Gamecocks outlast the UTEP Miners, earning their first win in the FBS
The Jacksonville State Gamecocks made sure their first game at the FBS level was a memorable one, after they survived a nail-biter against Conference USA foe UTEP, 17-14. It would not be a Jax State game if it did not leave the fans on the edge of their seats for the majority of the game, and that is exactly what happened to the thousands of people who packed Burgess-Snow Field Saturday night. “I really appreciate the crowd (for) hanging around on a hot day, and helping us out with some energy at the end,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said.
“It was a great win, and a great night for Jax State. ” Undoubtedly, nobody had a greater night than redshirt-senior safety Jeremiah Harris. The team captain - who officially kicked off his seventh year as a Gamecock tonight - hauled in the clutch game sealing interception with a 1:15 left in the fourth quarter.
“To me, that’s a lifelong memory for that young man,” Rodriguez said. “He will probably have this game on loop on his phone to show to his grandkids for years to come. ” Harris came up to the press conference room after the game was over to talk to the media about his impressive performance, as well as his defense’s stellar play in tonight’s game.
“It’s obviously a great feeling to actually come out and win our first Conference USA game at the FBS level,” Harris said. “I was in man coverage, and one of my DBs (defensive backs) didn’t come over, so I actually guarded two people, and when he threw the ball I just made a play. ” That play is going to live on in the memory of Gamecock fans for years to come, as the moment Jax State claimed their first win at the FBS level.
Other standout performers in tonight’s matchup included a pair of Gamecock running backs, senior Malik Jackson and junior Ron Wiggins. Those two players accounted for JSU’s only touchdowns in the game, and combined for 179 total yards on 29 touches. Redshirt-senior Zion Webb also started a majority of snaps at quarterback in the game against UTEP.
Webb accounted for 67 passing yards and 55 rushing yards en route to his team’s historic 17-14 win. .