FCS Week 4 has a packed Sunday slate, including an Ohio Valley Conference battle between the No. 10 Jacksonville State Gamecocks and the Tennessee State Tigers. Jacksonville State (4-1) will head to Nashville to take on Tennessee State on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.
The two teams last played each other in October of 2019, with JSU winning 31-23. If you’re doing some Jacksonville State vs Tennessee State betting, the Gamecocks are currently 20-point favorites, with an over/under set at 56½ points at BetUS Sportsbook.
Jacksonville State: Running Wild
The 10th-ranked Gamecocks have the benefit of more games played together, as they played four times in the fall and once so far this spring. Cumulatively, Jacksonville State finds itself 4-1, including beating the college football odds with one win over a Division I program in Florida International.
The Gamecocks’ first win during this FCS spring season was a 27-10 victory over Tennessee Tech. The running game was a force to be reckoned with, as four players combined for 274 yards.
Junior runner Uriah West led the way, finishing with 106 yards on just eight carries. Quarterback Zion Webb passed for 125 yards and ran for 71 more, throwing one touchdown and one interception.
Sophomore receiver Dave Russell III was Webb’s go-to target, hauling in five balls for 81 yards and the lone touchdown.
Along with the strong rushing performance, the defense came to play, forcing five turnovers on Tennessee Tech. The ball-hawking secondary picked off quarterback Willie Miller three times, and the team scooped up a pair of fumbles as well.
The turnovers certainly made life easier for the Gamecocks, and the defense was able to stifle Tennessee Tech, holding the offense to just 227 total yards.
Tennessee State: Uncertainty at Quarterback
Tennessee State’s spring opener was a 27-20 loss to Austin Peay. A heavy underdog going in, the Tigers ended up covering thanks to 10 points in the fourth quarter.
It was the first game for Tennessee State since the 2019 college football season when it wrapped up a 3-9 campaign. The loss to Austin Peay showed that the defensive woes that hampered the team in 2019 may be improving, though it’s a low bar.
Last season, the defense gave up an average of 455 yards per game to opposing offenses and over 30 points in eight of their 12 games. Austin Peay finished with 368 yards, though the Tennessee State run defense was torched to the tune of 250 rushing yards.
For the Tigers offense, some questions remain a week-to-week mystery, including the state of the quarterback position. Deveon Bryant got the start but was pulled in the fourth quarter after completing just 4-of-13 passes for 61 yards.
Isaiah Green came in and immediately provided a spark, completing 10 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown. Green, a transfer from Division-I Marshall, had two solid seasons for the Thundering Herd. He was throwing for over 2,500 yards and 15 touchdowns in both 2018 and 2019.
This week’s starter remains to be seen. But, one has to think head coach Rod Reed will stick with the hot hand in Green.
This NCCAF pick‘s logic is a simple one, and it’s built around the run. Jacksonville State showcased its deep and explosive group of runners en route to 274 yards. Meanwhile, Tennessee State was gashed by Austin Peay, totaling 250 yards.
It’s a clear matchup advantage for the Gamecocks, and despite the big spread, it’s a bet worth placing.
Beyond the expected rushing success, it’s challenging to hitch a betting wagon to a team with so many questions at quarterback. The guess here is Green is the guy, as his D-I experience is valuable to a young Tennessee State team.
Until we know for sure, the pick is Jacksonville State in what will be its sixth game of the season. When making your college football picks, give the 20 points and take the Gamecocks.