Jacksonville St. 38, North Alabama 14
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (AP) _ Terrence Bowens gained 143 yards on 21 carries and backup quarterback Cecil Blount provided solid relief as Jacksonville State defeated North Alabama 38-14 Saturday in the opening round of the NCAA Division II playoffs.
The Gamecocks (9-2) will play next week at defending national champion Mississippi College, which defeated Wofford 70-19. The Lions ended their season 8-3.
JSU rushed for 289 yards against the Gulf South Conference’s top rushing defense.
Jacksonville State got on the scoreboard in the opening quarter when Bowens capped an eight-play, 63-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge.
The Gamecocks struck again in the second quarter. With North Alabama driving into JSU territory, Darrell Malone picked off Craig Bryant’s pass and ran it 77 yards for the score.
Then starting quarterback David Gulledge was sacked and injured his left knee with 10 minutes left in the half. With Blount at the helm, JSU scored once more before the half on Bert Flowers’ 2-yard run.
Trailing 21-0 in the third period, the UNA offense, held to 86 total yards in the first half, came to life. Led by the passing of Bryant, who connected on 22 of 41 for 277 yards in the game, the Lions moved to the Gamecocks’ 8- yard line. But Brad Stepp missed a 25-yard field goal.
On Jacksonville’s next possesion, Blount directed the Gamecocks 80 yards in eight plays for a TD. Ralph Johnson ended the drive with a 4-yard run.
After forcing a punt, Blount again directed JSU into the end zone. This time, he found Danny Lee from 13 yards for the TD capping a 52-yard drive.
North Alabama got two fourth quarter TDs from Bryant to Troy Nelson.