Five weeks into the spring football season, APSU head coach Scotty Walden and staff have picked up their first marquee win.
Fresh off a 37-34 loss at the horn against UT Martin on homecoming, the Governors traveled on the road to face the seventh-ranked Jacksonville State Gamecocks. The Govs (3-5, 3-2 OVC) prevailed in the contest, 13-10, defeating JSU in Jacksonville for the first time since 1979.
“[I] could not be more proud of our guys,” Walden said. We’re proving [that] we can win games in various ways, whether it’s [by] scoring points or winning a 13-10, defensive battle like we did today.
“Our defense saved us in this one. Our defense stepped up big time, they had a great week of practice and our offense had a great week of practice, I think we just missed some things execution-wise. But I’m proud of this team. A win is a win and I’m proud of this team and the way they bounced back.”
According to the coach, some players fell into the monotony of a routine heading into last week’s contest but are entering the final three games of the season with an intentional mindset.
The Gamecocks scored on their first drive of the afternoon, a three-yard rushing touchdown from Josh Samuel, but APSU responded on the ensuing possession with a deep pass from freshman Draylen Ellis to DeAngelo Wilson. Wilson finished the contest with 118 receiving yards and a touchdown, bringing his season totals to 520 yards and three scores.
“I mean, it feels great,” Wilson said. “We knew it was going to be a dogfight when we came in here, we just – like Coach Walden [has] been telling us all week – we have to stay focused and we have to finish. It obviously feels good to come here and win…To be able to get a win against them [in] their last season as an OVC opponent, it just feels good.”
Jacksonville State — who averaged 25 points per contest before Sunday’s game — only scored once more on a field goal from 36-yards out. JSU turned the ball over six times and had 18 penalties for 126 yards. Saturday’s defeat is the Gamecocks’ first FCS loss this season.
The Govs return home to face another undefeated opponent in Mu**ay State on Saturday, March 3. Kick-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Fortera Stadium.