Marques Ivory passed for 268 yards and Griffin Thomas kicked a career-high three field goals as Jacksonville State dug itself out of an early 14-point hole to defeat Tennessee Tech 37-28 before a crowd of 7,141 at Tucker Stadium.
The Gamecocks, who trailed 14-13 at halftime, rolled up a season-best 566 yards of total offense to improve to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference. It was the most yards gained by JSU's offense on an opponent's field since 2009.
Jacksonville State's defense, meanwhile, limited Tennessee Tech to just 266 yards – or two yards fewer than Ivory recorded with his arm.
Jacksonville State scored twice in a span of 2:42 late in the third quarter to seize control.
After Doug Page scored to give the Golden Eagles a 28-16 lead with 4:07 left in the third, JSU answered with a quick strike of its own to regain momentum.
Freshman Telvin Brown returned a kickoff 72 yards to the TTU 27. Backup quarterback Coty Blanchard on first down ran into the end zone and Thomas tacked on the extra point to make it 28-23 at the 3:48 mark. It was Jax State's first one-play scoring drive since 2010.
A 55-yard Tennessee Tech punt pinned the Gamecocks at the 3 on their next possession. On the drive's fourth play, Ivory hit Brown in stride in front of the Golden Eagles' bench and the freshman outran the defenders to complete the 86-yard touchdown pass.
Thomas tacked on the extra point to give the Gamecocks their first lead, 30-28, with 1:06 remaining in the third quarter.
The teams combined for 321 yards and 31 points during the frenetic third quarter.
The Gamecocks dominated the second quarter – piling up 170 yards to Tennessee Tech's 33 – and came away with points on all three of their drives to pull with a point (14-13) at halftime.
Thomas kicked field goals of 34 and 32 yards and DaMarcus James scored on a 4-yard run. James finished with a game-high 130 yards on 28 carries.
The Golden Eagles struck first, piecing together a 69-yard, five-play drive on their second possession. Tre Lamb connected with Cody Matthews for 34 yards and to Stephen Bush for 17 more as Tennessee Tech drove into the red zone.
Bud Golden followed with runs of nine and eight yards and Lamb finished off the drive with a 1-yard run at the 9:59 mark for a 7-0 TTU lead.
JSU responded with a lengthy 13-play drive that eventually stalled at the TTU 6. Thomas came on to attempt a 24-yard field goal, but his kick sailed wide right.
Tennessee Tech stretched its lead to 14-0 on JSU's next possession when TTU's Caleb Matthews intercepted a Blanchard pass and returned the pick-six 49 yards. Zach Sharp tacked on the extra point to stretch the Golden Eagles' lead to 14-0 with 2:16 to play in the opening quarter.
Next up for Jacksonville State is a trip to Eastern Illinois (3-3, 2-1 OVC) next Saturday.
The Gamecocks return home on Oct. 20 for a showdown against current conference leader Tennessee State. Kickoff is at 11 a.m. and the game will be nationally televised by Fox College Sports.