Georgia Southern Opens 2010 Season With 48-3 Win Over Savannah State
STATESBORO, Ga. - Georgia Southern (1-0) recorded six rushing touchdowns by six different Eagles en route to a 48-3 win over Savannah State (0-1) at Paulson Stadium Saturday (Sept. 4) night. The return of the option provided 431 rushing yards while the defense held Savannah State scoreless and to 23 yards of total offense in the first half.
Freshman Robert Brown (Macon, Ga.) became the first freshman since Adrian Peterson in 1998, and the first true freshman since Joe Ross in 1987, to rush for more than 100 yards in his first game. Brown finished the night early with 122 yards and the Eagles' first touchdown of 2010 on his 20 carries. Junior transfer Jaybo Shaw (Flowery Branch, Ga.) led an efficient attack, distributing the ball to five Georgia Southern backs and seven receivers. Shaw finished with 62 yards rushing, a career-best, with a one-yard touchdown. He was 7-10 for 109 yards passing.
Georgia Southern scored on its first five series as Junior Adrian Mora (Dalton, Ga.) put the Eagles on the board midway through the first quarter with a 39-yard field goal on Georgia Southern's first drive. After the Tigers went three-and-out, the Eagles took the ball 31 yards on six plays, converting on a third-and-two to set up Brown's two-yard touchdown run.
"I'm excited for our team and glad for our guys to get a win," said Eagle first-year Coach Jeff Monken. "We've worked our kids hard, we've pushed them and really demanded alot out of them. I'm so pleased to get a win just to get the season going. I'm glad we won the game that's for sure and I'm going to enjoy it."
In the second quarter, Nico Hickey (Columbus, Ga.) ran for seven yards to pick up the first down at the Savannah State 28 and then charged ahead another six. At third-and-nine, Shaw and Hickey connected for an 11-yard play to put Georgia Southern at first-and-goal. Four plays later, Shaw crossed the goal line for his first touchdown as an Eagle to put the score at 17-0.
After holding the Tigers to another three-and-out series, the GSU offense returned to the field and marched 36 yards for another score. Shaw moved the Eagles from the Savannah State 11-yard line and converted on third and fourth down to keep the drive alive. Shaw handed off to Lamar Brown for a six-yard touchdown and put the Eagles up 24-0.
Georgia Southern closed out the first half with 34-yard Mora field goal for a 27-0 score at the break.
Early in the third quarter, Savannah State took advantage of a Georgia Southern fumble, recovering the ball at the GSU 46. Tiger quarterback A.J. Defilippis keyed the series, picking up a first down and then set up Justin Baab for a 15-yard rush followed by a three-yard Baab run. After two incomplete passes, the Tigers settled on a Derek Williams 31-yard field goal and their first and only scoring of the game, 27-3, Georgia Southern.
The Eagles responded with their longest touchdown run on the shortest drive of the game. Sophomore J.J. Wilcox (Cairo, Ga.) ran down the right sideline, getting his foot inbounds to score a 26-yard touchdown, his first career score, with 10 minutes left in the third quarter. The drive was the longest on the day to that point, 80 yards, and took only 2:22 off the clock.
Freshmen quarterbacks Jerick McKinnon (Marietta, Ga.) and Ezayi Youyoute (Wauchula, Fla.) got into the mix in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, with McKinnon recording his first career touchdown off a 20-yard run at 10:44 of the fourth quarter. On the next series, McKinnon handed off to Tobi Akinnirayne (Atlanta, Ga.) for his two-yard touchdown and the final Eagle score.
Sophomore Brent Russell (Comer, Ga.), shared a team-best five tackles with sophomore Kyle Oehlbeck (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Russell tied his career-best with two sacks in the first quarter and had half of the Eagles' four total. Darius Eubanks and Carson Hill each had four tackles with Hill, freshman Josh Gebhardt (Douglasville, Ga.), junior Dion DuBose (Norcross, Ga.) adding three tackles each. Gebhardt and Josh Rowe (Opelika, Ala.) each had a sack and the Eagles' totaled 10 tackles for loss on the night.
Junior transfer placekicker Billy Greer (Crosby, Texas) launched his first three kickoffs 70 yards, putting Savannah State at its own goal line for start of two of its first three drives. Greer averaged 63.0 yards on nine kickoffs.
"There are alot of kids playing for the very first time in college and we have a lot of new coaches here at Georgia Southern, and right before kickoff I did kind of look around," Monken said about his first game as head coach. "(Women's Basketball Coach) Rusty Cram told me yesterday, he said, 'just take five seconds and just enjoy it because you only get one first game.' So I remembered what he said, and after the guys ran out through the band, I just stopped. It was great. It's certainly very humbling to have had coaches like Erk Russell and Paul Johnson and their successes and walk the sidelines here as the head coach. That was my five seconds to just enjoy it and then I went back to doing my job."
NOTES: The 48-point total by the Eagles Saturday was the highest point total scored by a new head coach in his first game... the previous best was 45 points as Paul Johnson posted a 45-26 win vs. Valdosta State August 30, 1997 in his first game as head coach... Savannah State netted 53 yards and two first downs in its first four plays, then was backed up 30 yards in the next 17 plays and held without a first down for the remainder of the half... the six rushing touchdowns were the most by the Eagles since a Oct. 29, 2005, 55-42 win over South Dakota State when eight were scored (4 by Jermaine Austin, 3 by Jayson Foster, 1 by Andrews).
- Category: Football
- Published on Saturday, 04 September 2010 21:28