Eagles Can't Overcome Terriers' First-Quarter Scores
STATESBORO, Ga. - A total of nine points had determined the last three wins between Wofford and Georgia Southern, but 14 Terrier points in the first quarter Saturday forced the Eagles to battle back the rest of the night. In the end, Georgia Southern (3-2, 1-1 SoCon) came within two points of Wofford (4-1, 2-0 SoCon), but the Terriers pulled out the 33-31 win.
"Losing is not good no matter how it happens, and it's disappointing," said Eagles Head Coach Jeff Monken. "We had a chance to finish. I give credit to Wofford, they had some good plays, they made more plays than we did, and they were well-coached. They fought, played hard and they did a great job."
Georgia Southern matched the Terriers point-for-point in the second half, seven points in the third, and 12 in the fourth, but couldn't hold onto a late lead, allowing Wofford to take the win. The Southern Conference offensive player of the week Eric Breitenstein scored both of his touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the second proved to be the eventual game-winner with 5:52 left in the game.
Wofford, with a 14-12 halftime lead, scored on its first possession of the second half using with three big plays - a 52-yard pass from Mitch Allen to Brenton Bersin capping the touchdown drive. A 21-yard pass play from Allen to Devin Reed and 22-yard rush by Breitenstein set the tone for the drive within the first minutes of the second half.
The Eagles brought the ball to midfield where junior punter Charlie Edwards (Tifton, Ga.) pinned the Terriers to their own one-yard line. Breitenstein took the call twice, then on the third attempt met E.J. Webb (Roanoke, Va.) who forced the fumble and then picked up the ball for another defensive score, Wofford 21, Georgia Southern 19. Mora's point after Webb's touchdown, his second on the night, allowed him to set the Georgia Southern record for career consecutive PATs. The two points after put him at a perfect 68-68 in his career. Reed Haley held the career record previously, hitting 67 consecutive PATs from 1992-94.
Even though Georgia Southern recovered the onside kick, the ball wound up back in Wofford's possession. The Terriers used 11 plays and 5:23 of clock in the scoring drive with Breitenstein scoring from two yards out. The point after attempt failed, putting the score at 27-19 Terriers early in the fourth quarter.
Georgia Southern responded and junior quarterback Jaybo Shaw (Flowery Branch, Ga.) hit junior slotback Nico Hickey (Columbus, Ga.) for his longest career reception, 40 yards, on third-and-11 to place the Eagles at the Wofford 23. Hickey picked up a yard on a run play and then J.J. Wilcox (Cairo, Ga.) cut right and headed into the end zone. The 22-yard run capped the five-play, 62-yard drive and put the Eagles at 25-27. The failed two-point conversion attempt left the Eagles down two.
The Eagle defense forced Wofford to three and out after the kickoff and on the first play of the Eagles' next series, Darreion Robinson (Bishop, Ga.) took the ball for a 78-yard touchdown gallop. Robinson had a career-best 116 yards on seven carries. A second two-point conversion attempt failed, but the Eagles had a 31-27 lead.
Wofford took a two-touchdown lead in the first quarter after the Terriers scored on their first drive of the game, anchored by Mike Rucker's 36-yard run into the end zone.
After the Eagles' drive stalled at the Wofford 42, the Terriers took advantage of the field position and marched 58 yards in seven plays to their second score. Rucker had two runs of 10-plus yards and Devin Reed's 21-yard reverse brought Wofford to the Georgia Southern 14-yard line. Johnson took it the final distance for the 14-yard rushing touchdown and Christian Reed added the point after, 14-0 Wofford.
The Eagles' put their first points on the board with a safety by freshman defensive lineman Josh Gebhardt (Douglasville, Ga.). Gebhardt tackled Wofford quarterback Mitch Allen on the pitch option right from the Wofford one-yard line. Wofford led after the first quarter 14-2.
Georgia Southern tacked a field goal onto its total as Adrian Mora (Dalton, Ga.) hit one from 36 yards out to put the Eagles within eight, 5-14.
After holding Wofford to three and out, the Eagles took over at their own 26 with just under four minutes left in the half. Darreion Robinson took the pitch to the left side three straight times for 21 yards to move the Eagles to midfield. At 4th-and-three, with the Eagles lined up in the punt formation, lineman-turned-running back Dion DuBose (Norcross, Ga.) took ball 12 yards for the Eagle first down.
Shaw hit Wilcox for a 28-yard pass to bring the Eagles to the two-yard line. On the quarterback keeper, Shaw picked up the Eagles' first touchdown to put the score 14-12 going into the half.
In addition to scoring eight points for the Eagles, the defense collectively had nine tackles for loss with Derek Heyden (Atlanta, Ga.) recording three and Webb two-and-a-half. Darius Eubanks (Harlem, Ga.) and Josh Rowe (Opelika, Ga.) shared the game-high tackles total with eight each. Heyden and John Douglas (Augusta, Ga.) had seven each and Webb finished the night with six total tackles.
- Category: Football
- Published on Saturday, 09 October 2010 22:03