Saturday night was not pretty, but the Eagles were able to defeat the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks in front of a record-breaking crowd of 25,735 fans. The 23-21 victory pushed the Eagles to a 3-0 record and a 2-0 conference record.
It seemed as if Georgia Southern got in its own way most of the night. Penalties and turnovers set the Eagles back every time they caught momentum. After a good drive by the Warhawks, the Eagles looked certain to be in a bad situation. This was until Safety RJ Murray made the play of the season so far and blocked what would have been the game-winning kick.
“First, we met on the sideline. Coach talked about it and talked about what we thought their plan was going to be. Coach Summers and Coach Joe got together and made the perfect call. When we went out there a got a great push up front. Me and big Charlie were able to jump and it hit me in the arm and we were able to execute the call,” Murray said about his block.
GS ran the ball pretty well against ULM, but their efficient passing game seemed to be stagnant. Upshaw was only able to complete 28% of his passes for 64 yards. The Eagles came into the game with second most efficient passing offense in the country. Running back L.A. Ramsby led the Eagles in rushing yards with a total of 86 yards averaging 6.1 yards per carry. The Eagles backup running Wesley Fields found the end zone for the third straight game. Fields carried the ball 13 times and racked up 84 yards on the ground.
After allowing their first two touchdowns of the season in the first quarter against ULM, the Eagles dug in and held them to seven points in the final three quarters. The Eagles did a great job limiting ULM Quarterback Harrison Smith in those three quarters. Linebacker Ukeme Eligwe had a spectacular one-handed interception in the second quarter that set the Eagles up in the Warhawks territory. Eligwe finished the game with nine tackles. Ironhead Gallon led the defense with 10 total tackles including one tackle for a loss of yards.
“Our defense goes out and was able to finish the game. We made the plays when we needed to and found a way to win. It’s not pretty but we found a way to win despite the penalties. We need to become more disciplined or it’s either going to be a really long year or an overly exciting one,” Tyson Summers, head coach, said.
The unexpected hero of the game is GS Senior Kicker Younghoe Koo. Koo finished the game with three field goals made including one that gave the Eagles a 16-14 lead.
“Younghoe Koo had a great night. He’s a senior leader. He’s very quiet and he comes in and does his job. He works at it every day and he came through in the clutch,” Kevin Ellison, GS Quarterback, said.
This game was the last game at home for the Eagles until they take on Appalachian State on October 27. The next game for the Eagles will be Sept. 24 in Kalamazoo, Michigan when they take on the Western Michigan Broncos.