Eagles escape ULM with 23-21 victory

Hayden Boudreaux

Eagle fans had a lot to celebrate tonight as their team took on the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe. The night saw the return of the ‘old’ Gus, a new attendance record, a blocked field goal, and their second Sun Belt victory. After a tight contest throughout, Georgia Southern escaped with a 23-21 victory over ULM.

ULM got off to a quick start with a 15-yard pass on their first play from scrimmage. The drive would be halted by a big sack from William Bussey Jr. The ensuing Eagles possession ended before it could get started as three run plays failed to pick up a first down deep in their own territory. ULM would start at midfield and after a burst up the middle, the Warhawks were able to initiate a screen pass for a 32-yard touchdown. The next Eagle drive would pick up one first down but two penalties would help end the drive at midfield. Neither team could pick up a first down on their next drives. The Warhawks broke the drought with a 65-yard pass that put them inside the 10-yard line and the followed it up with a QB run into the end zone for another score to go up 14-0 with 2:39 remaining in the first quarter. Georgia Southern came out fired up on the next drive and elected to have L.A. Ramsby carry the weight. Ramsby rammed his way down the field for 36 yards on three carries to help set up a short touchdown run from Ellison for the first Eagle score.

A Warhawk punt from midfield gave Georgia Southern the ball at their own one-yard line. Breida was able to bust up the middle and pick up 14 yards to get out from under the goal posts. Upshaw did his part and helped convert a third and long on a pass to Johnson along the sideline. Unfortunately, the next third down would end with an incomplete pass and the offense would be forced to punt. The Eagle defense held strong and forced a punt on the next drive to get back possession for their offense. They were faced with third and 10 when Upshaw hit Johnson on for the first down. A taunting call would be the sixth penalty of the first half for the Eagles. Wesley Fields made up the penalty yards with a 19 yard run and would be faced with 4th and 10. Before the play, an unsportsmanlike penalty would give the Eagles a second chance. The offense would end the drive with a 32-yard field goal from Younghoe Koo to pull closer, 14-10. With just under four minutes in the half, the Warhawk offense took to the field to steal some points. They instead threw an errant pass into the hands of Eagle defender and Florida State transfer Ukeme Eligwe. A targeting penalty on the Eagles would give them the ball at the 39-yard line with 3:21 remaining in the half. The drive would end with an Eagle punt and the Warhawk offense was back on the field. With under a minute to play, ULM had broken midfield and were marching. The defense dug in their heels and were able to halt the advance and force a punt.

The Eagles opened the second half with the ball and the intent to take the lead. They took to the ground and marched down the field. On third and short the Eagles went with a reverse to Montay Crockett who picked up enough yards for the first down and to make it to the red zone. Ramsby carried the next play down to the six. Two negative runs and an incomplete pass required the Eagle to send out Koo to knock down a 37-yard field goal to pull the Eagles within one point. The Eagles soon regained possession and managed to work the ball down to the Warhawk 20-yard line. They originally lined up to convert a fourth and one but a false start penalty sent out the field goal unit. Koo nailed his third field goal of the night and the Eagles went up, 16-14. The Eagle defense came up with another stop and the Eagle offense went back to work. Favian Upshaw took a big run up the sideline and when coupled with a late hit penalty, the Eagles had the ball at the 24-yard line. The offense worked down to the three-yard line before a fumbled snap was recovered by the Warhawks. Despite the big lift the fumble gave ULM the Georgia Southern defense managed to hold strong and force a turnover. The quarter would end with the Eagles driving into the Warhawk side of the field with the lead, 16-14.

In less than a minute the Eagles had worked their way back inside the five-yard line, courtesy of Ramsby and Ellison. Fields would deal the final blow with a 2-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to nine. It was now a two score game and there were 12 minutes left in regulation. They went to work quickly with a 57-yard pass down to the seven-yard line to set up a pass into the end zone for the score. The touchdown brought the Warhawks within two points, 23-21. The Eagles were forced to punt on their next drive but a roughing the kicker call against the Warhawks gave the offense another chance on the field. A holding call followed by a false start penalty put the Eagles into a second and 23 situation, they would end up punting two plays later. With five minutes remaining, ULM had worked to the GASO 43-yard line. They capitalized on their passing attack and picked up another first down on a short pass. On third and 13, the Warhawks threw deep and drew a pass interference penalty to pick up 15 yards and move to the 21-yard line. A huge sack from De La Rosa set up a 42-yard field goal attempt by the Warhawks. The kick was blocked and returned all the way down to the ULM 40-yard line and Eagle fans were able to sigh in relief. The Warhawks were able to get the ball back with only 10 seconds left on the clock. The Eagles were able to keep ULM out of the end zone and keep the victory.