Eagles blank Savannah State

Hayden Boudreaux

New jerseys, new coaches, and a new year for the Georgia Southern Eagles as they opened their season against the Savannah State Tigers. With over 21,000 fans in attendance, the Eagles were able to come away with a big win, 54-0.

The Tigers failed to pick up a first down on their opening drive and gave the Eagles a chance the ball. Senior Kevin Ellison was given starting responsibilities to lead d his offense down the field. An Ellison to Crockett 24-yard completion followed by a three yard run from quarterback Favian Upshaw put the Eagles on the board, 7-0.  Savannah State’s next drive ended quickly with the Eagle defense getting deep into the backfield and forcing a fumble that was recovered by redshirt freshman Jay Bowdry. Upshaw started the second drive off with a bang as he scampered into the endzone for a 23-yard touchdown run on the second play of the drive. The Eagles were able to work the ball down the field again on their third drive on the legs and arm of Kevin Ellison with assistance from Wesley Field who punched in the third score of the contest. The Eagles would end the first quarter ahead, 21-0.

Savannah State continued to struggle on offense. They picked up only two first downs in the first quarter and were stalled at midfield on their fourth drive. A facemask penalty on their punt gave the Eagles excellent field position for their next drive. However, an interception from Favian Upshaw ended the scoring streak for the offense. The Eagle defense was able to hold strong and Savannah State was prevented from crossing midfield and forced to punt. A penalty put the Eagles in the shadow of their own goal posts to start their next drive. They were able to string together a couple first downs but were forced to punt around midfield. The Tigers were forced to punt on their next drive and a targeting penalty led to the ejection of Eagle receiver Obe Fortune. On the final drive of the first half, Upshaw looked impressive as he worked down the field using his legs and arm, capping off the drive with a touchdown pass to Breida to stay on top, 28-0.

GS received the ball to open the second half and a quick burst around the end by Wesley Fields put the Eagles in scoring range. The opening drive of the second half ended with Ellison taking in a short run up the middle for the fifth touchdown of the night. A missed extra point made the score 34-0 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Savannah State didn’t roll over in their first drive of the second half as they picked up a quick first down but were denied on a third and short and forced to punt. Despite taking the ball from inside their own ten-yard line, the Eagles were able to work down the field with Upshaw at the reins. Upshaw rolled left and fired a pass to Wesley Fields who made a move and dove into the end zone. A failed two-point attempt gave the Eagles a 40-0 lead. The next Tiger drive resulted in a fumble, giving up possession at their own 26-yard line. Breida added another score to his tally as he ran in another touchdown on the first play of the possession.

As time started to wind down in the third quarter and the Eagles led 47-0 we started to see some new talent emerge. Redshirt-sophomore LaBaron Anthony took over the role at quarterback with redshirt-junior Demarcus Godfrey behind him at running back. Redshirt-sophomore Troy Stewart also saw some action in the backfield as they continued to work down the field with the two-back attack. Their drive was cut short at midfield by a fumble which gave the Tigers the ball with 10:30 remaining in the contest. The Eagles defense made a play of their own with an interception by redshirt-junior Robert Brice II. On the ensuing drive, Godfrey got another chance to shine as he had two big runs which included a 40-yarder to put the Eagles inside the ten. The drive ended with a seven yard burst into the endzone by Troy Stewart. The Eagles led 54-0 with just over six minutes remaining. A solid defensive stand allowed GS to regain possession which they used to give more experience to the young offense. Anthony and Godfrey combined to work the ball inside of the five-yard line again with only two minutes to go. An errant snap caused the Eagles to lose 13 yards and prevented another score. The clock would expire with the Eagles taking their first win of the season, 54-0.