Jacksonville State Offense Preview:
Jacksonville State’s offense will be an interesting matchup for the Yellow Jackets defense on Saturday afternoon. An offense that emphasizes the run, the Gamecocks enter Saturday with an offense that features one of the best running backs in all of the Football Champion Series subdivision in Roc Thomas. It won’t be an offense that puts up huge numbers on the scoreboard but an offense that will get the job done and wear down opposing defenses. It was also a team that was extremely balanced in their first game against Chattanooga two weeks ago.
As mentioned above, the main player on the Gamecocks offense is running back Roc Thomas, a former five-star running back who played for two years at Auburn before arriving at Jacksonville State. Thomas in the Gamecocks week zero victory over Chattanooga rushed for 122-yards and one touchdown on 19-carries. Outside of a 76-yard run, the Mocs held Thomas rather in check with just 46-yards on 18-carries, an average of 2.55 per carry. That being said, Thomas is also a threat in the receiving game as he brought in three receptions for 68-yards. In total, the Gamecocks rushed for 184-yards against Chattanooga.
When it comes to the passing game, the Gamecocks will be reliant on redshirt freshman Bryant Horn who replaces Eli Jenkins. Against Chattanooga, Horn showed himself to be an accurate passer but also showed he can be turnover prone. Horn went 14-for-20 against Chattanooga, passing for 182-yards and a touchdown while throwing two interceptions.
With their leading receiver from a year ago in Josh Barge gone, the Gamecocks are still searching for their top receiver in 2017. With nobody really flashing much against Chattanooga, the Jacksonville State receiving core will be worth watching. One possible option for the Gamecocks will be 6-foot-7 wide out Jamari Hester who had 22 receptions for 330-yards and three touchdowns a year ago.
Since the Gamecocks won’t win games with their offense all the time, it’s time to take a look at their defense, one of the best in the FCS.