The Gamecocks gave the #10 Arkansas Razorbacks all they wanted in an opening game. Jacksonville State proved they were ready to play on the first possession when they forced last season's top quarterback in the SEC to fumble inside JSU territory.
Rashad Smith scooped up the ball and took it to the 24 yard line of Arkansas before being taken down. The drive didn't end as the Gamecocks hoped when Griffen Thomas' 37 yard field goal attempt was blocked. Arkansas would get the ball back and score, but JSU wasn't going away that easy.
The Gamecocks would drive for over seven minutes on the next drive, with Coty Blanchard and Marques Ivory rotating at quarterback. It was Ivory who threw a dart to Freshman Troymaine Pope for 19 yards for a tying touchdown. It was Pope's first touch in his young collegiate career.
JSU capitalized on another quick Arkansas fumble. Ivory led the Gamecocks inside the five when Blanchard came in and gave a handoff to Alan Bonner, who found the end zone on a four-yard run.
The Gamecocks were sporting a 14-7 lead over Arkansas in the second quarter, and while impressive, it didn't last. The Razorbacks reeled off 28 straight points to go up 35-14 before Ivory threw his second touchdown pass of the half to Bonner with just eight seconds remaining before halftime.
JSU took the opening possession of the second half and went down the field before having to send Thomas out for a field goal. Thomas converted nailing a 49 yarder, the longest of his career. Jax State made it 35-24 but ran out of gas late as Arkansas took a final score of 49-24. 71,062 fans watched the Gamecocks, for the second largest crowd to ever see JSU play, behind only when JSU traveled to Florida State in 2009.
Nick Johnson forced a fumble on defense while Rashod Byers tied a team high with four solo tackles. Harnish MacInnes made his JSU debut with six punts for a 35-yard average, placing one inside the 20. Bonner led receiving with 107 yards, and Ivory ws the lead passer with 160 yards on 14-28 passing with two touchdowns.
The Gamecocks play at home this Saturday night against Chattanooga in a rivalry game that dates back to 1904. Late this week the Mocs announced their starting quarterback quit the team after the opener and Freshman Jacob Huesman, the coach's son, will start now.