Eagles Win at Wofford 26-21
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Lee Chapple turned in one of the best passing performances in program history to help lead a balanced offensive attack while the Georgia Southern defense recovered a fumble in the final minute as the Eagles captured a 26-21 win at Wofford. The Eagles improved to 3-2 overall and 2-1 in the Southern Conference.
Chapple was successful on his first 17 pass attempts, tying for the second-longest streak in Southern Conference history, and finished 25-of-28 in the game. However, it was the defense recovering a key fumble with 70 seconds left that secured the Eagles' first road win this year.
Facing 4th-and-2 from its own 45, GS sent on the punt team. A muffed snap and kick off the side of Charlie Edwards' foot resulted in a 3-yard punt and Wofford (1-4, 0-2) returned it to the GS 42. Michael Scott rushed for seven yards but a holding call on the next play made it 2nd-and-7 from the 39. Mitch Allen attempted a pitch wide left, but the ball went behind the runner and Tavaris Williams recovered the loose ball. The Eagles were able to take a knee to run out the clock.
Georgia Southern took the opening kickoff and wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Jamere Valentine took a reverse on the second play and raced 41 yards down the right sidelines. Chapple hit Valentine on a screen and the freshman wideout took advantage of the blocking for a 14-yard touchdown. Adrian Mora's extra point gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
Wofford took over at midfield and was facing a 4th-and-1 from the GS 22 but was flagged for offsides. Opponents were 4-of-6 on the year against the Eagles on fourth down, however, the defense forced an incomplete pass and the offense took over on downs.
Mike Rucker broke loose for a 65-yard run on the first play of the second quarter, brought down on a touchdown-saving tackle by Laron Scott. Allen found Justice Joslin on a 9-yard touchdown pass to tie the game with 13:49 left in the half.
On the ensuing drive, the Eagles drove into Wofford territory. Mora converted from 48 yards out, a career-long field goal completion, putting the Eagles ahead 10-7.
Wofford converted a 4th-and-1 from the Eagles' two by the nose of the football. Three plays later, Allen broke a tackle and scored a 3-yard touchdown for a 14-10 lead which would be the halftime score.
The GS defense held Wofford to a 3-and-out to start the second half. Chapple marched the Eagles down the field and capped off the drive with a Darreion Robinson 24-yard touchdown run and 17-14 advantage. It was the freshman's first collegiate touchdown on his longest run of the season.
Once again the defense came up big on fourth down, stopping Allen a yard short on the GS 30. On Chapple's first pass attempt of the drive, Robinson dropped the pass ending the sophomore quarterback's streak at 17. That tied Stanley Myers of The Citadel (Oct. 17, 1998) for the second-longest streak in SoCon history.
Later in the drive Mora improved on his career-long, hitting from 50 yards out. The longest field goal by an Eagle since 2007 put the Eagles ahead 20-14. His second field goal also matched a career-high in a game.
On Wofford's next drive, Allen scrambled on third down but his errant pass attempt was intercepted by Darrell Pasco who returned it to the Wofford 23. Three plays later Adam Urbano punched it in from three yards out. A bad snap led to a failed two-point conversion, making it 26-14 with 4:14 left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth Wofford faced 4th-and-inches from the GS 37. The defense made a stop on the pitch attempt but was flagged for offsides. Later that drive Allen hit Brenton Bersin on a 21-yard touchdown pass making it 26-21 with 10:47 remaining.
The defense allowed only one first down the rest of the game securing the win.
"Today's win puts us right back in the (SoCon) race. I've said all year the way this conference is going you've just got to hang in there until the end and have yourself a chance to win that last conference game for the championship. We (continued to) put ourselves in (that) position, and I'm real proud of our guys," said head coach Chris Hatcher.
Chapple threw for 187 yards and had the one touchdown with no interceptions, the first time this year not throwing a pick on the road. Robinson rushed for a season-high 78 yards while Urbano tallied 56 rushing yards, both carrying the ball 13 times.
Mitchell Williford turned in season-highs of seven receptions for 64 yards. Valentine caught six passes for 50 yards while Urbano also hauled in six receptions.
Senior Terrione Benefield made a game- and season-high 10 tackles, including two for a loss. Freshman Darius Eubanks finished with a season-high nine stops and forced a fumble. Derek Heyden added eight tackles, including one for a loss. Pasco recorded his team-leading second interception of the season.
Rucker gained 95 yards on the ground to lead the Terriers. Scott added 59 yards on the ground. Allen rushed for 28 net yards while completing 4-of-9 passes for 83 yards.
The Eagles step out of SoCon play next weekend (Oct. 10), traveling to ACC member North Carolina. Kickoff in Chapel Hill is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Redshirt-freshman center Blake DeBartola and sophomore tackle Brandavious Mann both made their first collegiate start... The Eagles' opening touchdown marked the first time this season they not only scored a TD on the opening drive, but also in the first quarter... Chapple completed the first quarter 10-of-10 passing for 66 yards and was 14-of-14 for 95 yards... Mora's 50- and 48-yard field goals were the second- and third-longest attempts of this season (missed from 51 yards at South Dakota State). He has now completed a field goal in all 12 games he has been called upon to attempt one... For the fourth time this season, GS went into the locker room down at the half. The Eagles out-gained Wofford in total yardage 184-182 in the first half and 335-317 overall... Georgia Southern entered the game with only one rushing touchdown all year... Chapple moved into third place among the GS season 'Top 10' for pass completions (124) and fifth in pass attempts (184). The sophomore QB also moved into fourth place among the GS career leaders in pass completions (202)... The Eagles won for the second straight time in Gibbs Stadium and now lead the all-time series 9-6... The win also marked the first time this year Georgia Southern did not turn the ball over.
- Category: Football
- Published on Saturday, 03 October 2009 18:04