Something about facing Tennessee Tech brings out the best in Jacksonville State’s defense.
Backup quarterback Kyle West threw for two touchdowns and DaMarcus James ran 126 yards and a score as the Gamecocks pounded Tennessee Tech 34-14 Saturday afternoon at Tucker Stadium.
Jacksonville State’s defense limited the Golden Eagles to only 280 yards of total offense, marking the third straight game in the series they have been held to less than 300 yards.
“We had a really good day defensively,” said head coach Bill Clark. “The defense played great and the offense did what they were supposed to.
“We probably took some educated risks, which is what we want to do,” added Clark. “That’s how (the defense) is supposed to look. I’m just really proud of the way our guys played – they worked their butts off for two weeks.”
West, a redshirt sophomore, entered the game in the second quarter after an injury to starter Eli Jenkins and was 11-of-17 for 138 yards without an interception. He tossed a 35-yard TD pass to Earl Calloway in the second quarter – the first of his JSU career – and added a 26-yarder to Anthony Johnson in the fourth.
“Kyle West does exactly what you want a backup quarterback to do … he stays prepared,” said Clark.
Griffin Thomas contributed two field goals and now has 18 in 2013, tying him for second-most in school history in a season. Thomas extended his streak of games with at least two field goals to seven.
Punter Hamish MacInnes also etched his name in the Jacksonville State record book with a wind-aided 86-yard punt during the third quarter. MacInnes’ kick broke a Zach Walden’s 2006 school record of 81 yards and is the longest among Football Championship Subdivision punters this season.
Jacksonville State improved to 6-2 and 2-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Tennessee Tech fell to 3-6 and 0-5.
The Gamecocks’ efficient passing attack helped them establish a 24-7 lead at halftime.
Jenkins and West were a combined 12-of-16 for 182 yards and one touchdown. West, who entered the game after Jenkins was shaken up in the second quarter, completed all four of his first-half passes for 69 yards, including his first career touchdown, a 35-yarder to freshman Earl Calloway.
Jacksonville State pierced together a methodical 15-play, 80-yard scoring drive on its second possession of the game.
Jenkins completed five passes for 47 yards on the drive as JSU marched from its 20 to Tennessee Tech’s 16. He then scrambled for 10 yards to the 6 and ran into the end zone on the next play with 4:10 left in the first quarter.
Thomas’ 44-yard field goal and the West-to-Calloway touchdown pass staked the Gamecocks to 17-0.
James finished off a six-play, 58-yard scoring drive that consumed only one minute with a 6-yard run. Thomas’ PAT made it 24-7 with 59 seconds left in the half.
Jacksonville State travels to Clarksville, Tenn., next week for an OVC matchup against winless Austin Peay.