By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
Jacksonville Ala. —
The Colonels didn’t offer up any excuses.
There was simply no point.
Following a historic loss Saturday against Jacksonville State at Burgess-Snow Stadium that all but ended any chance of making the FCS Playoffs, the Colonels placed the blame entirely on themselves.
“We weren’t good in any phase —offense, defense and special teams,” EKU coach Dean Hood said. “We didn’t play well. We didn’t coach well. We got out-played and out-coached. It was very embarrassing. It was an embarrassing loss.”
Jacksonville State (8-2, 4-2 OVC) dominated from start to finish and hammered the Colonels (7-3, 4-2 OVC) 68-10. EKU had four turnovers and finished with only 213 yards of total offense.
The Gamecocks scored 24 points in the second quarter and took a 40-3 lead into halftime.
EKU’s defense, which had been so brilliant in recent weeks, allowed 503 total yards and 299 yards rushing. After limiting their past four opponents to a total of 20 points, the Colonels gave up the second-most points in school history and the most point ever against an Ohio Valley Conference opponent.
“It comes down to missed tackles and missed assignments,” EKU senior linebacker said. “We just couldn’t get in the right spot. They out-played us. They out-hustled us. We had a lot of opportunities that we squandered.”
The Colonels had defeated Jacksonville State three straight times and averaged 50.7 points a game in those wins. And the last time the teams played at Burgess-Snow Stadium (2011), EKU rallied from a 24-point fourth-quarter deficit to pick up a stunning victory.
The Gamecocks were eager to get a measure of revenge.
And they did.
“They were ready to go,” Vance said. “They had a gameplan. They executed well and we didn’t what we were supposed to do.”
JSU punted on its first drive, then scored on 11 of its final 13 possessions, including all four drives in the second half.
The Gamecocks took a 9-0 lead in the first quarter before Andrew Lloyd got EKU on the board with a 34-yard field goal. JSU got touchdown runs from DaMarcus James (11 yards) and Eli Jenkins (71 yards) to take a 23-3 lead.
Early in the second quarter. EKU quarterback Jared McClain fumbled and Ketrick Wolfe recovered in the end zone for a touchdown.
Griffin Thomas connected on a 33-yard field goal on the first play of the half to give the Gamecocks a 40-3 lead.
At halftime, JSU had out-gained EKU 339-67.
“The offense just has to stay on the field longer,” EKU offensive lineman Justin Meredith said. “We didn’t make plays. We missed blocks. Just everything all the way around.”
The Colonels came into the game with the best rushing offense in the OVC (209.1 yards a game). The Gamecocks loaded up at the line and forced EKU to throw the ball - and that strategy worked. The Colonels had only 111 yards rushing on 59 carries (1.9 yards a rush) and their receivers weren’t able to move the chains.
Jeff Glover and Devin Borders both had 27 catches coming into the game, but neither had a reception against the Gamecocks.
“They wanted to fill the box and stop the run and our receivers didn’t make plays,” Meredith said.
It was a group effort. We didn’t do well all the way around.”
McClain didn’t play well either.
The junior was just 4-of-15 for 56 yards with one interception and was sacked five times. He also had -9 yards rushing.
“He had a tough go of it,” Hood said of McClain.
McClain provided the Colonels’ only touchdown of the game when he scored on a 2-yard run in the third quarter.
In the second half, JSU’s offense continued to roll, putting together scoring drives of 75, 5, 25 and 54 yards.
“We must have missed 107 tackles,” Hood said.
The loss doesn’t officially eliminate the Colonels from postseason contention, but they will need to win their final two games to have any legitimate chance for an at-large bid to the FCS Playoffs.
“We’ve just got to go back the drawing board and start all over,” Meredith said. :If we win the next two games, we still have a chance to make the playoffs.”
The Colonels are set to return to action Saturday at home against UT-Martin.