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Report card: Grading Jacksonville State's stunning win over Florida State

Jacksonville State vs. Florida State

Jacksonville State's Pat Jackson tries to outrun a Florida State defender.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Jacksonville State is 1-1 after beating Florida State 20-17 on Saturday:

Offense: B

JSU moved the ball and scored … a major improvement over the Gamecocks’ performance against UAB. Quarterback Zerrick Cooper ran the ball more and took some long drops and throws downfield. He threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns, including a 59-yard touchdown pass to Damond Philyaw-Johnson to win the game on the final play.

Defense: B-

The defense’s worst enemy was a short field after a JSU turnover and an FSU punt return and penalties. Those circumstances aided both of FSU’s touchdown drives. Otherwise, JSU’s defense held its own against FBS competition after giving up 517 yards to UAB.

Special teams: C

JSU gave up a 31-yard punt return that helped to set up an FSU touchdown. Otherwise, the Gamecocks had a solid performance. Jack Dawson averaged 42 yards on eight punts

Coaching: A

When playing up in competition, the best a coaching staff can do is give its team a chance to win. JSU was never out of this game and clearly showed improvement from the first game to the last.

Overall: B-

On a night with reminders of 2009, JSU hung in with Florida State. The Gamecocks looked more like a team that can win in their AQ7 conference.

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.