MURRAY — The 16th-ranked Murray State football team will host 10th-ranked Jacksonville State on Sunday for what will be the biggest game to be played at Roy Stewart Stadium in nearly two decades. Kickoff at The Track is scheduled for 2 p.m., with the game being aired on ESPN+ and Froggy 103.7 FM.
Sunday will be the 18th meeting between Murray State and Jacksonville State and the last for the Gamecocks as members of the Ohio Valley Conference. JSU leads the all-time series 15-2 with the Racers’ only wins coming in the first game of the series in Murray and in Jacksonville in 2013. The Gamecocks have won seven of eight games in Murray and eight of nine in Jacksonville.
After a convincing win over Eastern Illinois last week, Jacksonville State will come into Sunday’s match up at 8-2 overall and 5-1 record in league play. Sunday will serve as a de facto OVC championship game, as both teams enter the season finale tied at the top of the conference standings with 5-1 records.
The Gamecocks average 27.8 points on 388.2 yards per game, while allowing 18.1 points and 266.5 yards per contest. JSU leads the OVC in both total and scoring offense and defense. In addition to leading the league in the four major categories, they also boast the nation’s ninth-best rush defense, allowing just 86.3 yards per game against the run.
On offense, Zion Webb has served as the No. 1 quarterback for JSU this spring season, averaging 142.8 passing yards and 27.9 rushing yards per game with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Josh Samuel and Uriah West have split the running duties for the Gamecocks with 67.7 and 53.3 yards per game, respectively, with six touchdowns for Samuel and five for West.
Defensively, Nicario Harper leads the way for the Gamecocks with 71 tackles, three interceptions, 1.5 tackles-for-loss and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. In addition, DJ Coleman is also having a big year with 46 tackles, 10 tackles-for-loss, six sacks, a fumble recovery and 13 hurries.
On Sunday, the Racers have an opportunity to end the current second-longest OVC championship drought in the league. The Racers last won an OVC title in 2002, making their current drought 17 years long. The only longer current streak is held by Tennessee State, which last won an OVC championship in 1999.