The Tyson Summers era at Paulson Stadium officially began on Saturday when the Georgia Southern football team competed in the Blue-White Spring Game. The White team came out on top, defeating the Blue team 27-7.
It was the first time the team had played on the newly installed turf surface, and players and fans alike were excited to see how the field would hold up to a full speed game.
“It felt good to really get out there and break it in for the Spring Game, so it felt awesome,” senior linebacker Ironhead Gallon said.
Chaz Thornton led the White team with a pair of rushing touchdowns, including a 45-yard dash in the fourth quarter. The only other offensive touchdown of the day came from an 18-yard toss from Favian Upshaw to BJ Johnson III in the final minute of the game. Younghoe Koo and Tyler Bass added a field goal each in the windy conditions. Both offenses were otherwise stymied for most of the day.
“(As) a defensive unit, we want our name to be out there this season. When you think Georgia Southern, you think ‘offense.’ (The defense) really wants to get some input when Georgia Southern is mentioned,” Gallon said.
Gallon certainly did his part, as he picked off an Upshaw pass and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown in the second half. Other standouts on the defensive side were returning defensive linemen Ryan George, Bernard Dawson and Nardo Govan, who all recorded sacks on the day.
The offenses ran the spread option as expected, but they also passed more than some may have thought. Summers saw the game as a chance to gauge how the passing game has developed and see where they are at in that area.
“I thought we did an okay job of that. We’re going to be an option team first and be able run our quarterbacks, but that’s not what today was really about for us,” Summers said.
The scrimmage featured a lot of mixed lineups consisting of first and second-string players. It was a full-speed, full contact game, and there were plenty of hard hits delivered on both sides of the ball. For senior QB Upshaw, just being out on the field again was enough for a good afternoon.
“(The game) was fun. We got to play football again. Everybody loves to be in Paulson,” Upshaw said.
Following the game, the players received their GoDaddy Bowl rings in front of their friends and family.
“What an honor it was, the first ever bowl in the school’s history. I wanted to make it a big deal. The more we can bring people together the better off we can be,” Summers said.
The Eagles have four practices left in the spring, and Summers expressed their main goal is to find out what kind of team they are going to be.
“We want to tighten up what we’re gonna be, what we’re gonna do. What we want to figure out is what we are, and what our true identity is,” Summers said.