Eagles Run Over Coastal Carolina
Foster’s six TDs were one shy of the NCAA record set on two occasions. But that was only the beginning of his record-setting performance. The senior quarterback again joined elite company in the Georgia Southern record book, matching Adrian Peterson as the only Eagle to record consecutive 200-yard rushing efforts, but Foster did so in the first two games of a season. AP accomplished the feat midway through the 1998 season against The Citadel (231 yards) and East Tennessee State (209).
Foster rushed for a then career-high 231 yards last week in the win over West Georgia, but improved on that mark with 253 on 28 carries against the Chanticleers (1-2).
Lamar Lewis recorded another career-high effort against Coastal, 206 yards on 18 carries. His previous high came in last year’s win over CCU at Paulson Stadium.
“This was a big win for our football team. We made one more big play than they did,” said head coach Chris Hatcher. “We came out and showed that we could throw the ball, which helped open up the running game... We just keep finding a way to win; it’s big to come out of here with a win as we start a three-game stretch at home.
“Foster has the knack of making a big play when we need one. But also give credit to the offensive line and our running backs ran the ball well too. I thought our wide receivers did a good job tonight too,” said Hatcher.
Coastal cut the Eagles’ lead to eight late in the game, thanks to Mike Tolbert’s third rushing TD of the game. GS recovered the kickoff with 4:27 left. Two key third down conversions kept the drive alive. Facing 3rd-and-3 on their 25, Foster gained five yards to move the chain. But the biggest play of the game was when the Eagles faced 3rd-and-9 from the 31.
Foster found Michael McIntosh, and the junior wide receiver made a diving catch for 11 yards to move the chains and end any hopes of Coastal’s comeback.
Georgia Southern struck first, needing five plays to cover 50 yards. On a quarterback keeper Foster broke through the left side, shaking off tacklers on the final five yards, to score a 31-yard touchdown. Jesse Hartley’s extra point made it 7-0. However, the Chanticleers quickly tied the score.
On the first play during Coastal’s ensuing drive, Jamie Fordham registered a career-long 61-yard run to tie the score.
But Foster showed why he’s one of the most dynamic players in all of Division I. On another keeper, Foster was facing a Chanticleer defender 1-on-1. He easily out-maneuvered the defender and scored from 36 yards out. Hartley’s extra point gave the Eagles a 14-7 lead.
In just one quarter Foster accumulated 106 yards rushing on nine carries, his 13th career 100-yard rushing and 15th career multi-touchdown game.
Early in the second quarter Foster’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Keon Cunningham, who returned it down to the Eagles’ five. Two plays later Tolbert broke away from two tacklers and scored from six yards out, tying the score at 14-all with 11:43 remaining in the first half.
Foster made yet another impressive run, this time a 55-yarder for his third score of the game. The point after gave the Eagles a 21-14 lead with 6:30 left.
The Eagles came up with two turnovers from that point but came away empty, narrowly missing on two field goal attempts. Brandon Echols recovered a muffed punt attempt by Ben Erdman, giving the Eagles possession on Coastal’s 22 but Hartley missed from 39 yards out. Chris Covington intercepted Will Richardson’s pass and returned it 45 yards down to the Chanticleers’ 15. A 3-and-out left the Eagles with a 32-yard FG attempt that missed just left, but the Eagles still took a touchdown lead into the locker room.
Richardson, who picked up a key first down on 4th-and-8 by rushing for 19 yards, scored from a yard out. Justin Durham’s extra point tied the game with 3:51 left in the third quarter. That also marked the first time Georgia Southern’s defense allowed points in the second half.
Foster’s then career-high fourth rushing TD put the Eagles ahead early in the fourth quarter, an 18-yard run up the middle for a 28-21 lead. Covington kept the drive alive by converting a fake punt, gaining four yards down to the CCU 29.
Coastal took the kickoff and marched 70 yards in 11 plays, capped by Tolbert bouncing off the pile and crossing the goal line before fumbling on 4th-and-goal from the one. However, Durham missed the extra point wide left and the Eagles still held onto a 28-27 lead. But two touchdowns by Foster within 42 seconds midway through the fourth quarter sealed the win.
Foster completed 6-of-15 passes for 58 yards, but threw two interceptions the first time in his career throwing two picks. But the ground game piled up 512 yards and 570 yards of total offense.
Dedrick Bynam also recorded his first interception of the year. Carson Hill paced the defense with five tackles.
Fordham gained 96 yards while Tolbert added 74 as Coastal gained 205 on the ground. Richardson completed 15-of-32 passes for 165 yards. The Eagles defense held preseason All-America wide receiver Jerome Simpson to just three receptions for 49 yards, after he torched GS for a Paulson Stadium record 207 receiving yards last year.
The Eagles open Southern Conference play next Saturday (Sept. 22) at Paulson Stadium against Chattanooga. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be televised live on Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast.
- Category: Football
- Published on Saturday, 15 September 2007 00:12