JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) True freshman Jaylen Raynor threw for three touchdowns and ran for two in his first start to lead Arkansas State to a 44-37 win over Southern Mississippi in a Sun Belt Conference opener on Saturday night.

Raynor, the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Red Wolves since 2019, scored on a 62-yard run for a 44-34 lead with 2:28 to play. The Golden Eagles got a field goal with 16 seconds to go but they couldn't recover the onside kick.

Raynor was 11 of 21 for 233 yards with an interception and ran 17 times for 97 yards. The Red Wolves (2-2) converted 7 of 14 third downs and had 424 total yards.

Courtney Jackson had three catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns. His first reception put the Red Wolves on top 14-7 in the first quarter. He also had a 60-yard touchdown on the first snap of the second half for a 27-17 lead.

The Golden Eagles tied the game at 34-34 a minute into the fourth quarter but the Arkansas State defense forced two three-and-outs and Raynor took care of the rest.

Billy Wiles threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns but also threw two interceptions for the Golden Eagles ( 1-3). Frank Gore Jr. ran for 132 yards and a touchdown.

--- AP college football: and

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