RICHMOND, Ky. – In a battle of the top two football teams in the Ohio Valley Conference Saturday afternoon at Roy Kidd Stadium, No. 15 Eastern Kentucky University stayed within striking distance of No. 4 Jacksonville State before falling, 20-6.
Jacksonville State (8-1, 6-0 OVC) held EKU without a touchdown and just 292 total yards of offense on 68 plays. The Gamecocks haven’t allowed a touchdown in 13 straight quarters, dating back the third quarter of their matchup against Tennessee State on Oct. 11.
JSU running back DaMarcus James ran for 170 yards on 21 carries. The Gamecocks totaled 357 yards rushing. Jacksonville State came into the game with the No. 1 ranked rushing offense in the OVC.
EKU (8-2, 5-2 OVC) had chances to tie or take the lead, but the offense couldn’t capitalize on the defense’s success.
Early in the second quarter, the Colonels recovered a fumble by Jacksonville State quarterback Eli Jenkins deep in Gamecock territory, but only managed a field goal.
In the middle of the third quarter, the EKU defense stopped Jacksonville State on a fourth down on its own 32-yard line. The Colonel offense responded by driving all the way to JSU’s five-yard line on a nine-play, 63-yard drive, but had to settle for another field goal to cut Jacksonville State’s lead to 10-6.
An eight-play, 87-yard drive by the Gamecocks in the fourth quarter put the game away. JSU junior running back Troymaine Pope ran into the end zone from 14-yards out with 3:46 remaining to put the Gamecocks up, 20-6.
The EKU defense held Jacksonville State to 20 points, far less than the 37.5 the Gamecocks had averaged this season.
Junior running back Dy’Shawn Mobley ran for 87 yards on 18 carries, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Senior quarterback Jared McClain completed 19-of-33 passes for 192 yards and also ran for 20 yards on 14 carries.
Senior safety Brandon Stanley led the EKU defense, totaling a personal-best 17 tackles and forcing the lone fumble early in the second quarter. Junior linebacker Chris Kelly equaled his career high with 10 total tackles.
For Jacksonville State, safety Folo Johnson and linebacker Ben Endress each recorded double figure tackles.
With the loss, EKU falls to third place in the OVC behind Jacksonville State and Eastern Illinois. The Colonels will play their final home game of the regular season next Saturday, Nov. 15 against Murray State. Game time is set for 1 p.m.
–The Eastern Kentucky defense entered the game tied for first in the nation with 27 forced turnovers this season, but forced only one against Jacksonville State.
–Jacksonville State entered the game third in the nation in third-down conversion percentage defense (25.2 percent). The Gamecocks held Eastern to just one conversion in 14 attempts (7.1 percent).
–This was the first time since the 2010 season opener at Missouri State that Eastern Kentucky did not score a touchdown. The Colonels were averaging 37.4 points per game entering today’s contest.