Jacksonville State quarterback Zerrick Cooper threw a game-winning, walk-off 59-yard touchdown pass to Damond Philyaw-Johnson to complete a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback and shock host Florida State 20-17 on Saturday.
The shocking final play spoiled the storybook ending for Florida State QB McKenzie Milton.
The Seminoles came up short on a critical short third-down play nursing a 17-14 lead late. That miss gave the Gamecocks the ball back with 1:32 to go. From there, Cooper drove the Gamecocks from their own 17 to their 41.
Three plays later, the Gamecocks faced fourth down, and Cooper uncorked his deep throw for Philyaw-Johnson, who caught the ball around the 10, made one defender miss, and crossed the goal line for the win as time expired.
Cooper completed 17 of 38 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
Jacksonville State got within striking distance thanks to an 11-play, 97-yard touchdown drive with 4:45 left in the fourth. Cooper found Ahmad Edwards alone at the goal line for a 23-yard score.
As it did in going up 14-0 a year ago, Jacksonville State (0-2) struck first, scoring on a 15-play, 79-yard drive culminating in a Josh Samuel 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Cooper, who led the Gamecocks to an FCS playoff quarterfinals appearance in 2020, set the school record for passing yards (7,653) on the following drive, before a Pat Jackson fumble ended the scoring threat.
That turnover sparked the Seminoles. Milton completed two quick throws on the ensuing drive and Jashaun Corbin capped off the drive with a 12-yard touchdown run to even things up.
Florida State’s touchdown drive at the end of the first half came two possessions later and covered six plays and 45 yards.
Milton, the UCF transfer who recovered from a gruesome leg injury, completed 18-of-31 passes for 133 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown pass to Wyatt Rector with 9 seconds left in the first half to give the Seminoles (0-2) a 14-7 halftime lead.
It was Milton’s first touchdown pass since Nov. 23, 2018, against South Florida.
A 10-play, 35-yard drive culminated in a Ryan Fitzgerald 53-yard field goal with 4:20 left in the third to give Florida State a two-score lead.
Corbin, who wrecked the Gamecocks in a 41-24 win in 2020, rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
–Field Level Media