JACKSONVILLE — It seems alarming, that Jacksonville State coach John Grass lacks confidence that any of his kickers can hit a 44-yard field goal.
It’s on the long end of a midrange kick, and Grass elected to go for it rather than try when faced with the prospect twice in JSU’s 41-20 victory over Chattanooga on Saturday.
Fourth down and six, Grass kept the offense on the field.
Fourth down and eight, Grass kept the offense on the field.
For football fans trained to turn away or cover their eyes when kickers take the field, it seems like proof that JSU has a gaping hole in its game, bound to cost the Gamecocks in an important game.
Then again, JSU went 1-for-2 going for it on fourth down. Quarterback Zerrick Cooper threw his worst pass of the night on the first one, floating it up in coverage for an interception. Cooper and tight end Trae Barry made their most consequential connection of the night on the second one, with Barry diving back to catch a ball that Cooper got out while falling, in the grasp of tacklers.
That drive ended in a touchdown.
So, if you’re keeping score, JSU was 1-for-2 on those fourth downs, and the result was seven points … one more than JSU would’ve scored, had Bryant Wallace hit two 44-yard field goals.
Considering Grass didn’t even try, there doesn’t seem much likelihood that Wallace would’ve hit both, maybe not one.
For the time being, Grass has made the calculation that giving Cooper four tries beats giving Wallace one. So far, Grass’ calculation has paid off.