JACKSONVILLE, Alabama — Cephus Johnson III passed for 76 yards and two touchdowns, Carlos Washington Jr. rushed for 74 yards and a score and Southeastern Louisiana scored 18 points in the fourth quarter to beat Jacksonville State 31-14 on Saturday.
Johnson found Ivan Drobocky wide open in the end zone for a 5-yard score and the 2-point conversion put the Lions ahead 21-14 to start the fourth. Washington's 2-yard touchdown run with 15 seconds left capped a seven-play drive that took nearly three minutes off the clock.
Johnson also carried it 11 times for 91 yards for SE Louisiana (4-3).
Zion Webb was just 10 of 22 for 126 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for Jacksonville State (6-2). Anwar Lewis carried it 14 times for 125 yards and a touchdown.
After a scoreless first 15 minutes, both offenses found their rhythm in the second quarter.
Southeastern Louisiana – which ran 50 plays during the first half, twice as many as Jax State – got on the scoreboard first with a 6-yard touchdown pass that finished off a 12-play, 80-yard drive.
Riley Callaghan's extra point gave the Lions a 7-0 lead at the 11:54 mark in the second.
Lewis broke free for a 53-yard touchdown run to draw the Gamecocks even. Lewis' eighth TD of the season and Alen Karajic's extra point made it 7-7 at the 10:11 mark.
The first of two Callaghan field goals in the last two minutes, this one a 31-yarder, put the Lions in front 10-7. Jax State quickly responded, however, when Zion Webb found Edwards behind the Southeastern Louisiana secondary for a 64-yard touchdown. Edwards' 10th career TD reception was the longest of his career and first of the season.
Karajic's PAT with 1:07 remaining gave the Gamecocks a 14-10 edge, its first lead of the afternoon.
Southeastern Louisiana (4-3) reverted to a bit of trickery to trim the deficit to one point at halftime.
Bauer Sharp ran 55 yards deep into JSU territory on a fake punt, but the Gamecocks defense stiffened and forced the Lions' Callaghan to kick a 23-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
"In the first half I thought we had some missed opportunities," Rodriguez said. "But I felt OK because our guys were playing hard.
"They didn't do anything differently in the second half than in the first half. It's just the execution wasn't there. We've got to take this as a learning opportunity for coaches and players, be mad about it for 24 hours, then learn from it and get ready for the next one."
The Lions took the lead for good on the first play of the fourth quarter, added another Callaghan field goal with five minutes left, and put the contest out of reach with a 2-yard touchdown run in the waning seconds.
The Gamecocks jump back into ASUN action next Saturday when they travel to Clarksville, Tenn., to face former Ohio Valley Conference rival Austin Peay (5-2, 1-1). Jax State owns a 12-2 lead in series history, but the Governors have won the last two meetings.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Fortera Stadium and the game will be on ESPN+.