Is Jacksonville State this year’s Appalachian State?

Because it was a holiday, Jacksonville State planned to have its athletics ticket office closed on Monday.

Some things you just can’t plan for.

The ticket office was open on Monday at the Division I-AA school in Alabama because fans were beating down the doors on Sunday. They were beating down the doors on Sunday because Jacksonville State, a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, went to Ole Miss on Saturday and did the unthinkable. They went for a two-point conversion in the second overtime and stunned the Rebels 49-48.

“I believe we’ll have a few more folks for the home opener,” said Jacksonville State coach Jack Crowe, whose team takes on Chattanooga this Saturday at Burgess-Snow Field. “The response has been unbelievable.”

Every now and then this happens and the reverberations are pure magic. Appalachian State went to Michigan and pulled off the shocker in 2007 and suddenly the whole world knew about Jerry Moore’s Mountaineers from Boone, who would go on to win a third straight Division I-AA championship that season.  The first two were won in relative obscurity. The third, because that team beat Michigan, was not.

Appalachian State blocked a field goal on the last play of the game to preserve its victory in the Big House. That block and the radio call that went with it will live in the YouTube Hall of Fame. These kinds of wins are forever.

So it will be with Jacksonville State, who got a 19-yard touchdown pass from Marques Ivory (from Warner Robins, Ga.) with 18 seconds left followed by a two-point conversion pass from Ivory to send the game into overtime. Fans who didn’t know there was another team called the Gamecocks (other than South Carolina) went scrambling for a map to learn where Jacksonville, Ala., is located.

Crowe said that after Ole Miss scored in the second overtime to go up 48-41, he made up his mind that if the Gamecocks scored on their possession they would go for a two-point conversion and the win.

“Ole Miss blew us off the ball so easily in the second overtime I knew we were gassed and there was nothing left in the tank,” said Crowe. “I told our coaches to have the two-point play ready. Either way the game was going to end. We were going to get on the bus and get out of there.”

Jacksonville State scored to make it 49-48 when its other quarterback, Coty Blanchard, threw a 30-yard touchdown pass on fourth and 15 in the second overtime. There was no hesitation. Blanchard had three options on the two-point play. His completion to Calvin Middleton, who was in the middle of a sea of Ole Miss defenders, wasn’t one of them.

Here is why this story is fun and why I’m bringing it to you this morning. Because one of the things that coaches learn in football is that if you just hang in there long enough, what goes around comes around.

You see, Crowe has been on the other end of a crushing Division I-AA upset. On Sept. 5, 1992 Crowe was starting his third year as the head coach at Arkansas. But on that fateful day Arkansas lost to The Citadel, 10-3, in the season opener. A furious Frank Broyles, the Arkansas athletics director, didn’t wait 24 hours. He marched into the football offices Sunday morning and fired Crowe on the spot and named defensive coordinator Joe Kines as the interim head coach. The following season Danny Ford was named head coach.

Crowe is good friends with Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt, who called it “the worst loss of my career.”

“Somebody asked me I was worried about Houston and I told them no,” Crowe said with a laugh. “He doesn’t have Frank Broyles as an athletic director.”

Crowe said he took a little time to enjoy the win on Sunday and then his attention turned to Chattanooga, which lost a 42-41 shootout at Appalachian State. Next week the Gamecocks will go to Atlanta to play Bill Curry’s 1-0 Georgia State team. The Panthers will probably sell a few more tickets to that game thanks to Jacksonville State’s upset of Ole Miss.

“I saw they had 30,000 for their first game. That’s incredible,” said Crowe. “Playing Curry will be a dogfight over there. Anything can happen on the road in this sport.”

Yes it can, Coach Crowe. Yes it can. That’s why it’s the greatest sport in the world.

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Programming note: “Barnhart and Durham” on WQXI, 790 The Zone, returns this morning from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Today’s guests include Steve Jones, the radio voice of Penn State (whoich plays at Alabama), Bob Davis, the radio voice of Kansas (which hosts Georgia Tech), and Robbie Burns, whose new book celebrates the 30th anniversary of “Belue to Scott” at the Georgia-Florida game. Please join us.

137 comments Add your comment

From 11-3 to 14-0

September 8th, 2010
6:43 am

From 11-3 to 14-0

September 8th, 2010
6:44 am

Johua Nesbitt is just now,
tuning up.

From 11-3 to 14-0

September 8th, 2010
6:45 am

Joshua Nesbitt is just now,
tuning up.

Ramblor

September 8th, 2010
7:04 am

How ’bout the SEC!

Beast from the East

September 8th, 2010
7:06 am

Great story and it was an even better game.
Good luck, coach!

Matt

September 8th, 2010
7:10 am

Tony you can’t possibly compare this year’s Miss team to that year’s Michigan team. 07 UM was a pre-season top 5 national championship contender with pros everywhere (Jake Long #1 overall pick, Chad Henne now starter for Dolphins, just to name a couple), and while overrated, still went 9-4 and whacked Florida in a New Year’s Day bowl game. Can you honestly (ie not with your SEC-shaded glasses on) say that Ole Miss is going to match that kind of season in the stacked SEC west.

KidRay

September 8th, 2010
7:22 am

Great upset, horrible coaching job by Nutt. He let the Rebels take their foot of the pedal. As a Northerner, I had NO idea Jack ST was in Ala. I first heard of them last year when Perilloux transferred and assumed it was in Fla.
Great win for them and great win for their coach, he seems to be a “lifer” and good things come to those who wait.

Go Rutgers!

SimpleDawg

September 8th, 2010
7:29 am

Ol’ Nutt-Nutt is usually good for a goofy loss each year, sometimes more than one……not to mention the fact that no one thought Ole Miss was a candidate to compete for the SEC West.

This was a bad, bad loss for Ole Miss and for Ol’ Nutt-Nutt.

I didn’t get the feeling that the article was comparing Ole Miss to the Meechigan team that lost to App State….nor is J’ville State comparable to that App State team.

FREE AJ !

Czar

September 8th, 2010
7:35 am

Happy for Coach Crowe and JSU, but Jax State is no Appalachian State, not in any way, shape, or form. Make the playoffs and advance out of the first round and maybe, maybe such an absurd idea could be entertained. Even then, it’s a long way to three national championships and the kind of dominance in one of FCS’s top leagues that ASU has achieved.

Palladin

September 8th, 2010
7:39 am

Is Ole Miss this years Michigan?

I’ve been watching football for more than half a Century. Upsets are not a recent occurrence in college football. Why does anyone think that an upset victory signals Armageddon? The inferior team wins sometimes. It’s always interesting when they do, but it’s not as big a deal as many would want you to believe. Someone wins the lottery almost every day — that doesn’t mean that you should cash in your stock portfolio and invest entirely in lottery tickets.

smart like a Fox

September 8th, 2010
7:56 am

I still can’t believe it. With all that SEC speed on the field. All that SEC talent. Sec coaching. What happened to the SEC speed man….the SEC speed!!! You would think the SEC and I do mean all teams are far better than any other teams in America. BSU stinks cause their not from, and don’t play in the SEC. ooooooooooooo the SEC hype.

Dink

September 8th, 2010
7:58 am

Blanchard played lights out for JSU, unbelievable for a frosh. I heard he was Mr. Football in the state of Alabama. How did he fall off the radar and wind up at JSU? (no offense intendednto JSU)

Palladin

September 8th, 2010
8:01 am

Blanchard is relatively small (6′ 180 LB) and his Dad played for JSU in the 80’s.

Palladin

September 8th, 2010
8:03 am

@smart like a Fox

Boise State’s problem has nothing to do with the SEC. Your problem with the SEC is personal.

Mybe So

September 8th, 2010
8:12 am

The difference between the Michigan – App St. game and this one to me: App St. pulled off a major upset, and Jax St. just plain beat Ole’ Miss. Call it what you will, but their Offense had their way with the Rebels, hands down. I seriously think (and I would have never said this two weeks ago) that JSU had a BETTER offense than Ole Miss did a Defense. I thnk this dings the SEC a bit. Everyone thought the West was going to be the best subconference in football (and they still might be), but this is a bit of a black eye to start things off. Knowing that the East is a weak sub-conference, if Penn St. comes in and upsets Bama (Highly Unlikely), it could spell serious trouble for the SEC this year. Other than Bama, I don’t see any other team that can step up.

Norman

September 8th, 2010
8:12 am

TB- I can’t believe it! You didn’t comment on the AJ Greene saga!

Jake

September 8th, 2010
8:13 am

This is why they play the games. On a given Saturday, someone could pull the upset. Who knows,,,

TrueDawg

September 8th, 2010
8:16 am

SEC speed = 4 national championships in a row.

heresyoursign

September 8th, 2010
8:24 am

Marques Ivory finally got to show his talent. Marques lead Northside Warner Robins to 2 State Championships!!!.

Palladin

September 8th, 2010
8:25 am

@Mybe So

Maybe it would be a good idea to reserve judgment until you’ve seen more than one game?

5IML

September 8th, 2010
8:29 am

The next time I’m on I-20 and pass the Anniston exit, I will blow my horn as a salute to Jacksonville St and their monumental victory.

SOGADOG

September 8th, 2010
8:29 am

Good article, Jax State’s upset of Ole Miss was the best story of the opening week of college football. I am glad Coach Crowe kept battling and won a big game.

Tide Roll

September 8th, 2010
8:37 am

i Cant beleeve we didnt rekrut Coty Blanchard. Hes from alabama and cleerly the best qb from this state but saban did not rekrut him. bama shaw is strange in the way we rekrut

Pago Pago Dawg

September 8th, 2010
8:37 am

Word on the street….’Ole Miss doesn’t have much this year…this is a down year for the Rebs.

buckblue

September 8th, 2010
8:38 am

NO…More like Ole misses is this years…notre dame…

Football Fan

September 8th, 2010
8:40 am

Let’s not forget another SEC team lost to that perennial powerhouse Northwestern.

RxDawg

September 8th, 2010
8:46 am

@ Matt, those are great points. I too didn’t feel this was quite the same as that upset. The App St over Michigan was on a bigger stage and Michigan was a much higher ranked team at the time. People were talking national championships….until the mighty Mountaineers from Boone came to town.

Watching Ole Miss lose was surprising, but most people were still thinking “eh, that’s Ole Miss for ya”.

Worm

September 8th, 2010
8:52 am

Houston, We have a Nutt problem.

Hey, Football Fan...

September 8th, 2010
8:53 am

Northwestern IS usually pretty good, though they will never win the Big 10/11/12 – they usually go 7-5, 8-4, maybe even 9-3; kind of what GA Tech considers very successful seasons…

TDone

September 8th, 2010
8:53 am

Jacksonville State’s victory improves the status of Georgia Tech’s two straight victories over them in 2008 and 2009.

RxDawg

September 8th, 2010
8:53 am

Pago Pago, I don’t think that word is just on the street anymore :)

Ron Mexico

September 8th, 2010
8:53 am

Remember this game next time you think of chanting S-E-C after a victory.

Paul in RDU

September 8th, 2010
9:02 am

I wouldn’t say that Northwestern is usually pretty good. They do have some good seasons, however, including 2009 when they went 8-4, beat Auburn in a bowl and beat Iowa at Iowa (although Stanzi went out when Iowa was leading 10-0 and they couldn’t do anything afterwards).
Northwestern beating Vanderbilt was not an upset and is no disgrace.
Jax State over Ole Miss on the other hand….

Typical ACC fan

September 8th, 2010
9:05 am

You know it’s an ACC fan when you hear us say “well we almost won the game”

Typical ACC fan

September 8th, 2010
9:06 am

well we had some starters out, thats why we lost

Typical ACC fan

September 8th, 2010
9:06 am

yah, well at leest we know how to spel

T3

September 8th, 2010
9:08 am

Houston Nutt: “This was the worst loss of my career.”

You are incorrect Coach Nutt.

Your worst career loss was the CREDIBILITY you lost several
days BEFORE the Jax St game with your press conference statement of “we’re in the people helping business.”

But hey, this is all just Business as Usual in the SEC,
because afterall, the SEC…is just a business.

Typical SEC fan

September 8th, 2010
9:08 am

Ole Miss is the worst team in the SEC but they would still beat anybody in the ACC

Typical SEC fan

September 8th, 2010
9:10 am

The SEC is the greatest ever, will always be the best, is better than any conference ever

Typical SEC fan

September 8th, 2010
9:10 am

We have to be the best – we have bigger stadiums

Chris

September 8th, 2010
9:19 am

Did Jack State forget that Ole Miss has SEC SPEED!!!! Woops.

Sage of Bluesland

September 8th, 2010
9:21 am

People will forget all about Jax State when Georgia State rolls them in two weeks. I already sent you guys an email about this.

DOINK

September 8th, 2010
9:21 am

@Dink,WORD IS HE HAD GRADE ISSUE’S A.K.A. I’M MR.FOOTBALL AND I DON’T HAVE TO STUDY OR MAKE GOOD GRADE’S B/C I’M A JOCK!!!

RxDawg

September 8th, 2010
9:23 am

“The SEC is the greatest ever, will always be the best, is better than any conference ever”

Well……….yeh that pretty much sums it up nicely.

Houston's Nutts

September 8th, 2010
9:23 am

Man, that smarts!

Old Dawg

September 8th, 2010
9:29 am

Tony, as much as I respect your work I can’t disagree with you more. Ole Miss doesn’t have the history of Michigan to back up your question. The Jacksonville State game is more like South Carolina losing to Furman or Arkansas losing to The Citadel.

As for one post predicting that Georgia State will beat Jacksonville State, I seriously doubt that will happen this year.

Not a Tech or UGA Fan.....

September 8th, 2010
9:31 am

two things, Michigan was a much better team than Ole Miss that year but also Appalachian State was a very good football team too and was in the game the whole time. The other thing was the Mich-ApplSt game was on national TV so most of the country got to see it and the next week Michigan lost again at home to Oregon St. I’m not sure what is the biggest choke about Ole Miss game was, Losing to Jax State or blowing that big of a lead in the 2nd half.

CATlanta

September 8th, 2010
9:34 am

@ Paul in RDU,

Auburn beat Northwestern in the Outback bowl last year 38-35.

KR

September 8th, 2010
9:37 am

Paul in RDU: One minor correction to your post: Northwestern LOST to Auburn (38-35 in OT) in the Outback Bowl following the 2009 season.

Directions

September 8th, 2010
9:38 am

RxDawg & Matt: I was thinking the same thing as you guys when I saw that headline. I guess it makes for the dramatics, but Ole Miss of 2010 is no Michigan of 2007. There were over a 100,000 fans at the Michigan expecting a Wolverines blowout. In comparison, there only 55,000 in Oxford. You said it best RxDawg, “eh, that’s Ole Miss for ya”.