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Jacksonville State won the second half in decisive fashion on Saturday afternoon against ASUN foe Austin Peay. Because of that, the Gamecocks walked away with an impressive 40-16 road win over one of the better teams in the conference.

"I thought in the second half, in all three phases, we played solid, and that was the difference," said Jacksonville State head coach Rich Rodriguez. "Our guys hung in there. We wanted to give them a different wrinkle in the second half, and we changed up some formations and ran some stuff we just put in a few days ago. We had to reach into our bag of tricks, so to speak, in the second half."

One of those trick plays was a double reverse that began with a handoff from quarterback Zion Webb to running back Pat Jackson, who tossed it back to receiver Sterling Galban. Webb rolled into the flat, and Galban hit him on a 5-yard touchdown pass to the JSU quarterback. It was Webb's first touchdown reception of his career.

Webb, a sixth-year senior, was 12 of 24 for 186 yards with a touchdown pass and interception. He carried the ball 14 times for 75 yards and had the touchdown reception. His touchdown pass was a 48-yard connection to Perry Carter that opened the scoring.

The teams played to a 16-16 tie in the first half, but the Gamecocks scored 24 unanswered points in the second half. Matt LaRoche had 89 yards rushing with a touchdown, and Jackson rushed for a touchdown.

SAMFORD 38, THE CITADEL 3:  All three phases contributed to the win, which made Samford coach Chris Hatcher a happy man.

"I'm very excited," Hatcher said. 'In all three phases, I think it was our most complete game of the season. "All in all, a great win. Anytime you can go on the road in this league, and you have a win like today, it bodes very well for the football team."

To make a good day even better, the Bulldogs (7-1 overall, 5-0 Southern Conference) took over sole possession for first place in the conference with the win and Chattanooga's loss to Furman.

The Bulldog defense was definitely the top story, holding The Citadel's option out of the end zone. The Citadel had 255 rushing yards but only managed a field goal. The Citadel fumbled four times and lost three of them. Noah Martin had 12 tackles, Kourtlan Marsh had nine tackles and a forced fumble, Joseph Mera had two sacks, and Seth Simmer had six tackles and a sack, and Trey Elston had a 53-yard touchdown return after a fumble recovery.

Offensively, it was probably more efficient than explosive, but quarterback Michael Hiers had another big day. He was 30 of 35 for 260 yards with touchdown passes to Kendall Watson, DJ Rias and Chandler Smith. Watson had 10 catches for 113 yards, Rias had eight catches for 66 yards, and Smith had six catches for 40 yards.

Samford had 143 rushing yards, with Jaylan Thomas scoring the lone rushing touchdown.

SOUTH ALABAMA 31, ARKANSAS STATE 3: The Jags shook off the doldrums over the loss to Troy and qualified for bowl eligibility with the lopsided win on the road. LaDamian Webb carried the ball for a 69-yard run on the Jags' opening snap, and he finished with 162 yards on 28 carries. Quarterback Carter Bradley was 17 of 24 for 179 yards with a touchdown pass to Jalen Wayne (three catches for 83 yards).

It was an outstanding afternoon for the South Alabama defense. The Jags allowed 177 yards passing, and if you count sacks and tackles for loss, minus-19 yards on the ground. South Alabama had four sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Arkansas State managed 12 yards or less on 12 of 15 drives and had five possessions that finished with negative yards.

"What is so fun about this one is the way we responded as a football team," said South Alabama coach Kane Wommack.

HUNTINGDON 42, GREENSBORO 0: The Hawks built a 35-0 halftime lead and cruised to the victory over visiting Greensboro.

Huntingdon's defense allowed 237 yards on 72 offensive plays, with just 67 yards coming on the ground. Huntingdon got three sacks, recovered a fumble, and Miller Park had an interception. Linebacker Tucker Spence had a team-high 10 tackles and a sack, and Martin Toby had five tackles and an interception for the Hawks (7-1 overall, 5-0 USA South).

"I'm really proud of the defense. They really earned that shutout," said Huntingdon head coach Mike Turk in a release by the school's athletic media relations office. "It's a good team win, and I'm proud of the guys."

Quarterback Landon Cotney was 8-of-9 for 151 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Running back Kahari McReynolds accounted for 112 yards with two rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns.

BIRMINGHAM SOUTHERN 30, HENDRIX COLLEGE 7: The Panthers improved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in conference with the dominating win at home.  

TUSKEGEE 28, KENTUCKY STATE 7: The Golden Tigers not only completed the road portion of the regular season but also clinched the SIAC West Division and a spot in the SIAC championship game. Once again, quarterback Bryson Williams played a big role.

Williams was 11-of-17 for 245 yards with touchdown passes of 78 and 52 yards to Antonio Meeks in the second half. Meeks had six catches overall for 212 yards. Taurean Taylor had 72 rushing yards with a touchdown and Donte Edwards had 54 rushing yards with a touchdown.

Tuskegee led, 7-0, at halftime and 14-7 heading into the fourth quarter. Meeks' 52-yard scoring reception gave Tuskegee a 21-7 lead with 13:51 left. Taylor sealed the win with a 19-yard scoring run with 1:37 remaining.

Kentucky State carried a four-game winning streak into the game. Tuskegee won for the seventh consecutive time.

FAULKNER 44, CUMBERLAND 30: Faulkner quarterback Ben Anderson threw three touchdown passes to Jaiveyon Tucker to lead the Eagles to the high-scoring win at home.

Anderson finished 25 of 36 for 287 yards without an interception. Tucker had nine catches for 105 yards. The touchdowns covered 3, 4 and 35 yards. Running back Drexlan Allen chipped in with 82 rushing yards on eight carries with touchdowns of 35 and 13 yards. As a team, the Eagles had 257 rushing yards, with John Bolton adding 78 yards on 11 carries and Devon Murry contributing 64 yards with a rushing touchdown.

CENTRAL ARKANSAS 64, UNA 29: The Lions fell into a 33-7 hole at halftime and never recovered in the lopsided road loss.

UNA running back ShunDerrick Powell provided a bright spot with 159 yards rushing, which put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He is the Lions' first 1,000-yard rusher since Lamonte Thompson in 2015 and only the second to pass the mark for the Lions since 1997. It was also his fifth game of the season that he rushed for 100 yards or more. Powell now has 1,115 yards on the season.

UNA allowed a school record of 733 yards, and it was the second most points allowed in school history, trailing the 66 points scored by BYU in 2020.  

WEST FLORIDA 36, WEST ALABAMA 24: A 57-yard pass from running back Demetrius Battle to Darius Nalls pulled the Tigers within seven points early in the fourth quarter. But ninth-ranked West Florida hit a pair of field goals in the final nine minutes to pull out its fifth consecutive win.

Bry Webb and Battle combined for 118 yards rushing, with each scoring a touchdown. Quarterback Tucker Melton threw for 198 yards with an interception. The West Alabama defense bent, but West Florida had to settle for five field goals and three touchdowns.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email steve.irvine@1819news.com.

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