streak in FCS.
Kickoff for Senior Day is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23. The game, live from Burgess-Snow Field in Jacksonville, Ala., will be broadcast on ESPN3.