Published November 17, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The bad news for Jacksonville State was that it will have to start a new streak after Florida became the first team to hold the Gamecocks scoreless in 12 years.
The good news is the Alabama school left town with its athletic department $500,000 richer after its 23-0 loss to the No. 7 Gators on Saturday. The half-million payout to the Gamecocks will go a long way to balance out the school's athletic budget. And while there are few good things about a shutout, the Gamecocks came away from the game against the nation's No. 7 ranked team with some positive feelings.
"We could have scored on them," JSU coach Jack Crowe said. "We had some scoring opportunities in the first half.
"I was proud of our guys for the way they fought. I appreciate having the opportunity to play the University of Florida. We don't take these games for granted. They are very important to us."
Jacksonville State made an opening statement on the first play of the game. Kevyn Cooper took a short pass from Marques Ivory, was sandwiched between two Florida defenders but rolled over on top of one, regained his balance and went 76 yards down the sideline before he was caught from behind at the 7-yard line.
The Gamecocks couldn't push it any closer however and came up empty when Griffin Thomas' 25-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.
"I thought we were going to score and get up on them early," Cooper said. "I thought we were going to give them a challenge early.
"It would have changed the momentum of the game and it would have given us more confidence or some more momentum to keep going and keep scoring on them."
The Gamecocks only managed to cross midfield once after that however as the Gators defense limited them to 166 total yards in the game following Cooper's long gain. The shutout was the first against JSU in 134 games since a 28-0 loss to Troy State on Nov. 18, 2000.
But JSU's defensive effort was nearly equal to the Gators' showing. Florida scored on its opening possession, but on four other drives that reached the 30-yard line, the Gators had to settle for field goal attempts, converting on three of them. The only other UF score in the game came on an interception return by Gators linebacker Jonathan Bostic.
Florida put together drives of 80, 61, 25 and 70 yards in its first four possessions, but managed just 10 points on those 236 total yards. On the Gators' seven other drives the rest of the game, they accumulated just 105 total yards and six points.
"I stressed to people on defense that players are players. We all played against different players in high school," said linebacker Rashad Smith who finished with five tackles. "We knew we could hang with them. A man can take out another man."
Jacksonville State (6-5) is a Football Championship Series (FCS) program in the Ohio Valley Conference. Seven FCS schools scored more points on Jacksonville State this season than Florida did on Saturday.