The Gamecocks are all about taking what people give them.
Austin Peay packed it in up front in hopes of taking away the run, so the Gamecocks threw it and had some success. Kyle West played the whole game at quarterback and completed 18 of 30 passes for 188 yards, hitting nine straight at one point.
Redshirt freshman Josh Barge had another solid day with nine catches for 115 yards. He leads the team with 40 receptions.
When the Gamecocks did run against Austin Peay, it fell on Damarcus James. He responded with 102 rushing yards and a school-record five rushing touchdowns.
Austin Peay came into the game with one of the weakest offenses in the country, although it has shown improvement the last two weeks.
The Gamecocks probably gave up too many yards early, especially up the middle, and Austin Peay’s Omar Williams rushed for 173 yards, but they stopped the Govs when they had to and seized the momentum on an early interception return for a touchdown.
The pass defense was solid, allowing Austin Peay to complete only 4 of 26 passes.
The JSU coaches challenged the defense to hold Austin Peay to three-and-out on the two possessions before subbing, and it responded.
All you can say here is it was solid.
Punter Hamish MacInnes didn’t have an 80-yard punt this week, but he still averaged 44 yards for his five kicks. There were a couple times JSU coach Bill Clark wished he had given Griffin Thomas a shot at a field goal, but at that point, the Gamecocks were so far ahead it might have been construed as piling on.
Telvin Brown ran back a punt 22 yards.
The Gamecocks just had to keep it in the road.
The best thing they did was manage to keep everyone focused on the task at hand and not overlook the Govs in favor of their next two opponents.
They tried a trick play in the first quarter — a reverse pass — but Gabe Chambers’ effort was short-hopped by its intended target.
The Gamecocks (7-2) kept their post-open date momentum going as they head into their two most important games of the year.
With juggernaut Eastern Illinois on the horizon, the home game with Eastern Kentucky next week well could mean keeping JSU’s hopes to the NCAA playoffs alive. The Eastern Illinois game will be on the road.