For two years, the Ohio Valley Conference has tried to wrestle the conference championship away from Jacksonville State.
After the No. 2 Gamecocks defeated UT-Martin 33-7 on Saturday, the OVC will have to try again in 2017.
JSU’s win is their third straight OVC crown, sixth overall, its 10th win of the season and it makes three straight years without a conference loss. Its only loss was to LSU in September.
The championship gives JSU an automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs. JSU will find out its fate during ESPNU’s selection show Sunday morning at 10.
The top eight teams will earn national seeds and have first-round byes. The selection committee ranked JSU No. 3 in their latest rankings.
Quarterback Eli Jenkins was a man on a mission on his Senior Day. Jenkins also gained 104 yards on 7-of-16 passing and an interception.
But scored all four of JSU’s touchdowns on gains of one, nine, 32 and 10 yards. He finished with 54 yards rushing on 13 carries. His rushing performance was only good enough for third best on the team.
Roc Thomas led JSU’s ground attack with 74 yards on 15 carries. Josh Clemons wasn’t far behind with 65 yards on 12 carries.
JSU’s selfish defense didn’t give up a point until the second half when UTM took advantage of short field after Thomas fumbled.
Quan Stoudemire led that defensive effort with 10 tackles. Jaylon Hill had just two tackles but he had as many interceptions. Siran Neal and Darius Jackson each had an interception, as well.
All of JSU's interceptions came in the first half.
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