On Saturday the Eagles and the Catamounts appeared on a level playing field during the second Georgia Southern University road game of the season until the Eagles started running the ball.
During the 45-13 road victory, the Eagles rushed for 614 yards, the fourth highest rushing total in school history and scored four touchdowns on the ground.
“We gotta run the ball if we’re gonna have success, and we try to establish the run every game. Fortunately, we were able to gain some yards,” head coach Jeff Monken said.
This year marked the second straight year that GSU has featured three 100-yard rushers against Western Carolina University. Two other Eagles also ran for at least 90 yards. In the last two years, the Eagles have combined for 1,248 rushing yards against the Catamounts.
Yardage-wise, the biggest contributor for the Eagles was senior slot-back Darreion Robinson, who ran for 124 yards off 11 carries and scored one touchdown. His touchdown came off a 48-yard run that put GSU ahead 7-0 early in the first quarter.
“It feels great just to have a successful game, seeing everybody going out there and playing with effort. Just going out there and executing what the coaches had preached to us. It feels good,” Robinson said.
Sophomore a-back Dominique Swope took the majority of the carries for the Eagles on the day. He was given the ball 20 times, which Swope used to amass 117 yards rushing while scoring a touchdown of his own.
Swope’s touchdown in the first quarter put the Eagles up 14-0, and it was his sixth-straight game in which he has scored a rushing TD in the first quarter. The game was also Swope’s seventh career game passing the 100-yard rushing mark.
Monken and the Eagles are lucky enough to have quite a few talented runners on the roster, junior b-back William Banks had the chains moving during the day as well. He broke loose for 101 rushing yards off 15 carries and scored a touchdown.
Freshman b-back James Dean made the best of his opportunities. He only carried the ball five times but he rushed for 95 yards and scored the last of the four Eagle rushing touchdowns — his first career rushing touchdown.
“I thought their effort was good, and I was proud of them for holding onto the ball,” Monken said.
Sophomore quarterback Jerick McKinnon was given the start on Saturday. While he did not match his previous-game rushing total of 163 yards, he still managed 89 yards against the Catamounts off 14 carries. He did not run across the goal line during the day, but he did throw two touchdowns.