Eagles win 28-6 in Mobile

Hayden Boudreaux

History was made on Saturday as the Georgia Southern football team, led by Head Coach Willie Fritz, won its first Sun Belt Conference game. The Eagles, playing on the road, put down the University of South Alabama 28-6.

After the tight loss to Georgia Tech two weeks ago, the Eagles moved from being the underdogs against South Alabama to being solid contenders.

First Quarter

After winning the toss, they elected to have sophomore kicker Younghoe Koo kick off to the Jaguars. Senior Jaguar quarterback Brandon Bridge started testing the Eagle defense early with a 14 yard pass, but after failing to convert on third down the Eagles got the ball back on their own 15 yard line.

The Eagle’s first drive consisted of sophomore running back Matthew Brieda taking three carries for 22 yards and ended with a punt. The preliminary drives set the tone for most of the game. South Alabama drove down to Georgia Southern territory two consecutive times before penalties, dropped passes and solid defense limited them to punts each time.

With time winding down in the first quarter, Brieda took his sixth handoff of the game, running around the left side and split two Jaguar defenders with blazing speed for a 64 yard touchdown. This was the third 60+ yard score for Brieda on the season, with all of them coming in the first quarter. The quarter would end with the Eagles on top 7-0 and Brieda with 103 rushing yards.

Second Quarter

After another failed Jaguar drive the Eagles took over at their own 15 again. After a few short runs, sophomore quarterback Kevil Ellison launched a pass over to junior receiver BJ Johnson for a 48 yard pick up. After a 16 yard run from Brieda put the Eagles near the goal line, redshirt freshman running back L.A. Ramsby capped off the drive with a one yard touchdown dive.

Both teams traded possessions again and South Alabama took over at their own 34. Bridge took the Jaguars down the field with a mixture of runs and passes from their shotgun-multiple offense. On the 28 yard line, Bridge fired a pass to his receiver Shavarez Smith for their first score of the night but their kicker failed to knock down the PAT, making the score 14-6 Eagles.

Third Quarter

Both teams came out of halftime flat, each going for a quick three and out. When the Eagles got the ball back they converted two third and long sitautions featuring the arm of Ellison on the first and a 38 yard run from him on the second third down. The drive ended with a one yard touchdown dive from Matthew Brieda, giving him his seventh rushing touchdown on the season.

South Alabama took back the momentum with a 65 yard drive into the red zone. After a few unsuccessful shots at the end zone the Jaguars were faced with 4th and goal from the nine yard line. Sophomore Eagle defensive end Bernard Dawson chased down Bridge in the backfield and pulled him down for a 15 yard loss.

Fourth Quarter

Fourth quarter blues have haunted the Georgia Southern football team in two of their three previous games, and this game proved that late game play from the offense could be a problem moving forward.

The first play of the fourth quarter Ellison dropped back and threw his first interception of the season and gave the ball to the Jaguars at midfield. After two dropped passes and an illegal blocking penalty the Eagles kept their lead.

After a long march down the field junior kicker Alex Hanks missed a 40 yard field goal attempt, giving the ball back to South Alabama. This time the defense rose to the occasion and sophomore safety Robert Brice intercepted a Jaguar pass 28 yards from the end zone.

On third and 10 from the same spot Ellison was sacked and fumbled the ball, South Alabama came up with it and once again had an opportunity to swing back the momentum. Their march down the field was halted when senior linebacker Edwin Jackson pulled down an interception and with some impressive blocking and running brought the ball to the 12 yard line.

The Eagles gave their fans one more scare by fumbling the ball at the four yard line but Ellison managed to fall on the loose ball. Ellison took the ball into the end zone on the next play for the final score of the evening, 28-6 Eagles.

The win over the Jaguars has sparked even more excitement in Eagle Nation as the anticipation rises for the Thursday matchup this week against rival Appalachian State (1-2). The game is set to kickoff at Paulson Stadium and broadcast on ESPNU at 7:30 p.m.