Eagles fall short to UGA in overtime, 23-17.

Hayden Boudreaux

In undoubtedly the most thrilling game of the season for both schools, the Georgia Bulldogs bested the Georgia Southern Eagles 23-17 in overtime.

UGA came out fired as they quickly drove down the field on a 63 yard possession that ended in a 23 yard touchdown run to give them the lead in just over four minutes. The Eagle’s answer was seemingly weak as they couldn’t get the ball moving and lost three yards on and were forced to a three and out. The Eagle defense came out and stuffed the Bulldogs on the following drive with an impressive effort that included a 13 yard sack from defensive lineman Jamal Johnson. Unfortunately, the Eagles could not get the ball moving as their drive started from their own one yard line and were forced to punt it away again.

The momentum began to shift on the next Bulldog possession as they were working their way towards the end zone, a completed pass ended in a fumble that was scooped up by an Eagle defender. Favian Upshaw checked into the game at quarterback and gave the Eagle’s great momentum on a big 29 yard completion to receiver B.J Johnson, and a huge 43 yard run that put the offense inside the ten yard line. A sack on third down forced the Eagles to attempt a short field goal, but the kick sailed wide right.

UGA answered with a similar drive that ended in a failed 48 yard attempt to give the Eagles the ball at their own 32 yard line. The Eagle offense took off and made it look easy as they relied on the legs of Ellison, Breida, and Ramsby. At the 25 yard line, Breida took a pitch, juked a defender and reversed field, and was caught out of bounds at the one yard line. Ramsby ended up punching into the end zone for the 1 yard score to tie up the contest. Neither team could move the ball for the rest of the half, so the Eagles went into the locker room tied 7-7.

The second half saw the Eagles looking to capitalize on their first half momentum as they started with the ball. UGA was able to form a wall and force a three and out. On their next possession, a mishandled pitch allowed for Eagle defender Caleb Williams to scoop up the live ball and ran 65 yards for the touchdown. The score put the Eagles up on top 14-7 with 12:02 remaining in the third quarter.

On the ensuing Bulldog possession, a huge tackle for loss followed by a sack by Bernard Dawson forced a punt from UGA at midfield. The Eagles were able to pick up one first down, but a strong defensive stand forced a punt. Again, the Bulldogs would be held to a three and out and were forced to punt. The Eagle returner Keaton fumbled the punt and the Bulldogs picked it up to regain control at the Eagle 30 yard line.

With great field position, UGA was able to push their way back into the endzone to bring the game back to a tie with 1:23 remaining in the third quarter. The Eagles then began a long, methodical drive led by Favian Upshaw that saw several acts of heroism including a huge third down conversion by Ramsby after a 15 yard personal foul was called on the Eagles. The drive was on the line on a fourth and nine play from the UGA 32 yard line. The 13 play, 49 yard drive ended with a field goal from Koo from 47 yards out.

The Bulldogs came out swinging and picked up a huge run play to put themselves across midfield. Another big pass play put the Bulldogs within striking distance inside the thirty yard line of the Eagles, but they couldn’t make it any further and were forced to attempt a 43 yard field goal. The kick sailed through the uprights and the game was tied again, now 17-17 with 6:06 remaining. The Eagles failed to pick up a first down on their ensuing possession and punted the ball away with 4:28 remaining. The Bulldogs saw similar results on their next possession and were forced to punt it away as well with less than three minutes on the clock.

The Eagles started the drive with a nine yard run from Breida, followed by a solid ten yard gainer from Ramsby. The Eagles had the ball on the UGA 42 yard line with 1:50 remaining in the contest as they faced third down and eight yards to go. A completed pass out to the right side made it fourth and five with only 0:39 remaining.  Coach Fritz elected to punt and it resulted in a touchback, giving the Bulldogs the ball at their own 20 yard line with half a minute remaining, but the clock would run out on the drive and send the game into overtime.

Overtime began with the Eagles taking the ball first. Upshaw remained in the game at quarterback as the offense saw two straight losses on run plays to Breida and Ramsby. Upshaw scampered for a big gain but couldn’t pick up the first down. A fourth down run from Ramsby failed to convert and UGA took control, and all they had to do was score to win the ball game. On their first play from scrimmage, the Bulldog back took the handoff 25 yards for the score.