MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - When Russ Huesman left Chattanooga to become the head coach at Richmond last December, he left his Alma Mater with one final message: "I'm going to be rooting for them to just destroy Jacksonville State. Destroy them."
It's easy to see why. Since 2004, Jax State has beaten the Mocs in nine out of their 11 meetings and had won four straight, including two by a field goal and two in overtime.
Huesman never found much luck against JSU. After Saturday's season-opener, UTC's new head coach Tom Arth suffered the same fate Huesman did so many times before.
No. 5 JSU topped No. 12 UTC 27-13 in the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff played in Montgomery's Crampton Bowl.
Quarterback Bryant Horn took the field tasked with replacing four-year starter Eli Jenkins. Horn completed 14 of his 20 attempts for 182 yards. He completed a touchdown passes to Shaq Davidson for 59 yards, but also threw two interceptions.
Senior running back Roc Thomas took a lot of the pressure off Horn. He led the team in rushing and receiving.
Thomas ran for 122 yards on 19 carries and a 76-yard touchdown and he caught three passes for 68 yards.
As dominant as Thomas was, he may have been overshadowed by the Gamecocks' defense. JSU only gave up 13 points. The Mocs' lone touchdown came in the final minutes of the game after JSU subbed in its reserves.
Jax State's defense held the Mocs to just 293 yards of total offense and found a way to put points on the board.
Jonathan Hagler returned an interception for a 52-yard score in the third quarter.
Quan Stoudemire finished with nine tackles. Marlon Bridges had six and Hagler finished with four.
JSU will travel to Atlanta on Sept. 9 to take on Georgia Tech.