jsu ttu action

Jacksonville State's Zerrick Cooper passes the ball over Tennessee Tech’s Sam Oldham during the JSU at Tennessee Tech OVC football game. Photo by Stephen Gross / The Anniston Star

Postgame analysis of Jacksonville State's 37-27 loss at Tennessee Tech:

THREE THINGS WORTH TALKING ABOUT

One more to go

After its latest loss, Jacksonville State gets a break this week after having to play 11 games in 11 weeks.

The loss eliminates JSU from the OVC race mathematically, and certainly dismisses the Gamecocks' playoff chances, too.

They will close out the season with a home game against Eastern Kentucky on Nov. 23.

Ball hogs

You can point to whatever reason you want to blame for Jacksonville State's loss, but it didn't help that Tennessee Tech was so good as keeping the ball.

The Golden Eagles maintained possession for 35:08. It helped that they converted seven of 14 third-down chances. They even went for it on fourth down once and made it.

They exploited JSU's troubles against the run, putting up 188 rushing yards. Tech quarterback Bailey Fisher was terrific, rushing for 121 yards on 17 carries.

Jacksonville State didn't force any turnovers.

Splendid Pearson

It was another loss, but senior All-America receiver Josh Pearson put up one of his best games of the season.

He was targeted 13 times by JSU quarterbacks and wound up with eight catches for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He scored on a 66-yard catch on JSU's final pass.

That gives him 57 receptions for 915 yards and 13 touchdowns through 11 games this season.

Last season, in 13 games, he had 67 catches for 1,123 yards and 17 touchdowns.

He's been a star on and off the field for JSU, and it's going to be tough for the Gamecocks to replace him next season.

MINI GRADES

Rushing offense — C: Take out the 59-yard run by Uriah West and the 19-yarder by Michael Matthews, and it was another below average day. It hurt that JSU lost four of five starters heading into the season, and maybe some of the new starters were rushed into the fray.

Rushing defense — C: JSU didn't gashed for a lot of big runs, but the Gamecocks didn't slow down Bailey Fisher often.

Passing offense — B+: Zerrick Cooper gets marked down for the interception, but he wound up completing 28 of 42 for 312 yards and three touchdowns. Drops hurt again.

Passing defense — C-: Fisher had an efficient day, as JSU struggled on both the front and back ends of pass coverage. The good thing is that a bunch of different players got action Saturday and this season. This defense should benefit greatly next season from the experience it gaines this year.

Special teams — B+: Jason Pierce had another solid day punting the ball, pinning three of five inside the 20-yard line.

Coaching — D: JSU has slumped badly at the end of the year. Injuries certainly haven't helped.

Overall — D: Losing this season to UT Martin, Southeast Missouri and Austin peay is understandable. All three are solid teams. This one, however, was one we thought JSU could snag.

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

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