Jacksonville State, West Alabama renew old GSC rivalry



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Jacksonville State and West Alabama will renew an old Gulf South Conference rivalry at 3 p.m. Saturday.

JSU (1-1) and UWA (2-0) were among the six founding members of the GSC (originally known as the Mid-South Conference) in 1970. The teams played each other annually until the Gamecocks moved from Division II to Division I-AA (now the FCS) in 1993 and eventually wound up in the Ohio Valley Conference.

JSU played in a similar game last year against Division II rival North Alabama, another founding member of the GSC. The Gamecocks won 24-21 in double overtime.

"It was great to rekindle the North Alabama rivalry last year, and I think that was one of our best home crowds of the season (nearly 21,000)," JSU coach John Grass said. "I think that will be true this week with West Alabama. They will bring a top-notch Division II team."

The Tigers are coming off a 30-6 victory over Shaw in which they recorded a school-record nine quarterback sacks. Shaw finished with minus-26 yards rushing, 6 yards away from the UWA record for fewest rushing yards allowed.

"Our defensive front had a field day," West Alabama coach Brett Gilliland said. "I know their quarterbacks have to be hurting. Our guys were really flying around out there."

The Gamecocks were off last week after picking up a 26-23 overtime victory over Chattanooga.

THURSDAY:

Alabama State vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 6:30 p.m.

Alabama State (2-1, 1-0 SWAC) faces a short week in order to play a nationally televised game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-1, 0-0). The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU.

The past two games between these teams have been decided by a total of four points. ASU scored 16 points in the fourth quarter last season to defeat APB 40-39. Pine Bluff won the year before 24-21.

SATURDAY:

Alabama A&M at Texas Southern, 6 p.m.

Alabama A&M (1-2, 0-0 SWAC) begins conference play by going on the road to take on the league's only remaining undefeated team.

"From here on out, every step is to achieve our goal of winning the SWAC," said A&M coach James Spady, whose team lost to UAB last week 41-14.

Texas Southern (3-0, 1-0) edged Prairie View A&M by two points in the season-opener, then won its next two games against Texas College and Central State by a combined score of 82-30.

Samford vs. VMI, 2 p.m.

Samford (1-1) will take on VMI (1-2) in the Southern Conference opener for both teams.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 52-0 shutout of Stillman. But Samford assistant head coach Bill D'Ottavio said the defense will be tested by VMI, which beat Davidson 52-24 last week.

"On the offensive side of the ball, they have a lot of good football players," D'Ottavio said. "So we're going to have to play good, solid overall defense."

North Alabama vs. Langston, 6 p.m.

Coaches often say that a team improves the most from its first game of the season to the second. But that will be difficult to do for North Alabama, which beat Mississippi College 58-0 last week.

UNA gained 469 yards of total offense in the game, while holding Mississippi College to 151 yards and forcing three turnovers.

Langston (1-1) is an NAIA school from Oklahoma.

Miles at Hampton, 5 p.m.

Miles (1-1) looks to bounce back from last week's shutout loss to West Georgia by taking on a Hampton squad that has lost its three games this season by an average score of 42-20.

One of the few bright spots for the Golden Bears against West Georgia was the play of wide receiver Earnest Bell, who had four catches for 100 yards.

Tuskegee at Winston-Salem, 5 p.m.

Tuskegee (1-1) will attempt to get its offense going against a stingy Winston-Salem defense that has not allowed a passing touchdown in the first two games of the season.

The Golden Tigers defeated Albany State 20-12 last week despite gaining only 260 yards in total offense.

Stillman vs. St. Augustine's, 3 p.m.

Somebody will come away with their first victory of the season when Stillman (0-2) plays St. Augustine's (0-2), a Division II team from Raleigh, North Carolina

The Tigers have lost their two games by a combined total of 96-20, while the margin for St. Augustine's is 71-19. Both teams were shutout last week.

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