Eagles Drop SoCon Game at Elon
ELON, N.C. - Georgia Southern's defense kept Elon to a second half field goal but the offense could not capitalize on two drives late in the game as the Eagles dropped a 28-14 decision Saturday afternoon. GS slipped to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the SoCon on a day that saw a steady rain at Rhodes Stadium.
In the first half, Georgia Southern managed one first down and was out-gained 357-22 in total offense. Elon also got to Lee Chapple for five sacks in the first half. When Adam Schreiner hit a 26-yard field goal early in the third quarter the Eagles found themselves down 26-7.
The Eagles' offense used both the running and passing games to score their first touchdown. Adam Urbano rushed for a third down conversion and Chapple hit Jamere Valentine in Elon territory on third down. Chapple found Patrick Barker on an 8-yard touchdown pass, his first collegiate touchdown reception. Adrian Mora's extra point capped the nine-play, 73-yard drive making it 26-14 midway through the third.
On the first play of the fourth quarter Scott Riddle launched a punt that landed on the Eagles' one. As the Eagles faced 1st-and-10, Urbano was stopped in the endzone by Jordan Daniel for a safety, making it 28-14.
Once again the Georgia Southern defense stepped up and forced a turnover. The Eagles forced Riddle to throw the first interception of this season, and first since the next-to-last game of the 2008 season. Tavaris Williams got a tip on the ball and Brent Russell recorded his first interception, returning it three yards before getting forced out of bounds on the Elon 16. Urbano picked up a first down on 4th-and-1 from the seven. However, on the next play Karlos Sullivan stepped in front of Chapple's pass in the endzone for an interception.
During Elon's next drive, Terrione Benefield forced a fumble after Terrell Hudgins caught a Riddle pass and gained 17 yards. Markeith Wylie recovered the fumble on Elon's 36. Facing 3rd-and-20, Chapple hit Darreion Robinson for 10 yards, but on fourth down Joshua Jones picked off Chapple sealing the Phoenix win.
"I thought the second half we played a lot better, with a lot more intensity. Elon has a good football team. You listen to our guys and they are hard on themselves, they want to win. I think we do have a good team," said head coach Chris Hatcher. "I think we are very close to being a really good football team, a Southern Conference contender. I really do. I think we have the pieces there to do that but we didn't play like that for four full quarters today.
"The first half we gave up a couple big plays and a drive late in the half we did a poor job of tackling. Then after that our defense settled in and played a whale of a game. We only gave up three points from that point," stated Hatcher. "We fought hard, we thought we were in the game right to the end. Our defense was very opportunistic in the second half and made some plays that were big for our football team."
During Elon's (3-1, 1-0) opening drive of the game, Riddle found Hudgins for 46 yards down to the GS 19. On the next play Riddle kept the ball and scored just 69 seconds into the game, capping the five play drive.
On the first play of the second quarter, Riddle found Lance Camp for 53 yards as Darrell Pasco made a touchdown-saving tackle on the 12. Two plays later, Williams laid a hit on A.J. Harris then Pasco scooped up the loose ball and raced 85 yards for a touchdown. It was the first collegiate touchdown for the senior defensive back.
Elon responded with an Adam Schreiner 41-yard field goal. Later in the quarter Riddle found Sean Jeffcoat for a 52-yard gain and capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Berry. Russell blocked his second extra point attempt of the year, keeping it a 16-7 game with five minutes left in the second quarter.
Harris redeemed himself on the fumble by scoring a 28-yard touchdown and the extra point made it a 23-7 game with 1:41 left in the half.
K.R. Snipes recorded a career-high 10 tackles for the Eagles. Dion DuBose added nine stops. Russell finished with a career-high nine tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, one interception and a blocked kick.
Pasco matched a career-high seven tackles to go with his fumble return for a touchdown. However, miscues proved too costly to overcome.
"We had 11 penalties and three turnovers, you can't win in this conference making that many mistakes. We are still right in the thick of things... Two years ago we got beat by Elon in double-overtime and low and behold we find ourselves in the last conference game of the season we are three inches on a missed field goal away from winning the conference championship and receiving the automatic berth so anything can happen. If we continue to get that kind of effort from our defense our offense is going to come. The thing I'm most proud about as a coach is we never gave up. We played hard every single snap all the way to the end of the game," said Hatcher.
Chapple finished 18-of-35 for 122 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions. Barker recorded season-highs of five receptions for 48 yards. Robinson also caught five passes. Urbano rushed for a game-high 73 yards on 14 attempts.
Riddle completed 25-of-41 passes for 338 yards (273 in the first half) and one touchdown. The junior quarterback became the Southern Conference all-time leader in pass completions. Hudgins caught 12 passes for 138 yards.
Jones recorded 11 tackles and an interception. Brandon Wiggins made eight tackles.
The Eagles travel to Wofford next Saturday (Oct. 3). Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Sophomore Hudson Presume stepped in as a pre-game captain, the first time in his career... True-freshman linebacker Josh Rowe made his first collegiate start... Barker, a true-freshman wide receiver, and junior running back Brandon Nolley earned their first start as an Eagle... Charlie Edwards launched a punt 41 yards midway through the first quarter that was caught by Pasco on the 1-yard line. Later in the quarter he launched a 51-yard punt. Edwards was called on to punt four times in the first quarter and averaged 44.8 yards per punt... Pasco's fumble return for a touchdown marked the second-longest return in program history. Rodney Oglesby set the record with a 97-yard return in the 1990 season-opener against Valdosta State... That was the first safety allowed by the Eagles since the triple-overtime win at The Citadel last year, a span of six games... Mora's program-record streak of 11 consecutive games hitting a field goal came to an end. He did not attempt a field goal but was perfect on both extra point attempts.
- Category: Football
- Published on Saturday, 26 September 2009 19:37