The last second, game-winning play

Kaitlin Sells

Georgia Southern held a lead over Eastern Michigan for most of their bowl game but with 3:33 left on the clock, EMU scored a touchdown to take a one-point lead over GS- leaving the Eagles with work to do.

With determination and refusal to give up, GS drove the ball and redshirt-sophomore quarterback Shai Werts made an unbelievable fourth and ten drive where he picked up 29 yards to put the Eagles in field goal range.

With three seconds left on the clock and down by one point, Head Coach Chad Lunsford called a timeout to regroup and to prepare redshirt-junior kicker Tyler Bass and the rest of the kicking team to help the Eagles claim the win in the 2018 Raycom Media Camellia Bowl.

“I had complete confidence [in Bass],” Lunsford said. “He’s a clutch guy and I have big time confidence in our field goal team- we call it our money team. They did a great job protecting, the snapper did a great job of snapping the ball, we got a great hold and a great kick. I had no doubt we would make that field goal.”

Bass and the rest of the field goal team stepped up and set up for the 40-yard kick, the ball was snapped and Bass claimed his 19th made field goal for the season as well as the win for the Eagles.

{{tncms-inline account=”Ryan Kostensky” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">GEORGIA SOUTHERN WINS! .<a href="https://twitter.com/tbass_xvi?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tbass_xvi</a> drills a game winning 40-yarder as time expires. EAGLES WIN 23-21.</p>— Ryan Kostensky (@RyanKostensky) <a href="https://twitter.com/RyanKostensky/status/1074117778695774208?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 16, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/RyanKostensky/status/1074117778695774208″ type=”twitter”}}

“I thought they were going to ice me because on my fifty-yarder- before the half they iced me-so I was sitting back there thinking ‘oh they might ice me’ but once Magill, our holder, gave me the look, I gave him the nod- I knew it was a go,” Bass said. “Before the kick I just focused on one thing I just focused on kicking the ball straight, right to my aiming point.”

The biggest celebration from Eagle Nation followed, led by Bass taking off in a victorious sprint immediately after kicking the ball, before the ball even passed through the uprights.

“When I kicked it, I took off running before it even went in because I knew it was going to go in,” Bass said. “My immediate thought was just nothing. My whole body went numb, just a lot of adrenaline. I just went and celebrated with my teammates because we worked so hard for this, for that win.”

The team stormed the field. The fans stormed the field. Bass and Lunsford were both lifted in celebration as the Eagles claimed their second bowl win in school history. From a 2-10 season to a 10-3 season the football team was on cloud nine as their hard work throughout the season finally paid off.

{{tncms-inline account=”Captain” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The celebration begins. <a href="https://t.co/437RHkjinA">pic.twitter.com/437RHkjinA</a></p>— Captain (@McclainBaxley) <a href="https://twitter.com/McclainBaxley/status/1074127454707474434?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 16, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”https://twitter.com/McclainBaxley/status/1074127454707474434″ type=”twitter”}}

“It’s our win,” said Bass. “It’s not one person who won that game, the whole team won that game.”

With that win, Bass and the rest of the Eagles claimed their first 10-win season as an FBS program. Following, Bass was also named to the AP All-Bowl team.

Bass finished the season 19/21 kicking tying the school’s all-time records of 10 field goals of 40 or longer and 19 total made field goals. The kicker will return to the field in the 2019 season as he steps up as a senior and looks to make the most of his final season as an Eagle.

Kaitlin Sells, The George-Anne Sports Editor, [email protected]