Jacksonville State ready for first FCS championship appearance

Jacksonville State football field

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — After two weeks off since their semifinal stomping of Sam Houston State, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks are anxious to get back on the field for their shot at a national championship this Saturday against North Dakota State.

Despite the time off between games and the championship implications, the Gamecocks really haven’t changed much in their routine leading up to the game.

“As far as practice schedule, we aren’t doing anything more or anything less than we did during the season,” Chris Landrum said. “We’re gonna go in there and treat it like any other game.”

Part of that includes tuning out the noise of North Dakota State chasing their fifth straight FCS title. Even though the Gamecocks are ranked no. 1 in both polls, the Bison are still favored in the game.

“When I first came here, that’s the game I watched. I watched (NDSU) and Sam Houston,” head coach John Grass said. “Definitely, they’ve had a great run. A great program in the way they do things, but I think this game has a life of itself just like the season has a life of itself.

“It’s all about how we play and our guys have bought into that.”

The Gamecocks are sure to have a favorable crowd behind them as JSU have sold out their allotment in Frisco, Texas. The players have felt the presence of the fans throughout this run and are excited to have so many people making the trip.

“Twitter, Instagram, all I see is Frisco. Frisco this, Frisco that,” Eli Jenkins said. “Our students and fans, they can’t wait. That’s all they’ve been talking about over the Christmas break. I’m ready to give them a show. I know these guys are ready, also. There’s just a lot of excitement around this game.”

JSU is 2-0 all time against North Dakota State with both games coming in the Division II Playoffs in 1977 and 1989. The Gamecocks are the first Ohio Valley Conference team to appear in the FCS Championship Game since Eastern Kentucky in 1982.

Kickoff for the game is set for 11:00 a.m. central time and can be seen on ESPN2.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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