Five takeaways from Georgia Southern’s 23-21 Camellia Bowl victory over Eastern Michigan

Bethany-Grace Bowers

After a full fight through the pouring rain, Georgia Southern was a field goal away from winning the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl with only two seconds remaining on the clock. The moment that the redshirt-junior kicker, Tyler Bass stepped onto the field to make the kick to make or break the game, the stadium was roaring.

With all that he could, Bass kicked the football 40 yards to clinch the victory with a 23-21 win over the Eastern Michigan Eagles.

Here are five takeaways from Saturday’s bowl win:

Second bowl appearance

This was the Eagles’ second ever bowl appearance and now the bowl record for the team sits at 2-0. With a win in the GoDaddy Bowl in 2015 and now, with a victory over Eastern Michigan in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, the Eagles from Statesboro have a solid bowl record.

The GS Eagles traveled to Montgomery knowing that it would take work to get that tenth win and to attain a goal that they had set for themselves at the beginning of the season.

The Eagles knew that this season would be tough, coming off of a 2-10 record in 2017, but the team was determined to improve and challenge whatever adversity was thrown their way.

Through the pouring rain with many fans watching, the Eagles showed audiences everywhere that they would never stop working and that got them a bowl win.

Werts’ running game

Every touchdown scored Saturday night was due to Werts running into the endzone when he knew he had to. Unlike most quarterbacks who aren’t always willing to take that risk, Werts saw the opportunity and went after it.

Werts scored in the first quarter with a 26-yard run and Bass came behind him to clinch the extra point. This pattern continued in the second quarter with 3:48 left and Werts rushed five yards, with Bass clinching the extra point yet again.

Werts surpassed each running back in Saturday’s game when it came to touchdowns. Although he did not surpass sophomore running back Wesley Kennedy III in gained yards, Werts was the only player with rushing statistics to score a touchdown, two at that.

Werts went the whole season without throwing an interception and made sure that the ball was always in the right hands, and sometimes that meant his own, right into the end zone.

Bass, aka Ole Faithful

Bass kicked three field goals during Saturday’s game and all three secured points toward the Eagle win. Being 3-3 for the game ultimately meant that GS clinched a bowl victory and a perfect record for the night would mean that teammates continued to trust Bass and his kicking game.

With a 50 yard field goal to run the clock down and end the second quarter, Bass was already off to a good start for the night. The GS Eagles went into halftime leading 17-7 and another ball floated between the poles.

To top that off, Bass kicked a field goal to win the game for the team. A perfect ending to his season, this put him at a record of 19-21 overall for kicks. His growth in the program will only continue, especially with the mentality that the coaching staff continuously motivates their players to have.

First 10 win season in FBS

The title really speaks for itself. The GS Eagles had many goals this season. One of them being better each game. There was a different mental focus for each game. Some were referred to as “juice games” or “statement games” but each attack was individual.

This mentality kept the players’ focus in the present tense. They set goals ahead of them, but there was not too much focus placed in the future that the present was neglected.

Each win was its own. That didn’t mean that players assumed they would win because they won the week before, but it was back to the drawing board. Always. Every week.

The wins were earned each week, not given, and that is the main reason why this season meant so much to the coaching staff, players and Eagle Nation. The fact that this was a 10 Win season made the Bowl victory so much more valuable.

Swag Like Chad

There is an elephant in the room and each fan has thought about it at some point. There is a person behind all of this, yes there are a lot of people, but the head of it all has to be patted on the back at some point.

When the coaching change happened after the majority of the 2017 season was over, Eagle Nation was defeated and did not know what this year had in store. A man named Chad Lunsford was chosen as the Eagles’ Head Coach and the next season was up in the air.

From the start, Lunsford made players work hard and never take a win for granted. That mentality in the off-season assured that they would have the determination and drive to fight through a season and come out stronger, more accomplished and would restore a sense of pride back to GS.

The coaching staff, along with Lunsford, has taught the players the life skill of working for what you want and then going and getting it. More than just the football team has learned from that this season and GS has changed because of it.

Bethany-Grace Bowers, The George-Anne Sports Reporter, [email protected]