Eagles defeat ULM to win outright Sun Belt Championship

Hayden Boudreaux

After a string of seven straight conference wins the Georgia Southern Eagles were facing off against the University of Louisiana-Monroe for the chance to be outright Sun Belt Conference Champions.

Excellent passing by ULM and a holding penalty on the Eagles allowed the Warhawks to take the ball down the field on their first drive to the 27 yard line before missing a 44 yard field goal. Sophomore Eagle quarterback Kevin Ellison and his offense took the ball to the ten yard line to set up a field goal from junior kicker Alex Hanks.

The Warhawks completed a first down pass but fumbled to give the Eagles possession on their own 29 yard line but they were forced to punt it away after moving to midfield. Once the Eagles regained possession sophomore quarterback Favian Upshaw broke off a career-long 46 yard run to the Warhawk 29 yard line. After a failed fourth down conversion the Eagles were forced to give up the ball again, this time only 23 yards away from scoring.

Upon receiving the ball ULM quarterback Pete Thomas threw a 62 yard touchdown pass to put his team out in front of the Eagles, 7-3.  On the ensuing Eagle drive Ellison threw up a 46 yard pass to redshirt freshman running back L.A. Ramsby but missed the 29 yard field goal attempt.

The Eagles opened the half by driving to midfield on the legs of Ellison and were forced to punt. Once the Eagles forced another punt their offense got moving. Ellison evaded three tacklers and hurdled a defender to pick up 23 yards. He then threw a 36 yard pass to Kentrellis Showers and followed it up with a ten yard touchdown run. A missed extra point left the Eagles on top 9-7.

After the score the Warhawks answered back fast. They picked up a few first downs and launched a 36 yard pass into the endzone to pull ahead once again. A failed two point conversion gave them a 13-9 lead.

On their next possession Ellison sacrificed his body on two pass plays and had to be helped off the field. Senior Ezayi Youyoute checked into the game and busted an 18 yard run and later ran the ball down the one yard line to set up a touchdown dive by sophomore running back Matt Brieda. Another missed extra point made it 15-13 Eagles.

Youyoute came out strong on the next drive and ripped of a 59 yard run to set up Ramsby with a one yard dive into the endzone. The Eagles moved on top 22-13 after the extra point. The Warhawks worked their way down the field and nailed a 47 yard field goal to bring it to a one score game. The Eagles were forced to punt and the Warhawks began their final drive. A 40 yard pass moved them up to the Eagles’ 41 yard line. Another pass on fourth down moved them to the 24 yard line. With :03 on the clock the Warhawks threw a pass to the endzone that hit the ground as the Eagles won the outright Sun Belt Championship.