Max Shortell threw two touchdown passes in a 24-point third quarter and Jacksonville State held off Alabama State 24-22 in a season opener to give Bill Clark a victory in his debut as the Gamecocks' head coach on Saturday night.
Alabama State led 6-0 at the half on a pair of field goals by Bobby Wenzig before the Gamecocks rebounded, scoring first on a 2-yard run by Troymaine Pope and then on Shortell's passes of 23 yards to Anthony Johnson and 45 yards to Telvin Brown. Telvin's TD catch came on the first play after Jamill Lott recovered a Hornets' fumble.
Trailing 24-9, the Hornets scored twice in the fourth quarter, on Jahaad Coleman's 6-yard TD run following an interception and Daniel Duhart's 8-yard pass to Chris Gilzeane two plays after a recovered fumbled punt.
The game was delayed over an hour by severe weather.