The number-four ranked Jacksonville State Gamecocks welcome the Delaware Blue Hens to Alabama to face off in the FCS playoff quarterfinals. The visiting Blue Hens won a first-round slugfest 19-10 over Sacred Heart, while the host took care of Davidson, 49-14.
The contest kicks off at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday at Burgess-Snow Field in Jacksonville, AL. Saturday’s game will be streamed live on ESPN3. According to BetUS sportsbook, the Gamecocks are a 3½-point favorite over the visiting Blue Hens.
What to Know – Delaware Blue Hens
The Blue Hens, backed by a stout defense, took care of business against Sacred Heart in the first round of the FCS playoffs. Saturday’s victory was the first playoff victory for Delaware since 2010. Delaware finished the regular season with a perfect 6-0 mark playing in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Delaware scores 30.5 points per game behind 358.2 yards of total offense. Defensively, the Blue Hens are one of the best in the nation, holding teams to 11.3 points and surrendering 226.8 yards per game. Delaware ranks top-4 in both defensive categories.
In Saturday’s victory, the Blue Hens posted 199 yards of offense and just 2-of-13 on third down. The Blue Hens held SHU to 236 yards of offense and forced one interception. It was the first time this season that the Blue Hens lost the time of possession battle (32:11 to 27:49).
Redshirt junior Nolan Henderson finished 17-of-27 for 113 yards and one score. Running back Khory Spruill (12 carries, 52 yards) and Dejoun Lee (13 carries, 35 yards) combined totally most of the rushing yards for the Blue Hens. Redshirt junior Thyrick Pitts hauled in four passes for a team-high 50 yards.
What to Know – Jacksonville State Gamecocks
JSU won the Ohio Valley Conference to punch its playoff ticket for the sixth time in seven years. The Gamecocks dismantled Davidson, building a three-score halftime advantage and never looking back. Jacksonville State’s successful spring slate earned them the four-seed in the playoffs.
The Gamecocks score 29.6 points per game while churning out 399.4 yards of total offense. JSU’s defense allows 17.4 points and concedes 275.1 yards per game.
Jacksonville State scored three touchdowns to conclude the first half on their way to a comfortable first-round victory. JSU tallied 273 yards of offense and averaged 13 yards per play in the first half. The Gamecocks scored 14 in seven seconds, setting a school record.
Redshirt junior Zion Webb completed 9-of-15 passes for 239 yards with a pair of touchdown passes and chipped in 68 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Junior running back Uriah West carried the ball 12 times for 68 yards and one score. Through the air, freshman wide receiver Michael Pettway caught three passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.
The Pick is In
Delaware has been getting it done all spring on the defensive end and doing just enough offensively to remain undefeated. The Blue Hens didn’t play their best ball in the first round and still walked away with a victory. Delaware will have to stick to the script defensively and pick it up a notch offensively in Saturday’s challenge.
The Gamecocks don’t do anything great, but there are no holes in this team either. JSU showcased a balanced offensive attack against Davidson and made the proper adjustments defensively to contain the triple-option offense. Jacksonville State’s offense will be the key to the game, providing just enough firepower to escape a close contest.
Jacksonville State defeats the Blue Hens, 21-13, to advance to next week’s semifinals.
Pick: Jacksonville State Gamecocks -3½