CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – From start to finish, Southeast Missouri (5-2, 2-1) never let up in a commanding 37-14 win over No. 5 4 Jacksonville State (5-2, 4-1) ending the Gamecocks 36-game winning streak in Ohio Valley Conference games.
JSU's 36-game winning streak, previously the longest in Division I, started with a 42-34 win over SEMO on Nov. 23, 2013. The Redhawks shattered that streak with a dominating performance today.
Defensively, the Redhawks forced a season-high five turnovers, had three interceptions, recovered a pair of fumbles, scored a safety and returned a blocked field goal 85 yards for a touchdown. SEMO also tallied three sacks, six tackles for loss and held the OVC's top scoring offense (48.2 ppg) to its lowest point total of the year.
Something brewing ... https://t.co/kdpgLVO6Eg— FCS Football (@FCS_STATS) October 20, 2018
"We were right with what we thought we had to do to win this game and executed on both sides of the football," said an elated SEMO head coach Tom Matukewicz. "Offensively, we had to keep hammering and got our run game going. We had some huge game breaker type plays and our quarterback played smart. It was a huge team win for our program!"
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JSU was the only OVC team Matukewicz did not have a win against as the Redhawks head coach and his Redhawks added their fourth victory over a ranked opponent with him at the helm. The four wins over ranked teams are the most of any SEMO head coach.
SEMO jumped all over the Gamecocks early. Zack Smith returned the opening kickoff 52 yards to the JSU 48-yard line before he later caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Santacaterina to give the Redhawks a 7-0 lead in the first 1:19 of the contest.
Early in the second quarter, JSU tied the game when Zerrick Cooper hooked up with Landon Rice on a 15-yard touchdown pass to cap a 6-play, 80-yard drive, knotting the game at 7-7 with 13:51 left.
Cade Stinnett later attempted 25-yard field goal, but Zach Hall blocked the kick. Bydarrius Knighten scooped up the ball and sprinted 85 yards to the end zone to put SEMO ahead, 14-7, and the Redhawks didn't look back.
JSU began its next drive at its own 1-yard line following a 45-yard punt by Jake Reynolds. Two plays later, Hall tackled Leander Burrows in the end zone for a safety, as SEMO led 16-7 at the half.
The @SEMOfootball team hosts #4 Jacksonville State at Houck Field TODAY. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m., CT. Listen live at Real Rock 99.3 FM & ESPN 1220 AM. Watch live on ESPN+ https://t.co/gVtmvrkkGK Live stats available at https://t.co/LayxI2rn7Y. pic.twitter.com/s1sBWwUs4h— SE Missouri Redhawks (@GoSoutheast) October 20, 2018
On the first play from scrimmage of the second half, Justin Swift sacked Zerrick Cooper for a loss of five yards. Cooper fumbled the ball on the play and Omardrick Douglas recovered at the JSU 14. That turnover led to a 13-yard touchdown pass from Santacaterina to Kristian Wilkerson extending SEMO's lead to 23-7 at the 13:59 mark.
With less than a minute left in the third quarter, Mark Robinson broke free for a 10-yard touchdown run widening the Redhawks margin to 30-7. Robinson started the drive with a 52-yard run and rushed for 73 yards on three touches to key the 4-play, 74-yard march.
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Another nice punt, this time a 71-yarder by Reynolds, pinned the Gamecocks at their own 2-yard line. JSU, after scoring on its previous possession, was stopped on fourth down.
Marquis Terry scored the game's final touchdown on a 39-yard run to polish off the Redhawks third-straight win.
Terry, despite being bothered by an ankle injury, ran for 102 yards on 20 carries and averaged over five yards (5.1) per rush. He ran for over 100 yards for the third time this season and seventh in his career. Robinson followed with a season-high 80 yards and a touchdown on five carries. He averaged 16 yards per touch.
Santacaterina completed 13-of-21 passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns. He also went without throwing an interception as SEMO did not turn the ball over. The Redhawks outscored the Gamecocks, 30-7, after JSU tied the game early in the second quarter.
Wilkerson topped the Redhawks with six receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown.
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Hall, who went over 200 career tackles, paced SEMO's defense with a game-high 15 tackles, a blocked field goal, two quarterback hurries and 2.5 tackles for loss. Hall, the OVC's leading tackler, posted double-digit tackles for the fifth time in seven starts.
Meanwhile, Reynolds was precise with his punting. He averaged 45.3 yards on seven punts and dropped three of his kicks inside the JSU 20-yard line. Two of those attempts put the Gamecocks inside their own 5. Additionally, his 71-yard punt tied for ninth-longest in school history.
JSU's last loss came on Nov. 16, 2013 at Eastern Illinois (52-14). Since then, the Gamecocks have suffered as big of a loss as the Redhawks handed them today. The OVC loss was also John Grass' first as JSU's head coach.
SEMO wore special pink and black jerseys to honor individuals affected by cancer. The special jerseys were auctioned off to raise breast cancer awareness and beared names of individuals affected by the disease. Winning bidders received their game-worn jerseys immediately following the contest.
The Redhawks return to action at UT Martin on Oct. 27.