Chattanooga at Jacksonville State FCS Football 2015 Playoffs 2nd Round Breakdown

George Hammond

Chattanooga at Jacksonville State FCS Football 2015 Playoffs 2nd Round Breakdown


Chattanooga at Jacksonville State, Saturday, 2:00

One of the top attractions of the second round of the FCS playoffs will be this repeat matchup of Chattanooga (9-3) and No. 1 Jacksonville State (10-1). The two teams have been among the elite of the FCS in recent years, and they staged an outstanding game in the season opener this year when the Gamecocks prevailed 23-20.

Jacksonville State, the Ohio Valley Conference champion who nearly knocked off Auburn this season, entered the playoffs as the top seed and received a first-round bye. Meanwhile, Southern Conference champion Chattanooga had little trouble with the Patriot League’s Fordham, winning 50-20, on Saturday in a contest the Mocs led 31-0 at halftime.

When the two met on Sept. 5, the Gamecocks had the upper hand statistically. However, Chattanooga led 20-16 late in the fourth quarter following a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown before Jacksonville quarterback Eli Jenkins engineered a 10-play, 79-yard drive for the game-winning score. Although Jacksonville converted just 3-of-15 third-down conversion attempts, it was 3-for-3 on fourth downs, including two key fourth-down conversions on the winning drive.

In addition to the fourth-down conversions, the Gamecocks used the big play to beat Chattanooga. JSU rushed for 298 yards but five plays accounted for 215 yards on runs of 65, 52, 28, 49 and 21 yards. The Mocs, meanwhile, will count on fifth-year senior quarterback Jacob Huesman to run the offense. Huesman, who has rewritten the Mocs’ record book, recorded his 14th career game on Saturday in which he had 100 yards rushing and 100 yards passing.

The winner of this game is capable of making a serious title run. Expect another close contest as the Gamecocks have won the last three meetings in this series by three points each time. The difference might be up front as JSU had four sacks in the first game and is ranked No. 6 nationally in rush defense. Plus, Chattanooga is banged up on its interior defensive line. The Mocs – with Huesman at the controls – are capable of beating anyone, but not this time.

Projected Score: Jacksonville State 23, Chattanooga 17


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