Eagles come up short against nationally ranked opponent

DJ Cadden, Sports Editor

Things were rowdy at Allen E. Paulson Stadium on Saturday, as a raucous crowd of more than 20,000 people filed in to watch the Georgia Southern Eagles take on the No. 14 BYU Cougars.

“There was a lot of stuff going on,” said BYU head coach Kalani Sitake. “We were getting hit by burritos on the sideline. It was pretty hostile, but I am just really proud of the way the guys bounced back and made some adjustments.”

Despite the majority of the crowd being on their side, the Eagles failed to pull off the upset and fell to BYU, 31-17.

In the first half, the game looked as if it was on the verge of becoming a track meet. Both teams found the endzone and drilled a few field goals as the lead exchanged hands numerous times, with BYU ultimately taking a 20-17 lead into halftime.

While both Justin Tomlin and Cam’Ron Rasnom nursed injuries, redshirt freshman Connor Cigelske got his first start under center. Under the circumstances, Cigelske played well, throwing for 123 yards and an interception.

“I saw him in high school and I knew if his number was ever called, he’d be ready,” said interim head coach Kevin Whitley. “You could see it in his eyes that he was going to be ready to go.”

Although the Eagles only trailed by three at halftime, two crucial interceptions kept GS from making the game any closer. On the other side, BYU played almost an extremely clean game, committing just six penalties to go along with no turnovers.

“A couple of things we talked about during the week: we’ve got to match that intensity, match that focus, match that discipline,” said Whitley. “For the most part, we did that. We had a couple of mental breakdowns.”

The offensive explosion for the Cougars was led by quarterback Jarren Hall, who threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Tyler Allgeier ran for 136 yards and a touchdown in what was a very balanced attack for the Cougars.

For the Eagles, Logan Wright led the way with 52 yards and two touchdowns. Wright also led the team in receiving, hauling in five receptions for 43 yards.

Following the loss, the Eagles now sit at 3-8 (2-5 SBC) and last place in the Sun Belt East division.

The Eagles will be in action one more time this season, traveling to take on bitter rival Appalachian State next weekend. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN+.