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Eagles send Bulldogs to the pound

Citadel hands it over nine times, falls 20-0

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Eagles send Bulldogs to the pound

The Citadel running back Tarrell Dallas gets surrounded by Georgia Southern defenders and fumbles Saturday in Charleston, S.C. The Citadel committed seven fumbles, lost six and threw three intercptions.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — For the first time since 1973, The Citadel didn’t allow its opponent to complete a pass. Plus, Georgia Southern lost its starting quarterback to a hip injury on the second play of the game.

Of course, the Bulldogs also committed nine turnovers, so that made things a little bit easier for the Eagles, who cruised to a 20-0 win Saturday afternoon at Johnson Hagood Stadium.

The Citadel (2-6, 0-5 Southern Conference) had only 69 yards at halftime, compared to GSU’s 223, but it was a two-score game at halftime despite GSU winning the turnover battle 5-1 during the first two quarters.

The Citadel fumbled its first drive away putting the Eagles in position for a 26-yard field goal by Adria Mora. Starting quarterback Jaybo Shaw was hurt on the second offensive play of the game during the opening drive, opening the door for McKinnon.

"Jaybo could have come back in," said GSU coach Jeff Monken. "We just felt like if we could keep Jerick going and keep playing him, it would be better to rest Jaybo. I’m glad we were able to [play McKinnon] and still be able to win."

Still, it wasn’t pretty. After McKinnon’s 182 yards, the rest of the team combined for 34 carries for 94 yards. The Eagles also didn’t complete a pass.

"There is no such thing as a bad win. Every win is a good win," Monken said. "I don’t care how ugly or how dry it may look. I was standing out there kind of like, ‘Goodness gracious.’ We couldn’t run the ball, they couldn’t run the ball, and it was probably pretty boring to stand up there and watch. But when you win, it doesn’t matter."

Although the Bulldogs turned it over four times in the first half and the Eagles held on to the football, GSU managed only one second-half score. McKinnon scored his second-career touchdown from three yards out in the third quarter for the final margin.

On the first play of the second Bulldog drive, quarterback Matt Thompson passed 18 yards to Domonic Jones, who proceeded to lose the ball into the hands of Georgia Southern’s Michael Butler. Butler was one of three defensive Eagles who got his first-career start.

McKinnon credits the defense for the field position that set up the Eagles’s scores.

"What was it? Nine turnovers? We had a couple interceptions and fumble recoveries, and it was about the best game they’ve had all years, pretty much. They gave us as many opportunities as we could have."

The third GSU drive went 10 plays for 45 yards, and was capped off with a three-yard Robert Brown touchdown and a 10-0 GSU lead. Brown (20 carries, 63 yards) started for the first time since a September 18 injury at Coastal Carolina.

All it took was three more plays for GSU to get the ball back again. Citadel quarterback Matt Thompson fumbled the exchange, and Michael Spaulding — who started at middle linebacker in place of Josh Rowe — recovered the blunder.

That one resulted in a 26 yarder by Mora. The kick was the 10th in a row for Mora, who hadn’t missed since November 21, 2009 against The Citadel.

On the next Georgia Southern drive, he missed for the first time in 2010 from 26 yards out. His 35 carries broke the previous record of 34 held by Adrian Peterson (2001) and Charles Bostick (1991).

McKinnon scored his second-career touchdown in the third quarter for the final margin. He got his 35th carry late in the fourth quarter before the Eagles were able to kneel out the clock.

McKinnon said he felt "a little tired" after his record-setting afternoon, and wasn’t planning on that many carries.

"We ran our offense, and the reads allowed me to keep the ball," said the true freshman. "I’m very thankful to get the chance to get the opportunity."

The Eagles (4-3, 2-2) return to action at home Saturday against Samford at 2 p.m.


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

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