Eagles trounce Western Michigan at home, 43-17

Hayden Boudreaux

Thousands of fans stood in the pouring rain as they waited for the all clear to return to Paulson Stadium to watch their Eagles take on the Western Michigan Broncos in their home opener. The Eagles didn’t disappoint as they pulled out a 43-17 victory.

Things kicked off with the Broncos firing on all cylinders and working the ball down the field from their own nine yard line. The drive ended with a field goal but did show that they had the capability of moving the ball.

True blue fans roared as the Eagle offense took the field and watched junior running back Matt Breida break off a 32 yard run. Unfortunately, a failed fourth down conversion gave possession back to the Broncos. The Broncos had the same fortune as they punted the ball back to Georgia Southern. That’s when the ball got rolling for the home team.

Spearheading the drive for the Eagles was freshman running back Wesley Fields with two consecutive runs for 60 yards. The drive culminated in a 9 yard touchdown run by Breida to give the Eagles the lead, 7-3. The spark seemed to be out as both teams followed up with three-and-out drives. Then, the Broncos were up to punt again.

The snap to the Bronco’s punter soared over his head and landed in the end zone and the punter quickly smacked the ball out the back for a safety.  After the safety punt the Eagles took the ball back down the field on the backs of quarterback Favian Upshaw and running back L.A. Ramsby. Breida would finish the drive with a four yard plunge across the goal line to make it a 16-3 ball game.

Down by 13 and needing some life, the Broncos went back on the field to regain momentum. Instead, Antonio Glover jumped up and intercepted a pass deflected off of the referee’s shoulder for his second interception of the night. One the second play of the ensuing Eagle drive Breida was able to rip away for a 34 yard touchdown run.

With little time left on the clock, Western Michigan took advantage of short passes and quick first downs to work their way down the field and put a touchdown on the board before the half expired. A missed extra point made the score at halftime: Georgia Southern 23 Western Michigan 9.

Eagle fans couldn’t have asked for a better start to the second half. Breida took a handoff around the outside and was able to break off a 75 yard touchdown run to extend the lead, 30-9. On the ensuing Bronco possession, a pass over the middle collided with a referee’s shoulder and fell into the hands of Antonio Glover for his second interception of the game.

The offense began working the ball down the field. Upshaw was able to pull off a 17 yard run to get the Eagles down to the 19 yard line. The drive ended in a 22 yard field goal from Alex Hanks, 33-9 Eagles. On the next drive for the Broncos, their quarterback dropped back and threw his third interception to Glover. That gave Glover equal share of the record for interceptions in a game in school history.

After the turnover, the Eagles were unable to convert on a fourth down fake punt and were forced to give the ball back to Western Michigan. The Broncos struggled but were able to pick up a couple first downs but stalled at midfield and punted the ball away. The Eagles had similar luck and gave up their possession on a three and out. 

Western Michigan took the ball back with a vengeance and began working down the field. The Broncos converted on three third downs and managed to punch the ball into the end zone with 10:51 remaining in the game. A two point conversion made it a 33-17 ball game.

After the score, the name of the game for the Eagles was running out the clock and escaping with their first victory of the season. The Eagles drove the length of the field with help from a 40 yard run from Upshaw. Ramsby ended the drive with a one yard dive to pick up six more for the Eagles. With a 40-17 lead, the Eagles kicked the ball back to the Broncos.

The kick was bobbled and dropped by the Bronco return man. He tried to run with it but a huge hit from Chris DeLarosa jarred the ball loose and that allowed for tight end James Dean to scoop up the live ball on the 10 yard line. After three run plays the Eagles settled for a field goal and kicked it off again.

Starting their drive from the 8 yard line the Broncos could not move the ball. A dropped pass downfield, followed by an overthrown ball, and a sack ended their drive. The punt out of the end zone gave the Eagles possession on the Bronco side of the field again. Quarterback Vegas Harley helped run out the clock with the Eagle offense to seal up the victory.

After last week, the Eagles seem like an entirely new football team. The home opener was as good of a homecoming that fans could have hoped for from their team. The Eagles will do battle with former conference opponent Citadel next week in Paulson Stadium.