Jacksonville St. cruises into FCS title game

(STATS) – Troymaine Pope rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns as Jacksonville State rolled to its first FCS championship game with a 62-10 rout of Sam Houston State on Saturday.

The top-seeded Gamecocks (13-1) earned a spot opposite four-time defending champion North Dakota State in the Jan. 9 title game in Frisco, Texas by dominating the mistake-prone Bearkats in all facets. Jacksonville State piled up 640 total yards, 361 on the ground, and held the FCS' leader in total offense to a season-low 259.

Eli Jenkins threw for 247 yards and had three total touchdowns to help the Gamecocks avenge a 37-26 home loss to Sam Houston State (11-4) in last year's second round. Both he and Pope sat out the entire fourth quarter with Jacksonville State owning a commanding 55-10 lead.

Jeremiah Briscoe completed just 13 of 42 passes for 130 yards and was responsible for three of the Bearkats' four first-half turnovers. The UAB transfer lost two fumbles early as the Gamecocks roared out to a 31-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

Jacksonville State, which fell in double-overtime to Auburn on Sept. 12 for its lone loss, is the first Ohio Valley Conference member to reach the championship game since Eastern Kentucky in 1982.