Second game results in back-to-back wins for GSU

Will Cheney

The game between Georgia Southern University and Saint Francis University on Saturday had a very similar result to the season opener as GSU walked away with a 59-17 victory.

The most glaring aspect of the GSU starting lineup before kickoff was the absence of junior running back Dominique Swope.

“He got banged up in practice this week,” GSU head coach Jeff Monken said. “We just felt like we needed to hold him out. He was experiencing some pain so we held him back to try to get him healthy for next week. He could have played.”

GSU’s offense, however, did not skip a beat. Senior running back William Banks stepped in for the reigning Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week and scored three times on 72 yards rushing. Redshirt senior running back Torrance Hunt also made big contributions to the Eagle offense, gaining 135 total yards and a touchdown.

“I think it shows how good of depth we have,” senior quarterback Jerick McKinnon said. “If somebody gets hurt, another guy steps right in and we don’t miss a beat.”

The story for GSU’s offense on Saturday was not the rushing attack, but the passing numbers. McKinnon completed all three of his passing attempts for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Once again, redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Ellison contributed to the Eagle offense with 151 passing yards.

The 245 passing yards for GSU was the most for any GSU team since throwing for 232 yards in 2009 against South Dakota State University.

The GSU kicking game was another glaring spot for the Eagles that showed much improvement over the performance in the season opener. Sophomore kicker Alex Hanks was perfect on his two field goal attempts of 29 yards and 31 yards. Freshman kicker Younghoe Koo also saw action as he drilled his first collegiate field goal, a 38-yard attempt.

“I want to have enough (kickers) where if a guy starts to struggle a little bit, there is somebody else ready,” Monken said.

GSU’s defense allowed 324 total yards to SFU on Saturday, with 230 yards on the ground. Those numbers could be a concern for GSU coaches going into next week’s game against Wofford College, which also runs the option offense.

“The offense that Wofford runs is so similar to what we do,” Monken said. “Hopefully there is some carryover from what our guys have done against our own offense in preseason camp. We have got to stop them from running the football, and they are going to have to try to stop us from running the football.”

The Eagles play at Wofford Saturday night at 7 p.m., the first Southern Conference matchup of the season.