Monday, September 17, 2007

Increasing the odds

Jacksonville State coach Jack Crowe is expecting a hard-fought game between two physical teams playing for an early leg up in the OVC race when the Gamecocks play Eastern Kentucky Saturday at Paul Snow Stadium.

With temperatures expected to be down from the Gamecocks’ home opener against Chattanooga (a 33-19 win), Crowe also is hoping the 12th man will be what's up and hot.

“I expect a good crowd,” he said. “I feel very fortunate (for) the crowd we had last time we were home. It was a hot day and I think that was tough on some people … but despite that, I thought our students were there and the students made a difference. I know they made a difference to us --- our students and our band.

“Of course, they’re a younger group, able to withstand the heat, (but) the RV park was full and people were having a good time around here. It added excitement to the team to have that kind of atmosphere. I hope with the temperature cooling off a little bit we can go ahead and start this conference race off by making a statement that playing at home is an advantage for us.”

If it’s anything like previous years, the game promises to be a tight one. And the teams have a lot in common. They both want to play physical football. They’ve both switched quarterbacks to a player who can make plays with his legs. And they’ve both moved a lot of players around in hopes of getting them all in the right places.

“This is going to be a hard-fought game,” Crowe said. “It’s the conference; they know it’s the conference. They’re going to try to get off to a 1-0 start; we’re trying to get off to a 1-0 start. They’re going to come in here and try to make the game physical; we’re going to try to make the game physical. Both of us are going to try to play the best football we can play with everything on the line.

“This is a match-up game … I feel very good about every match-up against Eastern Kentucky. Not that we’re good that we have an advantage, but I don’t think we operate at a disadvantage anywhere. There are a lot of even stevens. We’ve got to make the even stevens come out to be ours.”

That’s where he hopes the crowd will come into play.

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