Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Loss at SELA hurt

Jacksonville State's 77-73 loss at Southeastern Louisiana Tuesday night cost the Gamecocks more than a game.

Center Amadou Mbodji and swingman Nick Murphy, one of their "big men" inside, both sustained ankle injuries in the game that could limit their availability Friday night at Georgia.

The players are both considered day-to-day and a game-time decision at present, but JSU coach James Green said Wednesday there "may be a better chance" to have Murphy back than Mbodji, who at 6-10 is the Gamecocks' tallest player.

Georgia (2-2) has two players 6-10 or taller -- 6-10 Trey Thompkins and 6-11 Albert Jackson -- and three others 6-8 or 6-9.

"That's obviously a huge concern for us," Green said.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Griner dunks on Gamecocks

Jacksonville State stands to get some exposure on ESPN tonight and tomorrow, but not for what one of its teams did.

Baylor’s 6-foot-8 freshman Brittney Griner became the seventh woman to dunk in a college basketball game Tuesday night when she dunked flat-footed at the 15:05 mark of the first half against the Gamecocks.

It gave the eighth-ranked Lady Bears a 17-3 lead. Baylor scored the first 13 points of the game.

Griner dunked in an exhibition game and in warmups of Baylor’s game with Tennessee, but hadn’t dunked in a real game until Tuesday night.

Baylor leads at halftime 51-23.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Perrilloux a Payton finalist

As expected, JSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux made it to the formal ballot for the Walter Payton Award -- the FCS Heisman. He is one of 11 quarterbacks on the 20-player ballot.

Here are the pertinent stats of the 20. Cast your vote here. Pick three (in order of preference). If you don't want to respond in this forum, email me at

Pat Devlin, Delaware QB, Junior: 220-of-344 (64%), 2,664 yards passing, 16 passing touchdowns 9 interceptions; 84-127-4 rushing; 2,791 yards of total offense. Transfer from Penn State

Armanti Edwards, Appalachian State QB, Senior: 189-of-261 (72%), 2,504 yards passing, 10 passing touchdowns, 3 interceptions; 101-575-16 rushing; 3,079 yards of total offense, 9 games played. Last year's winner. Transfer from South Carolina.

William Ford, South Carolina State RB, Senior: 189 carries, 1,026 yards rushing, 8 rushing touchdowns; 18-122-2 receiving; 1,990 all-purpose yards. He was 12th in last year's voting.

Pat Grace, Northern Iowa QB, Senior: 155-of-253 (61%), 2,280 yards passing, 20 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions; 93-297-8 rushing; 2,577 yards of total offense. Ranks seventh nationally in passing efficiency.

Cameron Higgins, Weber State QB, Junior: 238-of-366 (65%), 2,890 yards passing, 28 passing touchdowns, 14 interceptions; 30-(-95) rushing; 3,059 yards of totaloffense. Ranks 13th in total offense, sixth in passing, sixth in TD passes. He finished sixth last season.

Terrell Hudgins, Elon WR, Senior: 111 catches, 1,466 yards receiving, 15 receiving touchdowns.
He led the nation in receiving and yards. He caught a TD pass in all but two games in 2009. He was 11th in the 2007 voting, 15th last year.

Deji Karim, Southern Illinois RB, Senior: 205 carries, 1,512 yards rushing, 16 rushing touchdowns; 13-161 receiving; 1 KOR touchdown. Ranks second in rushing and third in all-purpose yards.

Bryant Lee, Southern QB, Senior: 158-of-250 (63%), 2,039 yards passing, 19 passing touchdowns, 7 interceptions; 63-166-5 rushing; 2,425 yards of total offense. Ranks 10th nationally in passing efficiency, 17th in total offense.

Michael Herrick, Northern Arizona QB, Junior: 270-of-407 (66%), 3,356 yards passing, 22 passing touchdowns, 8 interceptions; 31-(-75) rushing; 3,281 yards of total offense. Transfer from Ole Miss. Ranks sixth in total offense, 15th in passing efficiency.

James Mallory, Central Connecticut State RB, Senior: 257 carries, 1,243 yards rushing, 15 rushing touchdowns; 12-61 receiving; 1,357 all-purpose yards, 3 blocked kicks. Ranks fourth nationally in rushing and is 99th in total offense, a category normally dominated by quarterbacks.

Jeremy Moses, Stephen F. Austin QB, Junior: 320-of-474 (68%), 3,488 yards passing, 36 passing touchdowns, 14 interceptions; 40-55 rushing; 3,543 yards oftotal offense. SFA has the nation's No. 1 scoring and passing offense. Moses ranks fourth nationally in total offense, 16th in passing efficiency.

Matt Nichols, Eastern Washington QB, Senior: 255-of-382 (66%), 3,369 yards passing, 30 passing touchdowns, 5 interceptions; 59-85-2 rushing; 3,454 yards of total offense. Ranks fifth nationally in total offense, eighth in passing efficiency. Been intercepted in just two games and not thrown any in his last five games.

Toddrick Pendland, McNeese State RB, Senior: 168-992-17 rushing; 27-237-2 receiving; 1,237 all-purpose yards. Leads the nation in scoring and ranks 12th in rushing.

Ryan Perrilloux, Jacksonville State QB, Senior: 138-of-236 (58%), 2,345 yards passing, 23 passing touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 98-443-8 rushing; 2,793 yards of total offense. Transfer from LSU. Leads the nation in passing efficiency, ranks fourth in points responsibility and 12th in total offense.

Curtis Pulley, Florida A&M QB, Senior: 137-of-226 (61%), 1,824 yards passing, 12 passing touchdowns, 6 interceptions; 122-881-6 rushing; 2,705 yards of total offense. Ranks 16th nationally in total offense.

Dominic Randolph, Holy Cross QB, Senior: 279-of-434 (64%), 3,429 yards passing, 31 passing touchdowns, 15 interceptions; 111-474-6 rushing; 3,903 yards of total offense. He is the active FCS career leader in total offense (13,887 yards), passing yards (13,108 yards), passing touchdowns (114) and ranks second in touchdowns responsible for (129). He is fourth all-time in passing and total offense. Currently leads the nation in total offense. He finished 12th in 2007 voting and ninth in 2008.

Chase Reynolds, Montana RB, Junior: 251 carries, 1,159 yards rushing, 15 rushing touchdowns; 27-248-2 receiving. Ranks seventh in rushing.

Andre Roberts, The Citadel WR, Senior: 77 catches, 792 yards receiving, 8 receiving touchdowns; 12-77 rushing, 14 punt returns, 15.5 average; 3 kickoff returns, 22.0 average; 1,152 all-purpose yards. Roberts is expected to be the first FCS player selected in the 2010 NFLDraft.
Currently tied for 13th in receptions and is sixth in punt returns. He finished 13th in 2008 voting.

David Sinisi, Monmouth RB, Senior: 300 carries, 1,437 yards rushing, 13 rushing touchdowns; 20-249-4 receiving; 1,738 all-purpose yards. Ranks third nationally in rushing, tied for eighth in scoring and 10th in all-purpose yards. He finished 16th in last season's voting.

Trevyn Smith, Weber State RB, Senior: 221 carries, 979 yards rushing, 7 rushing touchdowns; 32-270 receiving; 1,249 all-purpose yards. Ranks 14th in rushing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

UPDATE: JSU finishes 14th in poll

Jacksonville State ended its football season with an 8-3 record, which was good enough to pull down a No. 14 rating in the final Sports Network poll.

The Coaches Poll came out Monday and the Gamecocks wree 13th.

They are the highest rated team not in the FCS playoffs. They were not eligible, of course, because of their APR post-season ban.

Here's the playoff field. The top four seeds are Montana, Villanova, Southern Illinois and Richmond. The number beside the team's name represents its position in the TSN poll

11-South Dakota St. (8-3) at 3-Montana (11-0)
13-Eastern Wash. (8-3) at 12-Stephen F. Austin (9-2)
9-Elon (9-2) at 4-Richmond (10-1)
7-South Carolina St. (10-1) at 5-Appalachian St. (9-2)
17-Holy Cross (9-2) at 2-Villanova (10-1)
10-New Hampshire (9-2) at 8-McNeese St. (9-2)
19-Eastern Ill. (8-3) at 1-Southern Ill. (10-1)
15-Weber St. (7-4) at 6-William & Mary (9-2)

JSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux pulled down the OVC Offensive Player of the Week -- again -- after accounting for 307 yards of total offense and two touchdowns in the Gamecocks' 34-26 win over Eastern Kentucky. It's the second week in a row and seventh time this year he has won the award.

He's won it nine times in his career, tying EIU's Tony Romo (2000-02) and EKU's Markus Thomas (1989-92) for the league record.

Just go ahead and give him the Player of the Year trophy now and don't wait until Tuesday's announcement.

Alexander Henderson was named OVC Defensive Player of the Week for the third year in a row. He had 14 tackles and three fumble recoveries. It marked his seventh straight game with double digit tackles. JSU coach Jack Crowe has called him the best defensive player in the league, and that just might be proven come Tuesday's announcement, too.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Perrilloux ... Payton ... Part II

Here's how JSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux stacks up among the 20 players currently on the Walter Payton Watch List. The ballot will be distributed to the voters next week. The results of the voting and the announcement of the three finalists will be Nov. 30.

For the purpose of this chart, the first number in each category is a player's national ranking this week with the applicable value and touchdowns (when necessary).

When you're done sifting through all the data, mark your top 5 (in order) and send it along. We'll do an informal vote right here. If we get enough responses to mark it worth it, we'll post the results -- lets say, in about a week.

David Sinisi, Mon 2-1375-13 T3-10.20 9-162.4 32-11.4
Deji Karim, SIll 3-1356-14 10-9.0 3-184.9 60-9.0
Chris Evans, Samf 7-105.3-7 NA 40-121.7 NA
William Ford, SCSt 27-85.4-7 NA 67-102.4 NA
David McCarty, Alb 19-91.7-9 NA NA NA
Tony Nelson, Mass 33-79.8-6 NA NA NA
Todd Penland, McNs 6-105.3-16 1-12.44 19-132.6 25-12.4
Chase Reynolds, Mnt 5-109.6-15 T3-10.20 22-131.4 45-10.2
Trevyn Smith, Webr 16-96.9-5 NA 33-124.6 NA

Terrell Hudgins, Elon 1-100-1322-14 15-8.4 20-132.2 70-8.4
Andre Roberts, Cit 41-72-711-7 NA NA NA

Pat Devlin, Del 19-2257-15 12.5 27-238.2 24-141.64 32-11.4
Armanti Edwards, App 12-2504-20 63.9-16 3-342.1 2-163.35 8-17.3
Pat Grace, UNI 21-2221-20 27.6 21-249.7 5-162.06 9-16.8
Cam Higgins, Webr 6-2790-26 38.1 18-269.1 28-139.4 13-16.0
Bryant Lee, Sthrn 18-2259-21 30.7 17-269.4 12-151.18 7-17.8
Matt Nichols, EWash 4-2961-25 10.3 5-306.4 8-158.80 11-16.2
Ryan Perrilloux, JSU 25-2159-22 36.5 11-276.3 1-176.87 3-19.3
Curtis Pulley, FAMU 45-1824-12 88.1-6 16-277.5 26-140.63 37-10.8
Dom Randolph, HC 2-3158-30 43.6 1-359.4 14-151.37 1-21.6
*-Edwards is second nationally in scoring

Tracking Perrilloux for the Payton

JSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux is considered one of the top contenders for the Walter Payton Award that goes to the most outstanding player in the FCS. If he wins, he'll join some elite company. The competition is stiff. Here's a look at the quarterbacks who have won it in recent years and what the Gamecocks' senior is up against this year.

                              TOTAL   PASS    PASS    POINTS
                              OFF     EFF     YDS     RESP
2009 Ryan Perrilloux, JSU     276.33  176.87  239.89  19.33
2008 Armanti Edwards, App St  295.62  170.19  223.33  19.08
2007 Jayson Foster, Ga. Sthrn 277.00  130.50  109.36* 17.09    
2006 Ricky Santos, New Hamp   169.50  147.50  240.39  18.92
2005 Erik Meyer, E. Wash      352.00  169.30  333.58  16.33
2004 Lang Campbell, WmMary    307.50  158.70  284.86  16.70
2002 Tony Romo, E. Ill        262.40  148.40  263.75  17.67
*-Foster ranked second nationally in rushing (167.64)

JSU's Nold named OVC's top coach

That didn't take long.

No sooner did the previous post hit the Web then the All-OVC volleyball team hit cyberspace.

As expected, Rick Nold was named conference Coach of the Year after guiding a JSU team picked sixth in the preseason coaches poll to the regular-season championship. It's his second OVC Coach of the Year distinction.

The Gamecocks placed two players on the All-OVC first team and two on the All-Newcomer team.

Brittney Whitten and Caitlin Vorbeck made the eight-player first team, while Alyx Schulte and Jen Meyer were All-Newcomer.

Whitten, an outside hitter, repeats on the first team. She ranks among OVC leaders with 3.23 kills and 3.82 digs per set. She had double-doubles in all but seven matches this season and hit the 20-plus digs mark six times.

Vorbeck, a middle blocker/outside hitter, recorded 32 service aces and 61 total blocks this season. She averaged 2.89 kills and had 10 or more in 17 matches. She ranks among league leaders with 3.49 points per set.

Schulte was third on the JSU squad with 2.35 kills per set while Meyer led the team with a .292 attack percentage.

The other major award winners were Austin Peay's Stephanie Champine (Player of the Year), Murray State's Kayleah Sauer (Defensive Player of the Year) and Morehead State’s Annie Gruenschlaeger (Freshman of the Year).

Cain garners OVC academic accolade

It's awards season in the Ohio Valley Conference.

JSU senior football safety Josh Cain has picked up another academic accolade, Wednesday being named one of six -- three men, three women -- to receive the OVC Scholar-Athlete Award for 2008-09.

Cain and the other five winners were picked from a group of 19 finalists by a vote of OVC Faculty Athletics Representatives. The other winners were Teresa Craig of Tennessee Tech (volleyball), Jamie Furstenberg of UT-Martin (soccer), Jessica Goshert of Eastern Kentucky (soccer), Derek Hardman of Eastern Kentucky (football) and Leonardo Locatelli of Austin Peay (tennis).

Kelsey Johnikin, a senior guard on the Gamecocks' women's basketball team, also was nominated for the award.

The All-OVC volleyball team is expected to be announced later today. How can JSU coach Rick Nold not be named Coach of the Year. Sure, his team won the regular season title and will host the conference tournament this week, but it also did so after being picked sixth in the preseason coaches poll.

The Gamecocks aren't expected to pick up any of the other major postseason volleyball awards, but with all their players giving solid performances all year it will be interesting to see how they are distributed on the all-conference teams.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

JSU Hall inductions Friday

Jacksonville State will induct its newest class into the JSU Athletic Hall of Fame Friday night at 6:30 p.m. in the Gamecock Center.

The inductees for the Class of 2009 are basketball player Gary Angel, two-time All-American offensive lineman Joe Billingsley, softball's all-time strikeout leader Ann Shelton Welsh and basketball's all-time leading scorer Robert Lee Sanders.

Angel became just the fourth player in Jacksonville State basketball history to score 1,000 points (1,193). Billingsley was an All-American in 1986 and 1988. Sanders scored 1,983 points in his JSU career. Shelton struck out 635 in her two-year JSU career in 418 innings.

In addition to the inductees, Bob and Lou Kennamer and Miriam and James B. Haywood will be presented with the Jimmy Bryan Award for their contributions and years of dedication to JSU athletics.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

OVC volleyball set

By winning the regular-season title, Jacksonville State earned the right to host the OVC Volleyball Tournament.

The Gamecocks won't play their first match until Friday, when they meet the winner of No. 4 Murray State and No. 5 Tennessee Tech.

Here's the tournament schedule.

Match 1 - #4 Murray State vs. #5 Tennessee Tech – 4:30 p.m.
Match 2 - #3 Morehead State vs. #6 Eastern Kentucky – 7:00 p.m.
Match 3 - #1 Jacksonville State vs. Match 1 winner – 4:30 p.m.
Match 4 - #2 Austin Peay vs. Match 2 winner – 7:00 p.m.
Match 5 – Championship – 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Who needs Rock City to see the southeast United States when Jacksonville State fans can take a trip to Southeast Missouri?

The tourist stop in Chattanooga claims you can see seven states, but if you go the right way to SEMO, you'll pass through eight -- one-sixth of the contiguous United States. That's the route we took last week.

On the way, you pass through Alabama (1), Mississippi (2), Tennessee (3), Arkansas (4) and Missouri (5). On the way home, you pass through Missouri, Illinois (6), Kentucky (7), Tennessee, Georgia (8) and Alabama.

You've got to eat when you go on the road, right? And JSU's road schedule this year provided ample opportunities. On the drive back from SEMO last week, staff photographer Steve Gross and I recounted all the culinary must-stops we've enjoyed this season.

Georgia Tech -- The Varsity.
Nicholls State -- Dreamland in Tuscaloosa, any place in the French Quarter in New Orleans (but we stopped by Cafe du Mond), Bubba's/Bubba's II in Thibodaux (once called the best sports bar in America by Sports Illustrated).
Murray -- Calhoun's in Nashville (it was so good, we made sure to stop on the way to Austin Peay, too. The one in Knoxville will be a stop on next year's trip to EKU), The Keg and Tumbleweed Southwest Grill (both near the stadium complex).
SEMO -- Rendezvous in Memphis, Lambert's Cafe in Sikeston.

Don't get me started on the golf courses.

Can't wait for the trips next year.

Where do you stop when you hit the road with the Gamecocks?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blanchard to visit JSU

Jacksonville State expects to have some of the best high school players in the state on campus this weekend, and one of them will be Cherokee County quarterback Coty Blanchard.

Blanchard, the son of former JSU receiver Fran Blanchard, is back in the recruiting game after retracting his verbal committment to Mississippi State for baseball. The player called MSU with his decision Sunday.

"Coty just didn't feel right about signing," Fran Blanchard said. "He decided baseball wasn't the only thing he wanted to do."

The elder Blanchard said JSU "is way up on the list," but "he's still listening to everybody and going through that part."

It is believed Blanchard will sign with the Gamecocks if he doesn't receive an SEC offer. He is expected to visit Alabama next weekend.

Even though he's back on the market, he's not swinging the door to recruiters wide open.

"We're going to see who calls first," Fran Blanchard said. "He's got a list. It's not where we're just going to run to everybody just to do it. He's excited about going to Jacksonville this week."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Volleyball on verge

The JSU volleyball team is one of the hottest teams in America, but coach Rick Nold says there's still "a lot more" it can do.

"Hopefully in two weeks we can be clicking on all cylinders," he said.

The Gamecocks (21-5, 14-0 OVC) can have a lot of say where they'll be playing two weeks from now this weekend. If they beat Austin Peay Friday night in Pete Mathews Coliseum, they will clinch the OVC regular season title and the No. 1 seed and home site for the OVC Tournament.

If they don't win Friday, they have enough of a lead in the standings that they can still claim the top seed by winning their three matches that follow.

They were picked sixth in the preseason coaches poll.

The Gamecocks faced the biggest threat to their 15-match winning streak last Friday before pulling out a 3-2 win over Tennessee Tech. They fell behind two games to none and 24-22 in a potential deciding Game 4, before claiming their eighth five-set win of the year and sixth in OVC play.

"We really bumped our level of play up to a point we hadn’t seen in a while," Nold said. "Sometimes it takes somebody to push you that way to really see what you have inside of you. The important thing is for us to know where that other level is, because that’s where ultimately we’re trying to get to every week we’re playing."

The Gamecocks will recognize seniors Brittney Whitten and Paige Beasley during Saturday’s final regular-season home match against Tennessee State.

If anyone's listening, how incredible is this run of the volleyball team is on? Is it more incredible (inspiring) than the 19-match run the 2006 team made on its way to the NCAA Tournament? This was a team that was picked sixth in the preseason coaches poll and are now on the verge of winning the regular-season title. Sounds like hero stuff. Share some thoughts.

Monday, November 2, 2009

JSU in top 20 of both polls

Jacksonville State's 28-10 win at Austin Peay vaulted the Gamecocks into the top 20 of The Sports Network media poll and the top 15 in the coaches poll.

The Gamecocks, 22nd last week, jumped up to No. 17 in the TSN poll. They jumped to No. 15 -- from 20th -- in the FCS Coaches Poll.

It marks the tenth straight week the Gamecocks have been ranked, the most consecutive weeks ranked in the Top 25 in the school’s Division I history.

Richmond remained No. 1 in the both polls, followed by Montana, Southern Illinois and Villanova -- in both polls. The Spiders picked up all 28 first-place votes among the coaches, while the top four, No. 7 Appalachian State and No. 10 South Carolina State also received first-place votes among the media.

Eastern Illinois, which handed Jax State its only I-AA loss this year, was No. 14 in the TSN poll, No. 13 in the coaches poll.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Perrilloux honored again

JSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux won the OVC Player of the Week award for the fifth time this season, when the conference announced the awards Sunday.

Perrilloux passed for 210 yards and a touchdown and added another rushing touchdown in the Gamecocks' 28-10 win over Austin Peay. He was 12-of-22 passing, including a 34-yard screen to Calvin Middleton late in the second quarter to answer an Austin Peay score and put the Gamecocks ahead for good. He had a 15-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to extend the lead to 21-10.

Perrilloux went over 4,000 career passing yards at Jax State in the game while throwing for 200 yards or more for the 15th time in his career. He remains the national leader in passing efficiency.