HAMMOND, La. — Chason Virgil and Cole Kelley combined to throw for three touchdowns as Southeastern Louisiana upset defending Ohio Valley Conference champion Jacksonville State 35-14 in the season opener on Thursday night.
The Lions jumped in front and stayed there after Devonte Williams ran in from the 4 and Kelley hit Bransen Schwebel from the 5 in the first quarter.
Jacksonville State's Josh Pearson hauled in a 33-yard scoring toss from Zerrick Cooper to close to 14-7 early in the second quarter, but did not score again until the fourth quarter to set the final score.
Jacksonville State, which has won the Ohio Valley championship for the past five years, opened the season ranked No. 6 in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Virgil finished with 164 yards passing and one score while Kelley threw for 74 yards and two touchdowns. Devonte Williams hauled in a 58-yard touchdown toss from Virgil to go up 21-7 at the break. Ferlando Jordan added a 65-yard interception return for a score to go ahead 28-7 with 10:45 remaining in the third.
Cooper threw for 414 yards and two touchdowns for the Gamecocks.