Courtesy of Jacksonville State Athletics
CHARLESTON, Ill. â€“ Senior Jamal Young rushed for a career-high 162 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 4 Jacksonville State to a 28-23 Ohio Valley Conference win over Eastern Illinois on Saturday.
Jax State, 4-0 for the first time since 2004, extended its winning streak to eight straight games, dating back to the final four wins of 2009. It was also the Gamecocks eighth straight road win, which is the longest FCS road winning streak in the country.
The Gamecocks rolled up 392 yards of total offense as Marques Ivory finished the game 14-for-22 for 122 yards through the air. John Houston Whiddon had 38 yards on three catches to lead the receivers for the third straight game.
The Panthers took the lead midway through the first quarter after intercepting a Gamecock pass on the 18 yard line and Cameron Berra kicked a 22-yard field goal with 6:33 left in the first quarter.
Eastern Illinois extended the lead on its next possession after Jimmy Potempa scored on a 14-yard run up the middle. The Panthers missed the extra point, but held a 9-0 lead with 2:23 left in the first quarter.
The Gamecocks answered by going 81 yards in 14 plays and Young scored his first touchdown on a one-yard run. James Esco kicked the point after to cut the lead to 9-7 with 10:38 left in the second quarter.
Jax State took the lead with 2:35 left in the first half after Young raced 76 yards for his second touchdown of the quarter. Esco added the point after to give the Gamecocks a 14-9 lead.
JSUâ€™s Keginald Harris then intercepted an EIU pass and returned it to the Panther 8-yard line. Two plays later, Young scored on a 5-yard run and Esco added the point after to give Jax State a 21-9 lead at the half.
Jax State tacked on another touchdown midway through the fourth quarter after Alphonso Freeney scored on a nine-yard run with 6:28 left. The touchdown was setup by an interception by Robert Gray, who returned it to the Panthers 18-yard line.
The Panthers cut the lead to 28-17 with 5:13 left after Potempa scored on a 7-yard run and Lorence Ricks caught the 2-point conversion.
EIU then recovered the onside kick and drove down to the Gamecock 25-yard line, but Brooks Robinson intercepted the Panther pass at the two-yard line to seal the win for the Gamecocks.
Antonio Bonner led the Gamecock defense with six tackles and two for loss, while A.J. Davis, Jawaan Booker, Rodney Garrott and Marquis George each had five tackles.
Jacksonville State returns to action next Saturday against Murray State. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium and all fans are encouraged to wear Red in JSUâ€™s annual Red Out game.