JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Jaylen Swain returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown and Malik Feaster returned a fumble 100 yards for a score to help Jacksonville State hold off North Alabama 27-24 in nonconference action on Saturday.
The Gamecocks (2-1) pulled within 10-6 on Alen Karajic’s 39-yard field goal with 1:50 left in the first half. On the ensuing possession North Alabama quarterback Parker Driggers fumbled on the goal line after a 15-yard run with 58 seconds left in the half and Feaster scooped and scored to put JSU up 13-10.
The Gamecocks’ defense delivered again in the third quarter on Swain’s pick-6 to push their lead to 20-10. The Lions (0-3) answered using a six-play, 65-yard drive, culminating with Brady Pope’s 4-yard TD run to pull within 20-17 with 3:16 left in the third quarter. JSU regained a 10-point lead on freshman quarterback Matthew Caldwell’s 8-yard TD run with 10:31 left in the game. The Lions again pulled within three points on Blake Dever’s 47-yard scoring strike to Cortez Hall with 2:17 left, but they failed to get the ball back.
Caldwell completed 10 of 19 passes for 98 yards with an interception for the Gamecocks. He also ran for 27 yards on five carries. Josh Samuel rushed 20 times for 107 of JSU’s 211 yards on the ground.
Dever was 15-of-26 passing for 283 yards with one interception for North Alabama. Hall snared five passes for 108 yards, while tight end Corson Swan had five receptions for 103 yards.