Many weren’t sure if the weather would cooperate, but it held off long enough for the Annual Blue-White game in Paulson Stadium to kick off and give fans a preview of next season’s action.
As usual, the Eagles began with their kicking game to warm up the players on both sides. Junior kicker Younghoe Koo and senior Alex Hanks each hit their three field goals of 35 yards. They were followed by excellent punting by senior Ryan Nowicki. The kicking portion wrapped up with kick offs and kick returns.
DEFENSE VS OFFENSE
Things did not start out looking good for the Eagle offense as Ellison opened the game airing out the ball. On his first pass, he faced heavy pressure and threw a pass into the arms of junior corner Darius Jones Jr., but he dropped the ball. The following play however, Jones pulled down a jump ball interception. Ellison over threw his next target and was sacked on the following play. He quickly turned things around with a 65-yard touchdown pass to sophomore running back Derek Keaton.
Junior Favian Upshaw checked into the game with the backups on both sides of the ball and began his run of plays. Upshaw looked impressive as he threw on the run and completed a lot of short routes.
The teams went live with Ellison coming back onto the field with the starters. We got to see a short dive by redshirt sophomore back L.A. Ramsby followed by a trick play where the offensive line doesn’t move after the snap which resulted in an interception to senior Darrius White. Upshaw took the field and threw a nice pass to junior receiver Montay Crockett for the touchdown.
Ellison checked back into the game for redzone plays and appeared far more comfortable in the pocket. He gave an impressive fake pitch which sprung him for extra yards. He followed up with a touchdown pass to the big senior tight end Jeff Ward.
The Eagles then moved the ball to their own five yard line and gave Upshaw the first shot at the long field. The offense couldn’t get much going and were replaced with the starters who didn’t have better luck. Senior running back Ryan Brown showed off some hard running between the tackles on a big burst up the middle of the field.
Dr. Brooks Keel, Georgia Southern University president, and Leonard Beville then began calling live plays for the offense five at a time. Plays that earned more than four yards equaled one point while scoring plays still equaled six. QB Vegas Harley started with a 12-yard pickup on the play. Harley threw an 18-yard pass down to the 15, giving Beville a total of three points.
Keel took over the play calling and his quarterback was redshirt freshman Monteo Garret. Garrett started the drive with an interception followed by four short runs giving Keel one point on his drive.
He was shown up on the first play of the next Beville drive with a 37-yard pass from Garrett down to the 13-yard line. Negative plays plagued Beville’s play calling as he lost all four points he had accumulated.
Two strong runs from redshirt freshman Noah Hickey and Harley gave Keel two more points. Garrett started his final series with an interception to senior safety Steve Williams but followed it up with a 20-yard pass. A few short runs gave Keel some additional points to pad his lead.
The Blue-White scrimmage ended in the strange score of 6 to -1 in Keel’s favor. Overall, the defense stole the show during both the live portion and the low contact portion. The Eagle passing game was weak at best, but that may have been because of the heavy pressure on passing during the game.
Most importantly, Coach Fritz and his staff will be able to analyze the tape and be sure that the Eagles are prepared to kick off next football season against the West Virginia Mountaineers.