Jax State wins final home game
Jack Crowe thought he’d delivered the desired halftime message to his Jacksonville State football team as he turned to leave the locker room late Saturday afternoon at Burgess-Snow Field.

Then he heard some of his seniors speak up.

Loud and clear.

“I got through with my two cents,” Crowe said, “and then they got up and took care (of the rest).”

The Gamecocks began the second half trailing one-win Austin Peay by two points. They ended it with a 38-23 victory in front of an announced crowd of 11,523, running their record to 6-4 overall and 5-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference.

“One thing I like about this team is that our senior leadership is very vocal,” said tailback Washaun Ealey, one of 13 seniors who helped the Gamecocks finish 5-0 at home this season.

“We’ll call each other out. We knew they weren’t two points better than us. We made our adjustments, talked a little trash and got motivated.”

The defense, torched for 319 yards up to that point, buckled down, forcing a pair of three-and-outs. And the offense, on the field for only 22 plays in the first 30 minutes, went to work.

Senior quarterback Marques Ivory capped off a five-play, 66-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run off the read option. He followed that score with a 10-yard TD pass to Ealey five minutes later. Backup quarterback Coty Blanchard connected with Ealey again on the next drive from 27 yards out.

In a 10-minute span, Jacksonville State went from 16-14 down to the Governors (1-9, 0-7) to leading 35-16.

“Our fans mean the world to us. I think winning at home is really important,” said Crowe, who saw his team post its 18th come-from-behind win since the start of the 2010 season.

“Coming out in the second half, I think we played better, (but) we were really struggling to keep our focus defensively. We gave up more offensive yards to them than any other team. They had 30 more plays (than us).”

“We came out kind of flat, in practice mode,” said Ealey, who finished with 80 yards rushing and another 38 receiving. “But we came together as a team.”

The Gamecocks close the season Saturday when they travel to Gainesville, Fla., to play the Gators.
© 2012