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GSU looking good after opening win

GSU looking good after opening win

GSU looking good after opening win

Georgia Southern quarterback Jaybo Sh...

            Six different Georgia Southern Eagles scored their first-career rushing touchdown in Saturday’s 48-3 win over Savannah State, and 11 different players carried the football.

            That equaled the amount of players who got a carry during the entire 2009 season.

            “It builds up our confidence pretty good,” said sophomore wide receiver turned slotback J.J. Wilcox. “It’s showing that our hard work in practice is finally paying off. Spring practice and all of summer, coach (Jeff) Monken and all the coaches were pushing us. It’s finally paying off, and it gave us a little boost heading up into Maryland.”

            For Monken, it’s just another product of the triple-option offense.

            “They might have been surprised that it got spread around that much, but I don’t know, I guess I didn’t pay much attention to whose first touchdown it was,” Monken said. “We’re just running our offense, and whoever happens to get it, gets it. We just call in those plays for whoever happens to be in there.”


Spot on

            Before Saturday’s game, Auburn transfer John Douglas, a defensive end, guessed that the Eagles’ defense may take a few plays to catch up to game speed after facing the scout team for the weeks leading up to the game.

            He was right.

            The Tigers racked up 53 rushing yards before punting away their first drive. They finished the first quarter with just 32 yards, and were down to 23 by halftime.
            “They busted a few in the beginning and it took us a while to get our composure and focus on our assignments, get the speed down,” said Douglas. “Once we got the speed down, we were alright.”


QB depth

            After Jaybo Shaw left the game early in the fourth quarter finishing with 109 passing yards and 65 rushing, true freshmen quarterbacks Jerick McKinnon and Ezayi Youyoute each got a chance to take the field for the first time.

            Youyoute carried the ball twice for 32 yards, and McKinnon got three carries for 47 yards and his first-career touchdown

            “I was just waiting for my call,” McKinnon said, “I said on the sideline I was going to do the best that I could when I went in. The first team did a good job and me and the other guys were able to get some opportunities.”

            For McKinnon, all his success was because of his blockers.

            “In the triple option, everybody has to rely on each other,” he said. “That’s how the gaps open. On and off the field, we’re there for each other. When things happen on Saturday, we all pat each other on the back.”


Not good enough

            A 48-3 win was a good confidence builder for the Eagles, but for Monken, there’s a long way to go to get where they need to be.

            “We had a lot of missed assignments and a lot of loafs where we weren’t playing hard enough from snap to whistle,” said Monken. “You’re not going to consistently win, you won’t have a chance to win when you make as many mistakes as we did. We didn’t play hard enough. We need to play harder than we did.”


Player of the Week

            One spot where there were no complaints was place kicker.

            Junior Adrian Mora was awarded Southern Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after connecting on 5-of-5 extra points and a pair of field goals.

            More is now 55-of-55 on extra points for his career.

            The rest of the special teams, of course, still have a long way to go.

            “We didn’t light the world on fire,” Monken said. “We had the chance to block some punts and we didn’t get there. We made all the kicks on extra points and field goals and that was a positive. Adrian did a nice job and I thought Billy (Greer) had some nice kickoffs. We kicked a couple short and that’s an area we need to improve on. We can’t kick that thing short or it will come right back at us.

            “I thought we were about dead average. We can play better on special teams, and we’re going to have to.”


The next one

            Navy will have a chip on its shoulder after suffering a 17-14 defeat Monday to the Maryland Terps.

            They may be in a higher level of college football, but the Eagles aren’t thinking about that.

            “They put their pads on the same way we do,” said Wilcox. “We’re expecting to go up their and work hard. We expect good things to come out of that.”

            Kickoff against Navy is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Annapolis, Md.


Bryant out

Sophomore slotback Johnathan Bryant (Cairo, Ga.) is expected to miss 8-10 weeks after fracturing his left fibula in Saturday’s game versus Savannah State. The injury requires surgery and medical personnel will continuously evaluate his process.


            Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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