Jacksonville State coach John Grass said his team would respond following its opening loss at Southeastern Louisiana.

JSU (1-1) did not allow a sack one week after giving up six. Jacksonville State rushed for over 100 yards after failing to do so in the season opener. And the Gamecocks trimmed their turnovers down from two to one in their 40-21 win over rival Chattanooga on Saturday.

“I was anxious as everyone else to see how our team was going to respond after not opening up with our best game,” Grass said Monday at JSU’s weekly press conference. “We didn’t let that define us and we came back and we played well at home.”

The response came at a good time with the 2018 national runner-up coming to town.

The Gamecocks, ranked No. 16 in the FCS Coaches Poll and No. 17 in the FCS STATS Top 25, host No. 5/4 Eastern Washington (1-1) at 3 p.m. Saturday at Burgess-Snow Field.

There's still plenty room for improvement.

Chattanooga had success running the ball against Jacksonville State. The Mocs came out and easily moved their way inside the JSU 20, but stalled and settled for a field goal. UTC totaled 214 rushing yards (5.6 yards per carry) a week after SLU ran for 146 yards (4.9 yards per carry).

“We missed some tackles the other night we’d like to have back,” Grass said. “I think we’ll get better as we go.”

A lot of JSU’s tackles this weekend will likely come after receptions.

Eastern Washington QB Eric Barriere was 32-of-46 for 522 yards with five touchdowns. Dre’ Sonte Dorton was on the receiving end the majority of the time as he hauled in 15 receptions for 289 yards (EWU school record) and three TDs in the 59-31 win over Division II Lindenwood on Saturday. The Eagles' lone loss was their season opener at Washington (47-14).

“I’m very excited because they throw the ball every play,” JSU cornerback Yul Gowdy said. “That means you have to be on your A-game. We will be on our A-game anyways, but you really have to be on it this week. You never know when your time is going to come.”

Saturday’s matchup will be the first time since 2005 a top-five opponent (No. 2 Furman) has visited Burgess-Snow Field. EWU is the 10th Division I team ranked in the top five to visit JSU. The Gamecocks are 1-9 in those matchups with the lone win coming in 2002 against No. 3 Northwestern State.