JACKSONVILLE, Ala. — Zerrick Cooper passed for three touchdowns and ran for one, and Michael Matthews scored the winning touchdown with 59 seconds left as No. 17 Jacksonville State rallied past No. 4 Eastern Washington 49-45 on Saturday night.
The Gamecocks (2-1) never led until Matthews scored on a 1-yard plunge to cap an 11-play, 73-yard drive that started with 4:38 to play. Eastern Washington had led from the opening kickoff, which Dre Dorton returned 90 yards for a touchdown. Eric Barriere then threw three touchdown passes and the Eagles (1-2) led 28-7 after one quarter.
On the first play of the second quarter, Marlon Bridges picked off a Barriere pass and returned it 67 yards, his school-recording-tying third pick-6 of his career.
Late in the third quarter, Barriere threw his fifth touchdown pass to put Eastern Washington on top 45-28. Cooper capped a 75-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown run, Matthews capped a 13-yard drive after a blocked point with a 3-yard run and then Matthews provided the winner.
EWU had a 469-366 yards advantage in total offense, running 88 plays to 65, but Jacksonville State dominated the fourth quarter. The Eagles had 15 plays for 12 yards while the Gamecocks had 24 plays for 109 yards. EWU, which was 14 of 23 on third-down conversions, was 4 of 10 in the second half, 0 of 4 in the fourth quarter.
Cooper was 14 of 31 for 249 yards and had 88 yards rushing. Jamari Hester had five catches for 133 yards.
Barriere went 24 of 43 for 294 yards, but was 1 of 8 for 12 yards in the fourth. Antoine Custer carried 28 times for a career-high 184 yards.