Football Pulls Away in Second Half in Home Opener
STATESBORO, Ga. - The Georgia Southern Football team pulled away from Tusculum (1-1) in the second half, outscoring the Pioneers 38-7 to improve to 2-0 in front of a crowd of 21,812 at Paulson Stadium. Powered by four backs that tallied more than 50 yards each, the Eagles' offense rushed for 351 yards, while Jaybo Shaw (Flowery Branch, Ga.) completed six passes for 181 yards in the air to win 62-21. J.J. Wilcox (Cairo, Ga.) led the ground game with 97 yards and the air attack with 63 yards on two catches.
"The crowd was fantastic. I thought our fans were into it and were loud. You could hear them on kickoffs and those big plays," said Head Coach Jeff Monken. "There is a presence here that is so different than some of the other places we play. I still believe that we have the best fans in America. Our fans are terrific; they love good football and the Eagles."
GSU separated themselves from Tusculum in the second half after leading 24-14 at half. The Eagle defense shut out the Pioneers' offense, but a failed onside kick resulted in a 38-yard kickoff return touchdown for Matt Levine in the third quarter. Empowered by the second largest home-opening crowd in Paulson Stadium history, Georgia Southern jumped out to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Despite the crowd and the early deficit, Tusculum scored twice in the second quarter to pull within seven at 21-14, with just 26 seconds left in the half. GSU capitalized on a 55-yard kickoff return by Laron Scott (Warner Robins, Ga.), and Adrian Mora (Dalton, Ga.) drained a last second field goal to put the Eagles up by 10. Scott also broke the GSU career kick return mark on the return, passing Karl Miller whose 1,386 yards were the previous best.
"I thought Tusculum did a great job. They are well coached and have a dynamite quaterback. He is something special," said Monken.
The Eagles reeled off three-straight touchdowns out of the halftime gate. In all the team scored on all but two drives in the second half. One ended in a fumble, the other ended when the clock ran out to end the game. The second half allowed GSU to play some news guys, including Dominique Swope (Buford, Ga.), who rushed for 59 yards on five carries and a touchdown.
Bo Cordell put on a passing display, tallying 321 yards and two touchdowns on 35 completions. He was sacked six times but attempted 52 passes on the day. Cordell provided nearly all of Tusculum's 339 total yards of offense. The Eagles' defense forced four punts and two turnovers on downs to hold the Pioneer offense in check.
Saturday Georgia Southern honored Gene Bishop, the longtime benefactor who passed away in March. At halftime, Bishop's family was presented with a framed jersey as thanks for many years of giving to Georgia Southern. This season the Eagles are wearing special helmet stickers with the letters "GB" in memory of Gene.
Georgia Southern has the week off and will return to action on September 24th against Western Carolina at Paulson Stadium beginning at 6 p.m.
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- Category: Football
- Published on Sunday, 11 September 2011 00:04