In the season opener at Ole Miss, Jacksonville State stunned its Division I FBS opponent with a double-overtime upset, 49–48. In the second overtime period, the Gamecocks matched Ole Miss with a touchdown and Crowe ordered his team to attempt a two-point conversion to end the game. Quarterback Coty Blanchard connected with running back Calvin Middleton on a shovel pass in the end zone for the win. Crowe, who had been fired as Arkansas head coach after losing to Division I-AA The Citadel in 1992, said, "If you stay in this long enough, it goes both ways."
Jacksonville State entered the regular season finale against underdogs Tennessee Tech ranked fourth in the nation, with a share of the Ohio Valley Conference championship on the line. The Gamecocks mounted a 21-play, 94-yard scoring drive that left 11:33 remaining to play and gave them a 24–7 lead. Tennessee Tech, however, successfully mounted four rapid-fire touchdown drives to win, 35–24, and denied Jacksonville State the OVC automatic playoff berth. The Gamecocks did receive an at-large berth, and after a first-round bye, lost in the second round of the FCS Playoffs to Wofford, 17–14.