The JSU football team begins their quest for a national championship this week. The Gamecocks host in-state rival Samford in the first round of the FCS playoffs.
This will be the first meeting between the programs since 2007 when Samford was a member of the OVC. In their 46 prior meetings, JSU has a 22-21-2 lead and have a 13-9 record at home. But head coach Bill Clark is quick to point out it’s a new day for both squads.
For JSU linebacker Kelsey Pope, the game will not only be for school pride, but also family bragging rights. Kelsey’s twin brother Kyle Pope is a star receiver at Samford and it’s fitting this game falls on Thanksgiving weekend. Kelsey is 3 minutes older than Kyle and says he expects his “younger” brother to do a little friendly trash talking at the dinner table on Thursday. Kelsey says his parents will likely split their allegiances to both schools on gameday.
JSU and Samford hook up at Burgess Snow Field in Jacksonville on Saturday at 7:00 pm.