By Carl Prather| October 16, 2011 at 2:39 AM CDT - Updated August 21 at 10:23 PM
It took Jacksonville State almost 20 minutes to find its way into the end zone Saturday night.
Then the floodgates opened and Austin Peay couldn't keep the Gamecocks out.
No. 10 Jacksonville State scored 28 points in a 10-minute span in the second quarter – its most in a quarter in seven years – and crushed Austin Peay 44-14 before a crowd of 5,186 at Governors Stadium.
The Gamecocks improved to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in conference play with their fourth straight victory.
It was JSU's fifth consecutive win over Austin Peay since the Govs rejoined the OVC in 2007 and has outscored the Govs 205-58 in those five meetings.
Jacksonville State gave its next opponent, Southeastern Conference member Kentucky, plenty to study on film ahead of next Saturday's game in Lexington, Ky.
The Gamecocks' opportunistic defense forced six turnovers and returned two interceptions for touchdowns – the first time that's happened in a game since 2009. Brooks Robinson also returned a fumble 32 yards for a Jacksonville State score.
Pierre Warren had an apparent interception return for a TD, but the play was blown dead by an official's inadvertent whistle.
Two freshmen reserves, linebacker Ben Endress of Ashland and defensive back Jamaal Johnson of Piedmont, added to Govs' quarterback Jake Ryan's misery in the fourth quarter.
Endress scored on a 10-yard interception return with 3:37 left. Johnson duplicated the feat just over a minute later, picking off Ryan and racing 45 yards to the end zone for the Gamecocks' final touchdown.
Ryan completed just 16-of-31 passes for 172 yards and was intercepted five times before mercifully being replaced on Austin Peay's final possession.
It was a turnover by Jax State that led to the game's first points.
Alan Bonner muffed a punt late in the first quarter that was recovered by Austin Peay's Devan Stark at the JSU 30. Two plays later, Ryan connected with Stark on a 15-yard touchdown pass and the extra point gave the Govs a 7-0 lead with two minutes left.
The game took a decided turn in JSU's favor after Warren's interception.
Starting at the APSU 35, the Gamecocks covered the distance in just four plays, with Washaun Ealey scoring on a 27-yard run, his longest of 2011. James Esco's extra point pulled JSU even at 7-7 with 10:34 left in the second quarter.
Coty Blanchard ran in from the 3 on JSU's next possession to cap a nine-play, 51-yard drive. Esco's kick made it 14-7 at the 5:56 mark, a lead the Gamecocks never relinquished.
Ealey's 17-yard run set up the next Jax State score. Fullback Jerry Slota finished off the eight-play drive by taking a direct snap from center and diving in from the 2 to make it 21-7 with 52 seconds left before halftime.
Then disaster struck for Austin Peay (2-4, 2-2) when Monte Lewis forced a fumble that was snatched up by Robinson, who ran 32 yards to the end zone to give JSU a 28-7 halftime lead.
The 28-point quarter was the most Jax State had scored in one period since 2004 against UT-Martin.
Esco's 19-yard field goal early in the third quarter extended the lead to 31-7.
Ealey eclipsed the 100-yard barrier for the third straight contest, carrying 18 times for 124 yards. Jax State outgained the Governors 360-266.
The Gamecocks travel to Commonwealth Stadium next week to face Kentucky (2-4). Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. and the game will be nationally televised on ESPNU.