FINAL: GSU pulls out a tough 23-21 win

Randall Hampton

Fourth Quarter:

The Georgia Southern University football team improved to 3-1 on the season with a hard fought 23-21 comeback win over the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Freshman kicker Younghoe Koo booted a field goal to help GSU get within one point of UTC, 21-20.

GSU dodged a bullet when a touchdown pass by UTC sophomore quarterback Jacob Huesman was taken off the board thanks to an ineligible man down field penalty.  After a big third down stop GSU would begin a slow march down the field.

Led by senior quarterback Jerick McKinnon, GSU ran the ball right at the UTC defense.  The highlight of the drive came when McKinnon turned a busted play into a 22 yard gain that gave the Eagles momentum.

GSU nearly fumbled away the game in the red zone on a McKinnon pitch but the team recovered the ball.  Koo would step up under pressure and drill a field goal with 1:56 left to give the Eagles a 23-21 lead.  The defense sealed the victory with an interception by senior defensive end Josh Gebhardt.

Third Quarter:

UTC would strike first out of the locker room with a 57 yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jacob Huesman to junior running back Keon Williams.

The pass was the longest completed against the Eagles this season and put UTC on top 21-17.  Williams capitalized on some over pursuit by GSU and out raced junior cornerback Valdon Cooper to the end zone.

Down by four GSU would rally behind redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Ellison.  He scrambled for 19 yards but a holding penalty on junior center Manrey Saint-Amour killed the drive.

The crowd really got behind GSU late in the third quarter and the Mocs committed several penalties.  GSU forced UTC to punt with two minutes left in the quarter and senior quarterback Jerick McKinnon would end the third quarter with a 29 yard run.

Second Quarter:

Special teams got things rolling again in the second quarter for GSU with a 32 yard field goal by freshman kicker Younghoe Koo to take a 17-7 lead.

The game was in danger of slipping away from UTC until the Mocs put together a 15 play 80 yard drive that ended with a four yard touchdown from junior running back Keon Williams.

The drive ate up over six minutes of time and made it a three point game at 17-14.  UTC converted on a crucial third and fourth down to get back in the game.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Ellison would enter the game late in the second quarter for GSU, but the Eagles drive would stall near midfield.

The Mocs ran out the clock and went into the locker room down 17-14.

First Quarter:

Big plays on special teams and in the running game helped the Georgia Southern University football team jump out to a 14-7 lead in the first quarter.

GSU set up its first score with a 26 yard punt return by junior running back Brandon Thomas.  A 17 yard run by junior running back Tray Butler allowed senior quarterback Jerick McKinnon to punch the ball in from a yard out.

The Mocs would respond by attacking the middle of the Eagles defense.  UTC sophomore quarterback Jacob Huesman broke loose for a 51 yard touchdown run.

GSU would seize momentum on a 31 yard run by McKinnon.  With the Mocs defense paying close attention to McKinnon, the Eagles ran a reverse to redshirt freshman wide receiver Montay Crockett for a 10 yard score.  This was Crockett’s first career rushing touchdown.