Eagles Shut Out UNC in Second Half but Lose
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Georgia Southern Football out-scored North Carolina in the second half but first half turnovers proved too costly to overcome in a 42-12 loss Saturday (Oct. 10) at Kenan Stadium. The Eagles drop to .500 at 3-3 overall while UNC (4-2) snapped a two-game losing streak.
In the first half, Georgia Southern committed four turnovers, two that directly led to a touchdown and another that resulted in a TD. However, the defense blanked the BCS member during the final 30 minutes holding the Tar Heels to 62 yards in the second half and 289 for the game.
"First of all I know the score didn't indicate it but our defense played outstanding. We gave up a 14-play drive and 12-play drive and that was kind of our game plan going in, to not give up the big play and make them work the ball down the field," said head coach Chris Hatcher. "They had some offensive struggles but they executed well. We missed a few tackles, and we were outmanned at a lot of positions. Other than that our defense shut them down the entire afternoon. We gave them a very short field on some of our turnovers, and it doesn't matter who you play, if you give up those types of turnovers you're not going to win the game."
The Eagles got a first down on the opening drive but was forced to punt. UNC took over on its own 11 and staged an 89-yard touchdown drive on 14 plays. Ryan Houston scored on a 1-yard run, the first TD by UNC on its opening possession this year, and the PAT was converted with 6:59 in the first quarter.
On the Eagles next drive Robert Quinn sacked Lee Chapple and forced a fumble which was recovered by UNC. Shaun Draughn took the ball on the very next play and scored from 16 yards out making it 14-0.
GS marched into Tar Heel territory again and this time found the endzone. Adam Urbano broke through the right side on a career-long 45-yard touchdown run. Adrian Mora's extra point cut the deficit in half with 3:03 remaining. The defense forced the home team to punt and the Eagles started gaining some momentum.
Facing 4th-and-1 from their own 39, Chapple was stopped at the line and bounced to the outside to gain the first down. Urbano gained another first down but on the play was stripped by Quan Sturdivant, and the junior linebacker returned it 49 yards for a touchdown. Casey Barth's extra point gave UNC a 21-7 lead with 8:29 left in the first half. More miscues led to UNC points.
Two plays later Chapple was intercepted by Zach Brown, giving the Tar Heels the ball on the Eagles' 22. Then just three plays later Houston scored from seven yards out with 6:29 left in the half. UNC was opportunistic again on defense during the next Eagle drive. Bruce Carter stepped in front of a Chapple pass at the GS 41 and raced into the endzone for a score. Right before halftime Houston set a career-high with a 1-yard touchdown run, his third rushing TD of the game to cap the 28-point quarter.
The 42 points allowed in the first half were the most in program history (surpassed 40 points scored by Texas State during second half of 2005 NCAA playoffs).
"Our goal was to win the game, but not doing that we wanted to win the second half. We did that," stated Hatcher.
In the third quarter Georgia Southern's defense forced a fumble of its own when Brent Russell sacked back-up quarterback A.J. Blue and recovered the loose ball. Two personal fouls along with runs by Urbano set up the Eagles 1st-and-goal. Mora kicked a 25-yard field goal with 9:01 left in the third.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Charlie Edwards launched a 40 yard punt which was downed on the 1-yard line. Blue tried running up the middle but Markeith Wylie and J.B. Shippy made the stop and Wylie was credited for the safety which would account for the final margin.
"I take a lot more positives out of the game. It doesn't feel good to get beat, but we knew we were up for a very tall task... Defensively we continued to play outstanding," said Hatcher. "Our offensive line pass pro(tected) pretty decent and we were able to run the ball a lot more effectively against those guys. They were the eighth-ranked defense in the country and their front seven is as good as I've ever seen, even in my days at Kentucky.
"We played hard for 60 minutes. But you don't turn the ball over, and it could have been a different game there at the end. I was real proud of our guys. We are not excited we got beat, but we were a lot better out there today than we were against Wofford last week," said Hatcher.
Urbano had set a career-high rushing total by halftime and finished with 93 yards on a career-high equaling 17 carries. His previous best was 83 yards last year at Western Carolina.
Chapple completed 14-of-27 passes but was held to 65 yards. Patrick Barker matched a season-high with five receptions totaling 35 yards. Edwards averaged 40 yards on eight punts, putting three inside the 20-yard line.
Dion DuBose recorded a game-high eight tackles. Laron Scott recorded his second interception of the year, moving back into a share of the team-lead, and added six tackles. Derek Heyden recorded all six of his tackles in the first quarter. Russell and J.B. Shippy recorded two sacks each.
T.J. Yates completed 14-of-20 passes for 118 yards. Draughn rushed for 81 yards on 14 carries. Houston gained 56 yards on 15 carries.
The Eagles return to Southern Conference play next Saturday (Oct. 17), and to Paulson Stadium for the first time in a month, when they play host to Chattanooga. Kickoff on Family Weekend is scheduled for 6 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Sophomore defensive back Hudson Presume made his first collegiate start... Sophomore offensive lineman William Maxwell made his first-ever start at guard. He started nine games last season at tackle... For the second straight game the Eagles won the toss and elected to receive. Darrell Pasco's 38-yard return was the longest against UNC this season... When Chapple was sacked in the first quarter and fumbled the play went under review and the ruling on the field was upheld... UNC's fumble return for a touchdown was the first by an opponent in 25 games. Chattanooga forced a Jayson Foster fumble and scored from 63 yards out in September 2007... The last time GS recorded a safety came at Paulson Stadium last year against Appalachian State (span of 10 games) when Larry Beard tackled Armanti Edwards in the endzone... UNC out-gained the Eagles 289-170... Russell DeMasi made his first collegiate appearance but threw an interception in his first pass attempt... True-freshman Willie Burden made two tackles. Sophomore linebacker Brent Gordon made two tackles after recording only one in the first five games... The Eagles recorded nine tackles for a loss for 38 yards.
- Category: Football
- Published on Saturday, 10 October 2009 21:39