Thanksgiving turkey didn’t slow down the Eagles today as Georgia Southern took down South Alabama in glorious fashion, 55-17.
The Jaguars started things out with a bang with their first drive. They used several slant routes to hit receivers in stride over the middle to convert on two third downs. Facing their third conversion attempt, the Jaguars ran a screen to the short side of the field and managed to pick up 30 yards to set up a two yard touchdown dive to pick up the first points of the game.
When the Eagles got the ball, things didn’t go exactly as planned as they were forced to a three and out after seeing their first two plays stuffed at the line of scrimmage. However, the drive ended with a great punt from Ryan Nowicki managed to pin the Jaguars at their own 11 yard line. This allowed for a spectacular defense stand and great field position for the next Eagle drive.
Breida kicked off the second drive with a 40 yard run that set up the offense on the 16 yard line. Six plays later, Ellison faked a give and dove into the endzone to tie things up for the Eagles with just under five minutes remaining in the first quarter. On the next Eagle possession, things were looking good after four consecutive first downs and the ball at the 34 yard line of the Jaguars. Facing fourth and one, Upshaw handed to Ramsby who was stuffed in the backfield and lost the football, allowing the USA defender to scoop it up and run for 62 yards and the score. The Jaguars went on top, 14-7 with 8:33 remaining in the first half.
The Eagles refused to go down without a fight. The next drive saw a bit of creativity from Coach Fritz as receiver Montay Crockett took an end-around for 20 yards. The play set up a 56 yard run from Ellison up the right sideline to the one yard line where Breida plunged into the endzone to tie things up at 14 points each.
Another stalled Jaguar drive resulted in the Eagles getting possession with less than five minutes to play in the half. The Eagles worked down the field quickly as Ellison dropped back and fired a 32 yard touchdown pass to Keaton in the corner of the end zone. The score gave the Eagles their first lead of the day, and things looked like they couldn’t get much better before half.
With less than two minutes remaining in the half, the Jaguars faced third and nine from deep in their own territory. The Jaguar quarterback dropped back and fired an errant pass that was picked off by Eagle corner Darius White and returned to the eight yard line. Ellison made short work of the drive and dove into the end zone to score another touchdown before half, giving the Eagles a 28-14 lead.
The second half didn’t have the start that the Eagle would have preferred. After being held to a three and out, the Eagle offense was forced to punt from deep in their territory. The USA defenders were able to shoot the gaps and block the punt, recovering the ball at the eight yard line. After an amazing defensive stand, the Jaguars settled for a field goal to cut the lead to 11 points.
With a bit of momentum, the Jaguars were looking for a big stop on the next Eagle drive. Instead, Breida decided to suck the air out of South Alabama by taking his first carry 75 yards to the house. Eagles went up 35-17 with 11:26 remaining.
USA failed to get the ball moving again on their next drive and gave up possession to the Eagles. Ellison along with Wesley Fields worked down the field but couldn’t get into the end zone and settled for a field goal. With a 38-17 lead in the third quarter, the Eagles seemed to have the game locked up, but they continued to pile on. Their next drive ended in Ramsby showing off his speed with a 46 yard run touchdown run.
With their starting quarterback injured, the Jaguars backup continued to try and hold the team together. On their next possession he threw towards the right flats and his pass was picked off by Eagle corner Darius Jones. The Eagles came away with another field goal with the backups on the field. The backup defense was able to force a three and out on the next Jaguar drive. On the punt, returner Keaton took fielded the kick and brought it 72 yards down to the four yard line to set up the offense for another score by way of Vegas Harley.
As the clock hit zero, the Eagles secured their eighth win of the season and their sixth Sun Belt win of the season. The bowl dreams of South Alabama were dashed before their eyes in Paulson, and the Eagles are one step closer to a 10 win season.