Colonels' 5th interception is the charm

RICHMOND — Jacksonville State was making its last charge to tie the score or win the game against Eastern Kentucky on Saturday night.

Trailing 38-35, the visiting Gamecocks were at the EKU 33 with 2:12 to play.

JSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, the heralded transfer from LSU, was again at his best on a night that he would exceed 300 yards through the air.

But he also had glitches in his game, intercepted on four consecutive drives as Eastern built a 31-14 lead early in the third period.

The fifth interception — by EKU sophomore linebacker Jordan Dalrymple — would seal the deal for the Colonels, giving them the 38-35 victory and moving them to 4-3 and 3-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference. JSU is 4-2 and 2-1.

"The defense put a lot of pressure on him, and he happened to throw it my way," Dalrymple said. "We were flying around, playing old-school Colonels smash-mouth football. When you put a lot of pressure on a quarterback he'll do a lot of things he doesn't want to do."

Perrilloux admitted that.

"I made a lot of mistakes," he said. "The interceptions were my fault. They were bad decisions on my part."

The Colonels had something to do with that.

Senior safety Brandon Gathof, who had two picks, credited the defense's film work during the week before the game.

"It was the hardest pre-game (film) work, and it paid off for us," he said.

EKU's five picks directly led to only 10 points, but that helped the Colonels build a 17-point lead. Three points were on Taylor Long's 46-yard field goal on the last play of the first half.

Jacksonville State got within three, 31-28, with 9:41 left in the game. The Colonels scored midway through the period, then Perrilloux ran it in from the 4 with 4:12 to play.

Getting the ball on the JSU 29 after a punt, Perrilloux misfired, then completed three passes and ran for 6 yards to the EKU 33. But Dalrymple was waiting for the next pass.

"Ryan played good in spots and bad in spots," JSU Coach Jack Crowe said. "He was emotional at times, and it worked against him.

"He didn't handle situations that you would expect a quarterback to handle, and it wasn't about his talent."

Eastern had plenty to do with pressuring Perrilloux, and the home team held the JSU runners to 80 yards, the first time they were under 200 yards in their last four games.

The Colonels' offense responded throughout the game, turning in a balanced effort behind Allan Holland's passing to sure-handed receivers and showing a stronger running game than in past outings.

Holland, the 2007 OVC Offensive Player of the Year, hit on 19 of 27 passes for 242 yards. The Colonels ran for 136 yards after averaging 80 yards in their first six games.

C.J. Walker ran for 52 yards and two touchdowns. Kelvin Turner, the Marshall transfer from Danville, gained 40 yards on three carries. His 34-yard jaunt after the final Perrilloux pick allowed Holland to take a knee three times as the clock ticked to zero.

EKU Coach Dean Hood was pleased with his Colonels, who moved above .500 for the first time this fall.

"I was even more proud of how we finished," he said. "Things started rolling ... the momentum ... It looked like they were coming back, but we made plays on offense and defense. It was great to win."