JSU Continues Fall Camp, Ranked 8th in Coaches Poll

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

After practicing a few days in helmets and shorts, the Jacksonville State football team put on the pads for the first time in fall camp. Sunday and Monday the Gamecocks practiced in shoulder pads giving the coaches their first look at the player’s physicality and strength developed in the offseason. Jacksonville State is ranked No. 8 in the preseason FCS Coaches Poll, which was released on Monday.

 

Three-time defending FCS National Champion North Dakota State is first and enters 2014 having won 24 straight games, dating back to 2012. The Bison received 18 of 26 first-place votes to claim the top spot, while Eastern Washington earned the No. 2 spot in the poll and received six first-place votes. Southeastern Louisiana, New Hampshire and Montana rounds out the top five in the inaugural poll of 2014.

 

Coastal Carolina holds the No. 6 spot, followed by Towson, Jacksonville State, McNeese State and South Dakota State to complete the top 10.

 

The Gamecocks went 11-4 and 5-3 in the Ohio Valley Conference a year ago and caught fire at the right time, rolling to the school's first two FCS Playoff wins before falling in the Quarterfinals at Eastern Washington. JSU is also picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference by the league's coaches and sports information directors, and also the media.

 

The No. 8 preseason ranking is the highest preseason ranking in JSU's Division I history, a mark previously set by the 2011 team that started the season ranked ninth.

 

JSU will be under new leadership in 2013 under first-year head coach John Grass, but it won't necessarily be unfamiliar to the Gamecocks, especially on offense. Grass coordinated a JSU offense that was the most prolific in school history. His unit was the highlight in a season that saw the Gamecocks set a total of 49 school records, 13 OVC records and three NCAA records.

 

"It's always nice to be recognized in the preseason football polls," said Grass. "There is a lot of excitment surrounding our football team as we get ready for the 2014 season and it is certainly nice to be ranked in the Top 10."

 

A quick-strike attack that scored 24 times on drives of less than one minute, the Gamecock offense amassed 6,637 yards of total offense, 1,755 yards more than any team in school history, and racked up 528 points, 107 more than the previous record set in 1991. JSU's 65 touchdowns were a new school record, while its school record 48 rushing touchdowns also broke the OVC mark.

 

Defensively, the Gamecocks return most of a talented front line that recorded a school-record 52 sacks in 2013. That record-breaking total included a school-record 11 in JSU's second-round playoff win at McNeese State, one week after notching six in a first-round win over Samford.

 

The Gamecocks will get the 2014 season underway on Friday, Aug. 29, at Michigan State. The Spartans are coming off a 12-1 season that saw them win the Big Ten title before defeating Stanford in the Rose Bowl to earn a No. 3 national ranking. JSU's home opener is scheduled for Sept. 20 against old rival West Alabama at 3 p.m. Season tickets are available online atwww.jsugamecocksports.com or by calling (256) 782-8499.

 

Preseason FCS Coaches Poll (August 4, 2014)

Team (First-Place Votes) 2013 Record Points 2013 Final

1. North Dakota State (18) 15-0 636 1

2. Eastern Washington (6) 12-3 615 3

3. Southeastern Louisiana (1) 11-3 542 6

4. New Hampshire 10-5 510 5

5. Montana 10-3 505 8

6. Coastal Carolina 12-3 447 7

7. Towson (1) 13-3 438 2

8. Jacksonville State 12-2 425 12

9. McNeese State 10-3 424 9

10. South Dakota State 9-5 332 14

11. Eastern Illinois 12-2 314 4

12. Fordham 12-2 305 10

13. Villanova 6-5 287 NR

14. Sam Houston State 9-5 277 13

15. Northern Iowa 7-5 263 NR

16. Chattanooga 8-4 238 25

17. Tennessee State 10-4 237 17

18. Furman 8-6 188 21

19. Montana State 7-5 170 20

20. Maine 10-3 169 11

21. Youngstown State 8-4 162 19

22. William & Mary 7-5 159 NR

23. Bethune-Cookman 10-3 136 16

24. Richmond 6-6 118 NR

25. Northern Arizona 9-3 116 15

 

Others receiving votes: Samford 95, Southern Illinois 59, Harvard 42, Charleston Southern 39, James Madison 30, Princeton 24, Southern Utah 20, Alcorn State 16, Liberty 16, Delaware 15, South Carolina State 15, Cal Poly 14, Missouri State 12, Sacred Heart 10, Wofford 8, Central Arkansas 7, Alabama State 6, Lehigh 6, Eastern Kentucky 4, Holy Cross 1, Illinois State 1, Jacksonville 1

 

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