Washaun Ealey ran for 146 yards and three touchdowns as the Gamecocks beat the Racers 38-35 Saturday for their fourth victory in the last five games. Jacksonville State is 5-3 overall and remains in the hunt for the Ohio Valley Conference title at 4-2.
Ealey’s 37 carries were the second-most in a game in school history.
Griffin Thomas kicked the go-ahead field goal with 8:51 left and the Gamecocks’ Rashod Byers intercepted record-setting quarterback Casey Brockman with just over two minutes remaining to halt the Racers’ final realistic threat.
Murray State blocked a later Thomas field goal try and took over deep in its own territory with 10 seconds remaining. But the game ended when DiMetrio Tyson sacked Brockman as time expired.
JSU became the first OVC team to hold Murray State (3-5, 2-3) below 36 points.
The Racers came in averaging 57.5 points and 458.2 passing yards in their first four OVC games – the Gamecocks allowed just 255 through the air.
“I’m proud of be the coach of this football team and I can’t wait to line ‘em up and play the rest of the season,” Crowe said. “You don’t feel good when you don’t win homecoming at JSU. I’ll remember this one, for sure.”
Jacksonville State limited Murray State to only 93 total yards after halftime. The Racers’ streak of having scored in 23 consecutive quarters ended when they failed to put points on the scoreboard in the fourth, a mark dating back to Sept. 15.
Ealey’s 2-yard run on the first possession after halftime finished off a 65-yard, eight-play drive to put JSU ahead 35-28.
Murray State, however, pulled even late in the third quarter after pouncing on Jacksonville State’s third fumble. The Racers quickly moved 55 yards in five plays and forged the fifth tie of the day, 35-35, when Duane Brady scored on a 4-yard run.
The teams combined for 56 points and 472 total yards during the frenetic first half that ended deadlocked at 28-all and saw Brockman become the OVC’s all-time passing leader. The game was tied four times in the first 30 minutes.
Each team committed two first-half turnovers and all four miscues were converted into touchdowns.
The first of Brockman’s two interceptions, this one by freshman cornerback Jermaine Hough on Murray State’s second possession, set up the Gamecocks’ first score. Hough returned the interception – his third in two games – 15 yards to the Racers 29.
Ealey ran to the end zone on first down and Thomas kicked the first of his five extra points for a 7-0 Jax State lead at the 11:13 mark of the first quarter.
The Racers came back with a 74-yard drive to pull even. Brockman finished off the eight-play march by scrambling two yards and Jordan Benton added the PAT to make it 7-7 with 8:41 left in the first.
Murray State grabbed its first lead after the Gamecocks were forced to punt. Brockman had completions of 16 and 36 yards and Brady ran in from the 12 with 5:54 on the clock for a 14-7 Racers lead.
Another Brockman interception, this one by JSU freshman Raheam Buxton, helped the Gamecocks tie it for a second time, with Ealey getting his second touchdown on a 1-yard run with 1:41 to go in the first quarter.
Marques Ivory threw touchdown passes of 41 and 4 yards to Telvin Brown and Alan Bonner, respectively, during the second quarter. Ivory completed 15-of-31 passes for 205 yards and was not intercepted during the contest.
Murray State’s second-quarter scores came on a 6-yard run by Jaamal Brown and Brockman’s 1-yard quarterback sneak.
The Gamecocks travel to UT Martin next Saturday, and play their final home game on Nov. 10 when Austin Peay visits Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium.