The Other McCain

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Jacksonville State Stuns FSU 20-17 With Last-Second 59-Yard Touchdown Pass

Posted on | September 12, 2021 | No Comments

Damond Philyaw-Johnson’s game-winning TD.

As they say at Jax State, “Fear the Beak”:

Jacksonville State pulled off a miraculous victory over Florida State on Saturday night when quarterback Zerrick Cooper found Damond Philyaw-Jackson for a 59-yard touchdown on the final play of the game to lift the Gamecocks to a 20-17 win. The play marked the first time that Jacksonville State, an FCS team, ever led against its ACC foe.
The loss for FSU came just five days after it fought Notre Dame to the wire before losing in overtime and capped a wild day in college football. The reception was the first of the game for Philyaw-Johnson and the longest play from scrimmage for the Gamecocks, who lost their opener to UAB 31-0 on Sept. 1
Jacksonville State scored on its last two possessions of the game, both drives going more than 80 yards in length, to roar back from a 17-7 deficit. The Gamecocks got the football back with 1:32 remaining and two timeouts at its own 17-yard line after Florida State elected to punt instead of going for it on fourth-and-2 from its own 44. The Seminoles also faced a third-and-1 on the previous play, but running back Jashaun Corbin was tackled for a loss to force FSU into the fourth down play. A first down would likely have cemented the outcome in FSU’s favor.
Afterwards, Jacksonville State players celebrated the stunning result by planting their flag in the middle of Florida State’s field. . . .
With its final 59-yard game-winner, Jacksonville State outgained the Seminoles 350-335 for the game and notched a victory that will go down in program lore.

All y’all know me as a ’Bama fan, but I’m actually an alumnus of Jacksonville State, a campus known as “The Gem of the Hills,” about 90 miles west of Atlanta, in the foothills of the Appalachians. JSU’s most famous alumni is probably Randy Owen, lead singer of the group Alabama, along with Pulitzer-winning journalist and author Rick Bragg.

Oh, wait — I almost forgot Rick and Bubba!

Fight on! Fight on for ole Jax State!
We’re proud that we’re from Alabama!
Fight on, now don’t you hesitate,
Courage, pride and honor
will lead you on to victory, so
Fight on! Fight for the Red and White!
We’re gonna howl tonight!
Come on! You Gamecocks,
Fight and see,
That we will win the victory!

Jax State began its history as State Normal School — a teacher training institution — and its College of Education continues to be the core of its academic program, along with business, nursing and law enforcement. They’ve got the greatest marching band on the entire planet. In football, the Gamecocks won four consecutive Ohio Valley Conference championships (2014-2017) and in 2015 made it to the FCS national title game before losing to North Dakota State. Before moving up to FCS (which used to be Division I-AA), JSU was a Division II program, and won the Division II national championship in 1992.

JSU beat Ole Miss in 2010, but this win over FSU was something else:

The two players who connected on the winning touchdown both began their careers in the ACC. Cooper — who completed 17 of 38 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns in the game — is a Clemson transfer, while Philyaw-Johnson came to JSU from Duke.
The game-winner was Philyaw-Johnson’s only catch of the game. JSU’s other touchdowns came on a 2-yard run by Josh Samuel in the first quarter and Cooper’s 23-yard pass to Ahmad Edwards with 4:45 to play.
Florida State then drove the ball to its 44, but punted on 4th-and-2. It took the Gamecocks nine plays to move from the 17 to the 41, and Cooper threw three consecutive incompletions before the game-winner.

So, to recap 2021: Joe Biden is allegedly president, the Taliban have taken back Afghanistan, and JSU beat FSU. Craziest year, ever.




 

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