Eagles improve to 4-1 behind stellar run game and defensive stranglehold

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  • Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Shai Werts evades a tackle from the Jaguar defense. Werts ended with 87 rushing yards and two touchdowns. 

Ryan Kostensky

Georgia Southern blew out South Alabama for the second year in a row, 48-13, behind two rushing touchdowns from both senior running back Wesley Fields and redshirt sophomore quarterback Shai Werts.

Offensively, GS stalled on their first two drives, but an interception returned by junior cornerback Monquavion Brinson to the one-yard line got the Eagles in scoring position. Two plays later Shai Werts would scamper in for the score, making it a 7-0 game.

After his big game, Brinson talked about the game and the team’s improvement from last season.

“Very fun,” Brinson said. “Very fun to win, very fun to be an Eagle on a Saturday after a win. Offense made a great improvement, they helped us out today, put up 48. I think that’s a tremendous job by them. I think they improved from last year, and I think we’ll have a very good team this year.”

On the first drive of the second quarter, Werts showed off his arm by delivering a 58-yard strike to redshirt sophomore receiver Darion Anderson down the sideline, giving GS a 14-0 lead.

Werts finished the first half of action, rushing for only 18 yards with a touchdown while completing 4-6 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. After trading field goals in the second quarter, the Eagles held a lead of 17-6 going into halftime.

GS continued rolling on their first drive of the second half, capped off by a play of sheer will, where Wesley Fields broke multiple tackles on his way to the 27-yard score, giving the home team a 24-6 advantage.

Werts tacked on another rushing touchdown, his second of the game, giving the Eagles a 34-6 lead, and after the Jaguars’ first touchdown against GS in two years, it was Wesley Fields’ turn again. The senior running back showed why he was so important to the offense, breaking off his second touchdown run of 20+ yards for the game – this time for 25 yards – giving GS a 41-13 lead.

The Eagles scored on six straight possessions from the second quarter to the late fourth quarter, effectively putting the game out of reach for the Jags.

With just minutes left in the game, redshirt sophomore outside linebacker Alvin Ward Jr. took back an errant Jaguar throw 28 yards for a touchdown, sealing a 48-13 blowout for the Eagles.

After the game, Head Coach Chad Lunsford talked about his team’s performance and how they were able to pile on the Jaguars in the second half.

“It was a deal where in the first half we went out there and we got it 17-6 at half,” Lunsford said. “We gotta do a better job of eliminating penalties. Penalties put us in a bad position, where we couldn’t go in and get those points on the board in the first half like we needed to, but I thought our guys fought through it. I believe it was 31 points after halftime, and I thought they did a good job of coming out and putting the game away.”

The win gives GS their second conference win of the year and doubles last year’s win total of two. The Eagles have a short week coming up as they travel to Texas State for a Thursday night bout. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

Ryan Kostensky, The George-Anne Sports Reporter, gasports@georgiasouthern.edu