But the JSU players were none too pleased Saturday as the Tigers’ band played on while one of their own was getting medical attention after getting hurt late in the third quarter.
Gamecocks sophomore receiver Markis Merrill sustained what has been described as a hip injury after a 76-yard catch.
He was getting medical attention on the sideline and players from both teams took a knee.
Many prayed. But the TSU band played.
“I felt kind of disrespected,” JSU quarterback Eli Jenkins said. “When he was down the band was still kind of playing and stuff. My friend, one of my good friends, is down on the ground hurt. Y’all can’t give him that to see what’s up. We just felt disrespected.”
Merrill got pulled from behind and lay on the ground for several minutes while medical teams attended to him. They wrapped both his legs together to stabilize his hip, lifted him onto a stretcher and transported him to a local hospital.
Many of Merrill’s teammates walked down to the gurney before it left. Merrill flashed a thumbs-up sign to the crowd as he was being wheeled away.
“He just told me to finish the game,” receiver Josh Barge said.
Merrill’s mother, L’ketchie, said late Saturday night her son was “doing OK,” but wasn’t in a position to provide any further details.
It wasn’t immediately certain how long Merrill might be out of action. He didn’t miss at all when after he took a violent shot over the middle in the North Alabama game.
“I hate it for that kid because he’s gone through some … stuff,” JSU coach Bill Clark said. “Gosh, he’s playing so good right now. You’ve only got a few of those guys who can stretch the field; he’s our guy obviously. I feel like our guys will bounce back, but we need all our people for this stretch run.”