Georgia Southern's Late Rally Falls Short Versus Samford
STATESBORO, Ga. - Junior Laron Scott (Warner Robins, Ga.) eluded numerous Samford players on a 76-yard kickoff return, setting Georgia Southern up for a quick touchdown just under seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon. Samford, however, held off the late Eagle charge for a 20-13 win at Paulson Stadium, its third in the last three meetings between the two teams.
Scott's scamper, comprising nearly half of his kickoff return yards for the day, re-energized the Eagles, who had trailed Samford since the start of the second quarter. Georgia Southern needed only three plays and 28 seconds to get into the end zone with Nico Hickey (Columbus, Ga.) taking the option pitch left for 10 yards and a first down. Junior quarterback Jaybo Shaw (Flowery Branch, Ga.), who came into the game in the third quarter, took the next two plays -- the first for 11 yards and the second for the one-yard touchdown -- to pull the Eagles within one score.
Territory became even more important in the final minutes as Samford punted the ball back to Georgia Southern with four minutes left in the game, but the Bulldogs kept the Eagles from advancing past the GSU 26-yard line. Georgia Southern gave the ball back to Samford with the Eagle defense holding Samford to minus eight yards to regain possession with 1:13 left.
The comeback script was written on the sidelines, but the final plays did not add up to an Eagle score. Georgia Southern's record evened to 4-4 and 2-3 in the SoCon, identical to Samford's 4-4, 2-3 league mark.
After posting a combined three offensive yards in its first two drives of the game, Samford put together its longest scoring drive of the year, going 98 yards in 14 plays to cross the goal line. Cameron Yaw added the extra point and the Bulldogs took a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter. Yaw would close the first half with a 46-yard field goal after Samford gained possession on an Eagle fumble at the GSU 38. Dustin Taliaferro and Chris Evans could only move the ball 10 yards before Yaw came in to kick the field goal and give Samford a 13-6 advantage.
The Eagles punted after three unsuccessful drives in the third quarter while the Bulldogs salvaged a 31-yard field goal from Yaw after Evans ran for 37 of the Bulldogs' 45 yards in the drive. Shaw came in for the final Eagles drive of the quarter, spelling freshman quarterback Jerick McKinnon (Marietta, Ga.) who had taken every snap to that point.
Evans, who finished the game with his season-best 165 rushing yards, picked up 24 in the next drive for the Bulldogs. The Eagle defense kept fighting and had back-to-back tackles for loss to get the ball back on downs. Deep in Georgia Southern territory, the Eagles had only 73 seconds to score. A 15-yard pass to freshman Tray Butler (Stockbridge, Ga.) got GSU to the 40-yard line, but not past it, giving the ball back to Samford at the end of the game.
Georgia Southern began the scoring Saturday as McKinnon ran in for the one-yard touchdown. The Eagles had pushed downfield on their first scoring drive, racking up four first downs and moving the ball 69 yards in 12 plays. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but Georgia Southern had the 6-0 lead at the 8:07 mark of the first quarter.
Sophomore nose tackle Brent Russell (Comer, Ga.) and junior safety Derek Heyden (Atlanta, Ga.) both registered eight tackles on the night, each with a tackle for loss each. Junior defensive tackle Roderick Tinsley (Soperton, Ga.) posted his second straight game with two-and-a-half tackles for losses bringing his season total to seven in that category. Tinsley had six total tackles with senior E.J. Webb (Roanoke, Va.) recording seven.
Number-one Appalachian State visits Statesboro next Saturday, November 6th for a 2 p.m. tilt at Paulson Stadium.
NOTES: At halftime of the Samford game, Georgia Southern honored its Class of 2010 Athletics Hall of Fame which included Tara Chaisson (women's soccer), Pat Douglas (football), Greg Hill (football), Paul Johnson (football coach), Stacey Scheible (women's swimming), Jeff Shireman (baseball) and Britta Wilms (women's tennis)... Jerick McKinnon had both his first and second pass completions of his Georgia Southern career with Robert Brown the recipient of both... McKinnon passed on his first play from scrimmage in the first quarter, ending with a nine-yard catch by R. Brown... Laron Scott's 76-yard kickoff return was the longest of the season and Darreion Robinson's 29-yard punt return also ranked as the longest in 2010... Junior kicker Adrian Mora (Dalton, Ga.) continued his streak of career consecutive PATs made, now with 74... Mora also extended his streak of accounting for at least one point in every game in which he has played... Chris Evans' 165 yards were the most by an individual against the Eagles this year... Attendance: 15,341.
Georgia Southern vs. Samford
Samford 0 10 3 7 - 20
Georgia Southern 6 0 0 7 - 13
(Attendance: 15,431; Temp. 73; Stadium: Paulson Stadium)
Q Time Play Score
1 8:07 McKinnon 1yd run (Wilcox rush failed) 0-6
2 14:16 Evans 5yd run (Yaw kick) 7-6
00:06 Yaw 46yd FG 10-6
3 5:03 Yaw 31yd FG 13-6
4 6:53 Barnett 5yd run (Yaw kick) 20-6
6:09 Shaw 11yd run (Mora kick) 20-13
- Category: Football
- Published on Saturday, 30 October 2010 22:51