JSU Football Finishes Season Ranked Ninth in Polls

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Jacksonville State football team added another notch in its belt on Monday, when the Gamecocks were voted ninth in The Sports Network and FCS Coaches polls, the highest final ranking in the program's Division I history.

 

The Gamecocks went 10-2 and a perfect 8-0 in Ohio Valley Conference play in 2014 to earn the No. 3 seed and a bye in the first round of the FCS Playoffs. They won 10-straight games and became the first Gamecock team to go undefeated in OVC play while winning the program's fourth OVC title.

 

JSU defeated two teams in the final polls, both on the road. The Gamecocks earned a 26-23 overtime win on Sept. 6 at Chattanooga, who finished eighth in both polls. They also downed Eastern Kentucky on the road, 20-6 on Nov. 8. The Colonels were 21st in both polls released Monday.

 

The Gamecocks' lone losses came at Michigan State in the season opener and to Sam Houston State in the second round of the Playoffs. The Spartans were runners up to Ohio State in the Big Ten and are currently seventh in the Associated Press FBS Poll. SHSU is sixth in each of the final FCS polls after falling to national champion North Dakota State in the semifinals.

 

The Gamecocks finish in the top 10 of the final poll for the second time in their Division I history but for the second-straight year. The previous high for a final ranking at the Division I level was JSU's 10th-place spot in the 2013 final poll released by TSN. The Gamecocks were 12th in last year's Coaches Poll.

 

It marks the seventh time in 12 seasons of Division I competition that the Gamecocks have been in the final poll and the 17th time in school history they have been in the polls at season's end.

 

Under first-year head coach and OVC Coach of the Year John Grass, who took over after serving as coordinator of the Gamecocks' record-breaking offense in 2013, JSU continued to post big numbers in 2014. Its 510.8 yards of total offense per game demolished the previous school record of 442.6 yards per game set in 2004.

 

The Gamecocks amassed 6,129 total yards on the season, fourth-most in FCS and second-most in school history behind the 2013 team. A program that hadn't had a 5,000-yard season in school history before 2013, the Gamecocks have now posted back-to-back seasons with more than 6,000 yards.

 

Led by a trio of running backs in senior DaMarcus James and juniors Troymaine Pope and Miles Jones and quarterback Eli Jenkins, the Gamecocks ranked fourth nationally and set a school record with 285.3 rushing yards per game.

 

James was second in the OVC with 104.6 rushing yards per game and 20 rushing touchdowns to lead an OVC-record 18 all-conference selections. Junior defensive tackle Devaunte Siglerwas named the OVC Defensive Player of the Year and offensive lineman Justin Lea was tabbed OVC Freshman of the Year in that group. JSU had eight first-team selections to the All-OVC squad. Sigler, senior center Max Holcombe and junior cornerbackJermaine Hough each earned All-America honors at the conclusion of the season.

 

JSU and EKU were the only two OVC teams in the final polls, which are listed below:

 

The Sports Network 2014 Final Poll

Team (First-place votes) - 2014 Record

1. North Dakota State (152) - 15-1

2. Illinois State - 13-2

3. New Hampshire - 12-2

4. Eastern Washington - 11-3

5. Coastal Carolina - 12-2

6. Sam Houston State - 11-5

7. Villanova - 11-3

8. Chattanooga - 10-4

9. Jacksonville State - 10-2

10. Northern Iowa - 9-5

11. Fordham - 11-3

12. South Dakota State - 9-5

13. Montana - 9-5

14. Southeastern Louisiana - 9-4

15. Harvard - 10-0

16. Richmond - 9-5

17. Liberty - 9-5

18. James Madison - 9-4

19. Indiana State - 8-6

20. Montana State - 8-5

21. Eastern Kentucky - 9-4

22. Youngstown State - 7-5

23. Bethune-Cookman - 9-3

24. Sacred Heart - 9-3

25. Idaho State - 8-4

 

2014 Final FCS Coaches Poll

Team (First-Place Votes) - Record

1. North Dakota State (25) - 15-1

2. Illinois State - 13-2

3. New Hampshire - 12-2

4. Eastern Washington - 11-3

5. Coastal Carolina - 12-2

6. Sam Houston State - 11-5

7. Villanova - 11-3

8. Chattanooga - 10-4

9. Jacksonville State - 10-2

10. Northern Iowa - 9-5

11. Montana - 9-5

12. Southeastern Louisiana - 9-4

13. South Dakota State - 9-5

14. Fordham - 11-3

15. Harvard - 10-0

16. Richmond - 9-5

17. Liberty - 9-5

18. Indiana State - 8-6

19. James Madison - 9-3

20. Montana State - 8-5

21. Eastern Kentucky - 9-4

22. Bethune-Cookman - 9-3

23. Sacred Heart - 9-3

24. William & Mary - 7-5

25. Youngstown State - 7-5 

 

Courtesy: JSU Sports Information

 

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