MONTGOMERY — Instead of having a battle of the bands with North Carolina A&T’s crew, JSU’s “Marching Southerners” wound up having a confrontation with JSU’s football team.
Elements of the football team were on the field finishing warmups when the band began taking the field from both ends. As one half of the band closed in, band members and players started to intermingle around south 30-yard line.
The football team moved down to practice extra points, but the band changed formations and started to squeeze them again. The football players left the field.
The band was on time for its performance, according to JSU officials. Camellia Bowl staff handled the scheduling of pregame activities on the field.
North Carolina A&T’s band did not make the trip to Montgomery.
New JSU starters
Of JSU’s 22 starters on offense and defense, 13 made their first starts as Gamecocks. That includes eight on offense.
The first-time starters on offense were quarterback Zerrick Cooper, running back Michael Matthews, wide receivers Jerad Washington, Daniel Byrd and Josh Pearson, tight end Landon Rice, right guard Tyrese Slocum and right tackle Hunter Sosebee.
Matthews (Tramel Terry) and Slocum (Darius Anderson) started because of injuries.
First-time starters on defense were lineman Tyre McKinney, bandit Denzil Ware, sam linebacker Christian Wafford, will linebacker Jalen Choice and cornerback Yul Gowdy. Ware had several starts at Kentucky but transferred to JSU.
Wafford snagged his first career interception, in the third quarter.
Cooper threw his first two touchdown passes at JSU. He had two at Clemson.
Pearson caught his first career pass … a 40-yard touchdown pass from Cooper in the third quarter.
Defensive tackle Randy Robinson blocked a field goal attempt in the second quarter, the fourth block of his career.
With four blocks, Robinson stands second in JSU history. Taurean Rhetta blocked eight kicks between 2004-07.
Robinson blocked field goal attempts by Southeast Missouri State and Murray State last season. He blocked another, against Austin Peay in 2016.
Former Piedmont wide receiver C.J. Savage got in on the action Saturday, catching a pass behind the line of scrimmage and turning it into a four-yard gain.
Savage also had an impressive punt return in the first quarter, but a holding penalty wiped it out.
He attempted to field a bounced punt in traffic in the third quarter and muffed it, and A&T recovered at JSU’s 48-yard line. He muffed A&T’s ensuing punt, as well, but JSU recovered.
Savage transferred to JSU from West Alabama and sat out the 2017 season under transfer rules. He played two seasons at UWA, appearing in eight games with 14 catches as a true freshman in 2015. He played in 11 games as a sophomore in 2016 with eight catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. He also returned 20 kickoffs for 425 yards.