The Jacksonville State Gamecocks (8-2, 5-1) will visit the Murray State Racers (5-1, 5-1) Sunday with the Ohio Valley Conference Championship on the line.
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The game (3 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on TV anywhere, but anyone in the US can watch Jacksonville State vs Murray State football live on ESPN+ right here:
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Jacksonville State vs Murray State Preview
JSU is coming off a 44-23 win over Eastern Illinois last weekend. Gamecocks quarterback Zion Webb put in an impressive showing, going 16-of-24 for 249 yards and two scores through the air. Webb also rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown in a complete performance. Wideout Ahmad Edwards caught two touchdown passes, leading the team in receiving yards with 101 yards on five catches.
The Gamecocks were also punishing in the ground game. Running back Joshua Samuel led the way, rushing for 130 yards on 12 carries (that’s a whopping 10.8 yards per carry), along with a touchdown. JSU had three rushing scores, and it will be pivotal for Murray State to contain a running attack that is averaging 192.3 yards per game. For what it’s worth, the Gamecocks seem to know they’re in for a battle.
“Winning the OVC the last year we are going to be in would mean a lot to our guys,” Jacksonville State head coach John Grass said this week. “It’s going to be a war.”
The Racers are fresh from their first loss of the season, a 34-31 heartbreaker to Austin Peay. A last-second field goal sunk Murray State in a game that went back and forth for all four quarters.
Quarterback Preston Rice went 13 of 20 for 193 yards and a touchdown, and he also had 32 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Running back Damonta Witherspoon had 95 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, but in the end, it wasn’t enough. Still, the Racers have a chance to at least share the conference championship with a win, and they’ll be giving it everything they’ve got.
“Coach (Dean) Hood said it – not everyone gets a second chance at it,” Rice said after the loss to Austin Peay. “We get the opportunity to bounce back from this disappointing loss and play for a conference championship. It’s exciting to still have something to play for.”
Murray State is scoring 30.2 points a game, while allowing 22.7 points a game on defense, while Jacksonville State is averaging 27.8 points a game and surrendering 18.1 points per contest, so both teams are well-matched heading into this one.
“You can’t ask for anything more,” Grass said. “I know our guys will be excited and it will be a great football game. It will be a classic game of who has the ball last or who can make plays late in the game. It means a lot to any team to win a championship, and to go out being champions would be huge. I am glad we have the opportunity this weekend.”