North Dakota State will meet the number one ranked team in the FCS for a majority of 2015; Jacksonville State for the FCS Championship. A majority of fans saw what the Gamecocks did yesterday and will marvel at their offensive weapons and defensive size, but make no mistake, this is what they did all season long.
JSU is led by head coach John Grass (it’s pronounced Gra-hhce), he’s in his second year and this is his first head coaching gig after being a high school coach in Alabama. The Gamecocks moved up from Division 2 in 1995, this is the furthest the football program has ever reached in FCS. JSU has played NDSU twice before; in 1977 in the semifinals, losing 31-7. They met again in 1989 in Jacksonville, a 21-17 Gamecock win in the quarterfinals.
Some other nerd notes on this team:
- This is a senior heavy team; JSU has 30 on this year’s team.
- They also have a ton of experience, 19 starters returned for the 2015 season.
- Zero. That’s the number of losses against FCS opponents this year. As many know, JSU’s only loss came against Auburn in overtime, a game they had won until a late Tiger rally.
- JSU’s defensive line is made up entirely of transfers. Two are from Auburn, one from Alabama and the other from Tennessee.
- Jacksonville State has three AP FCS All-Americans; Jermaine Hough was first-team at cornerback, while quarterback Eli Jenkins was second team and running back Troymaine Pope was third team.
- Jenkins is as good as it gets in the FCS. He’s the definition of a dual-threat, 21 touchdown passes and 19 rushing touchdowns; combining for over 37 hundred yards with his arm and legs. Not far behind him is Pope, racking up 1,757 yards and 19 scores. When asked on how Pope resembles, head coach Chris Klieman said he resembles former Indiana State All-American running back Shakir Bell.
We are going to take a little bit of a break for the holiday coming up later this week and heading into next, I actually am heading to New York for a few days early next week. We will update as much as possible going forward, please know “Fargo to Frisco” returns Friday, January 8th LIVE on WDAY. Till our next update, hope everyone has a great holiday!