1. We have some familiarity with JSU's track record as an FCS powerhouse, but what kind of team do the Gamecocks have this time around?
Jacksonville State (not Florida!) is ranked 5th among FCS programs this week, and they're a big favorite to win the Ohio Valley.
The team is replacing a lot of talent from last year, but the core is still in place. Many believe this team has the most raw talent in program history. They just need experience, and LSU will provide that.
2. JSU came pretty close to upsetting Auburn last season. What's the mentality coming into these kind of games that, realistically, are generally about the paycheck?
We come in with a few goals:
1) Compete and possibly win the game (albeit a long shot).
2) Keep key players healthy.
3) Recruit tweeners dreaming of playing for the FBS program.
4) Showcase the Marching Southerners and recruit musicians.
And yes, the band recruiting at JSU is legit. The band is easily the crown jewel of our school and has been for sixty years.
3. What players should we watch for on offense for JSU?
At each position group, there is one standout player with all-American credentials. Quarterback Eli Jenkins is a dual threat guy with a great grasp on our offense. Running back Roc Thomas is no stranger to LSU. Wide receiver Josh Barge has broken every record for catching balls.
4. How about on defense?
On defense, Joel McCandless and Quan Stoudemire are a great pair at linebacker. Most of the defense is geared to force the ball carrier to them.
5. Venture a best guess as to how this game will go on Saturday?
After reviewing film for both teams, I think Jacksonville State will cover the spread. Probably the biggest factor in the game will be how well Brandon Harris throws the ball because JSU is going to sell out to stop the run.