Big plays catapult Trojans over JSU

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 19, 2000

Sports Editor

For just a few seconds

during Troy State’s 28-0 win over Jacksonville State on Saturday night, all Brock Nutter and the Trojans’ offense had to do was get their hands on the football.

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Nutter hit Jonathan Carter for a 65-yard touchdown on the Trojans’ first play from scrimmage and after the defense had forced the Gamecocks to go three downs and out, TSU offensive coordinator Don Jacobs opened up the playbook.

On Troy State’s first play following the JSU punt, Nutter faked a reverse to Demontray Carter, who was coming across the field in motion, and then pitched the ball to fullback Thad Buttone. Buttone stopped and launched the ball 33-yards to Jonathan Carter, who stood all alone in the endzone.

Two snaps.

Two touchdowns.

14-0, Troy State quickly.

"Those were two great calls in two perfect situations by our offensive staff," said TSU head coach Larry Blakeney. "On the second touchdown, we faked the speed sweep to Demontray because he draws a lot of attention and the safety couldn’t recover. He didn’t see Jonathan slip back there to the endzone."

After that it was just a matter of not turning the ball over and keeping JSU’s offense from scoring on the slippery, wet surface of Paul Snow Stadium. For the better part of the game, Troy State kept 1999 Southland Football League Freshman of the Year Reggie Stancil, the Gamecocks quarterback, bottled up.

"He’s (Stancil) an amazing individual," said TSU defensive lineman Tim Betts. "We knew we had to contain him and we just went out there and tried to play hard."

With the win the Trojans secured themselves a home game to open the first round of the Division 1-AA playoffs. It was Troy State’s sixth straight win over rival Jacksonville State, who leads the all-time series, 33-27-2.

Troy State also claimed the Southland Football League title outright by virtue of their 6-1 conference record.

"This is a great championship, because we don’t have to share it with anybody and that’s the way we like it," said Blakeney. "I’m just so proud of this team."

After the Trojans’ two quick offensive strikes, the Gamecocks were able to move the ball to the Troy State 16-yard line, but were stopped on fourth and five when linebacker Nick Colbert hit JSU tight end Jake Carlton behind the line of scrimmage for a loss.

That was the deepest penetration Jacksonville State would see in the first half, as the Trojans took a 14-0 lead into the locker room.

The Gamecocks were forced to punt after receiving the opening kickoff and then Troy State’s special teams came up with a big play of their own.

Receiver Heyward Skipper, who is the third player to return punts for the Trojans this season, hauled in the kick and promptly returned it 55-yards for the touchdown. Lawrence Tynes’ PAT gave Troy State a 21-0 lead at the 13:39 mark in the third quarter.

Jax State moved the ball to the TSU 19-yard line with 3:55 left in the third, but a fourth down pass by Stancil fell incomplete.

The Trojans’ final scoring drive was a bit more conventional. Troy State marched 80 yards in 11 plays, eating up six minutes on the clock, with Buttone scoring on a 1-yard run.