By Don Phillips
#1Jacksonville State (11-1, 8-0 Ohio Valley) vs. #7 Charleston Southern (10-2, 6-0 Big South)
NCAA FCS Quarterfinals • Dec. 11, 2015 • 7 p.m. CT
Record: 11-1, 8-0 Ohio Valley Conference
Ranking: 1st in STATS Poll, 1st in Coaches Poll
Last Game: Dec. 5 in FCS Playofs 2nd Round
Defeated #7 Chattanooga, 41-35
Head Coach: John Grass (Jacksonville State, ‘90)
Career Record: 21-3/2nd year
JSU Record: 21-3/2nd year
Record: 10-2, 6-0 Big South Conference
Ranking: 9th in STATS, 7th in Coaches
Last Game: Dec. 5 in FCS Playoffs 2nd Round
Defeated #18 The Citadel, 14-6
Head Coach: Jamey Chadwell (East Tenn St, ‘00)
Career Record: 53-31/7th year
CSU Record: 28-9/3rd year
The Gamecocks advanced to the quarterfinals for the second time in three seasons after a 41-35 overtime win over Chattanooga. Troymaine Pope ran for 234 yards, third-most in school history, and Eli Jenkins ran for 195 yards and threw for 208. Both players ran for three scores in the game. The Gamecocks rolled up 640 yards of total offense against UTC, who had not allowed 500 yards in a game since November 2010, when Cam Newton and Auburn had 628 against the Mocs.
Charleston Southern defeated The Citadel 14-6 on Saturday to advance to the quarterfinals.
Jacksonville State is ranked fourth nationally in total offense this season after being ranked fourth in 2014. JSU had 600 yards of total offense four times last season and three times so far this season.
In JSU’s heartbreaking loss at #6 Auburn, the Gamecocks had the ball for 35:25, the most by a JSU team since Oct. 27, 2012, when the Gamecocks possessed the ball for 39:02 against Murray State. Through 12 games, JSU is averaging 31:55 time of possession, best in the OVC and 24th best in the nation.
CSU put forth perhaps the most dominant defensive stretch in Big South history during its 3-0 start to the league slate. The Bucs held Monmouth, Presbyterian and Gardner-Webb to less than 200 yards of offense while yielding just 14 points. No other team in Big South history has ever held even two consecutive league foes to less than 200 yards offense.
CSU juniors Darius Hammond, Mike Holloway, Ben Robinson and Alan Barnwell have teamed to make the Bucs the nation’s 18th most productive rushing offense.
The quartet helped fill the void left by the graduation of Christian Reyes, who set the program’s all-time rushing record with 2,200 yards in just two years. CSU spread the touches in the running game, with no back totaling more than 16 carries in any Big South game. CSU rushed for over 200 yards seven times this year, and has done so 21 times under Chadwell. CSU had just 13 such games in the eight years prior.
Selection: Jacksonville State -10 Over 49
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