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JSU football: Gamecocks 'disappointed and upset' that opener has been postponed

JSU Mercer action

Jacksonville head coach John Grass has words with an official during the Mercer vs JSU NCAA football game. Photo by Stephen Gross / The Anniston Star

JACKSONVILLE — The Jacksonville State football team isn't happy, and who can blame them?

On Wednesday, the Gamecocks found out Sunday's season-opening game at Tennessee State has been postponed to March 7. JSU will have to wait a week to begin its spring season with a Feb. 28 home game against Tennessee Tech.

"Our team is disappointed and upset," JSU coach John Grass said Wednesday evening after finishing a staff meeting. "They were ready to play a game."

Describing his own mood, Grass said, "I was very upset."

In a news release, the Ohio Valley Conference gave "winter weather" as the reason for the postponement. JSU athletics director Greg Seitz said Wednesday his school didn't know until Wednesday that Hale Stadium, which is TSU's home field, was having such issues with its surface that it could not host a game Sunday. The forecast for Nashville, Tenn., on Sunday from is 51 degrees and partly cloudy.

Grass told his team before practice Wednesday, and the OVC held off with the public announcement until 4:30 p.m. to give him the opportunity to do so.

"We were totally transparent and told them what we knew," Grass said. "We talked about how we would deal with it. We talked about not worrying about what we couldn't control."

Grass added that in the meantime, JSU will treat this week like an off-week. The team will practice Thursday and Friday. He said Saturday's plans are still up in the air — the Gamecocks could have a light practice or take the day off. Sunday is planned for an off-day.

JSU will return to work Monday as a regular game week.

"We'll stay game ready," Grass said. "I don't think that'll be a problem with our guys."

If there is an advantage for JSU, it's that the coaches can spend Sunday scouting the next opponent. The Gamecocks are scheduled to host Tennessee Tech on Feb. 28. Tech will host Austin Peay on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ESPN+ will broadcast the game.

"That'll give us some film to break down," Grass said.

Tennessee State hasn't played a game since the end of the 2019 season, which left Grass and his staff uncertain how the Tigers might look.

The postponement eliminates the Gamecocks' open date in the spring schedule and means they'll have to play their seven games in seven weeks.

All are against OVC opponents. The Gamecocks will host Tennessee Tech on Feb. 28, Southeast Missouri on March 21, and Austin Peay on March 28. They'll travel to Tennessee State on March 7, UT Martin on March 14, Eastern Illinois on April 3 and Murray State on April 11.

Senior Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.