JACKSONVILLE — Quarterback Zerrick Cooper left the game after being tackled in the end zone, just as he released a pass, on the first play of the fourth quarter and did not return. JSU coach John Grass said it appeared to be “whiplash” as Cooper went down but that he should be OK.
—Grass said he wasn't sure what kind of injury safety Traco Williams sustained on a crack back block just before halftime, but William's did not play in the second half.
—Right offensive tackle Hunter Sosebee was helped off the field early in the third quarter with an apparent right-leg injury.
—Defensive tackle Randy Robinson (knee) went down in the fourth quarter at Eastern Kentucky with what JSU coach John Grass described as an MCL sprain but played against Eastern Illinois on Saturday.
—Offensive lineman B.J. Autry (shoulder) left the action at EKU and did not return, but he played against EIU on Saturday.
—Center Tyler Scozzaro briefly left the EKU game with what Grass called a reaggravation of an old knee injury but returned at EKU and played Saturday. He stayed down after a first-quarter pass play then limped off the field but returned in the second quarter. Tyrese Slocum played center after that.
—Wide receiver Jerad Washington (shoulder) did not play. The injury occurred in JSU’s rout of Tennessee Tech on Sept. 22.
—Defensive back Charles Crawford (thumb) did not play for the fifth week in a row.
—Fullback Dakota Chapman (broken arm) did not play and is out for the season. The injury occurred on the opening kickoff against Tennessee Tech. Since he played in three games this season, under the NCAA’s four-game redshirt threshold, so can get this season back.
Pearson catches history
Wide receiver Josh Pearson keeps catching touchdown passes, and he caught three Saturday to tie Jacksonville State’s school single-season record.
He broke behind the Eastern Illinois secondary for a 35-yard touchdown pass from Cooper at 9:50 of the third quarter. About two minutes later, Pearson adjusted across the end zone and up to the goal line as Cooper scrambled, running under and into a 31-yard touchdown pass. Pearson also caught a 23-yarder from Zion Webb, in the fourth quarter.
Pearson’s performance gives him 11 touchdown catches on the season, passing Derrick Thomas (nine, 1985) and Maurice Dupree (10, 2008) and tying Josh Barge (2015) for the school record.
Pearson has also caught at least one touchdown pass in each of JSU’s six games. Nine of his touchdown catches went for 20 yards or more.
Darius on the board
Safety Darius Joiner snagged his first collegiate interception Saturday, snagging a Harry Woodberry pass in the third quarter and returning 24 yards to JSU’s 47-yard line.
That started a drive that ended in Cooper’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Pearson for a 35-9 JSU lead.
Joiner is a redshirt freshman from Handley High School, where he starred on the Tigers’ 4A state-title team of 2016. An injury to backup Crawford helped him move up the depth chart.
Ashley’s coin toss
On a day when JSU recognized the softball team for its Ohio Valley Conference tournament title this past spring, the school honored another famous female athlete. Ashley Martin Cockrell was out for the pregame coin toss, and she was recognized after JSU scored its first touchdown.
She became the first female to play and score in an NCAA football game when she kicked an extra point Aug. 30, 2001. She went on to make two more extra points in JSU’s 72-10 rout of Cumberland University.
Cockrell is one of three females to have scored in a college football game. Liz Heaston had previously kicked two extra points for NAIA Willamette University on Oct. 18, 1997, and Katie Hnida kicked two extra points for the University of New Mexico on Aug. 30, 2003.