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App can't handle "Our House"

Eagles topple No. 1 Mountaineers in OT

App can't handle

App can't handle "Our House"

Georgia Southern cornerback Laron Sco...


All Georgia Southern had to do to stay alive in the playoff race was beat the unbeaten, No. 1 ranked team in the country, which also happens to be the Eagles’ biggest rival.

Check.

It took overtime, but GSU made the plays when it had to and came away with a 21-14 homecoming win over Appalachian State Saturday at Paulson Stadium.

"That’s a big win," said first-year Eagles’ coach Jeff Monken. "I mean, let’s call it what it is. That’s a big win. It was exciting, it was exciting for our kids, and there’s been other 7-4 teams in the playoffs, so we’re not dead yet."

Georgia Southern (5-4, 3-3 Southern Conference) got the ball first in overtime, and with the score knotted at 14-14, needed only four plays for the game winning score.

On 3rd-and-5 from the 20-yard line, quarterback Jaybo Shaw took an option keeper up the gut 16 yards to move the chains to the 4.

On the next play, true freshman fullback Robert Brown (20 carries, 62 yards) fought his way in for the score.

"It was great," said Brown, about what turned out to be the game-winning score. "I had my team on my mind. I figured if coach felt like I was responsible enough to get a touchdown, I had to get it."

The Mountaineers (8-1, 6-1) weren’t done yet.

They started their overtime possession with a 14-yard carry by running back Devon Moore (9-36, TD) for a quick first down, but the GSU defense — which held the Mountaineers scoreless after allowing 14 points in the first quarter — once again held strong. Appalachian quarterback DeAndre Presley netted no gain after two carries, and on 3rd-and-10 from the ASU 11, attempted to run again.

Georgia Southern linebacker Darius Eubanks jarred the ball loose, and middle linebacker Josh Rowe pounced on it to end the game.

Much of the 20,073 in attendance ran onto the field to celebrate the upset.

"It was crazy," said GSU defensive lineman Roderick Tinsley. "The excitement, the crowd running out on the field — I actually got scared. That was my first time having that. I thought I dreamed it."

Things weren’t so optimistic in the first quarter, when the Mountaineers scored on two of their first three drives.

The Eagles forced a quick three-and-out on the game’s first drive, but fumbled on the third offensive play. Mountaineer lineman Bobby Bozzo scooped it up and returned it to the GSU 7-yard line.

It took three plays to set up the first ASU score – a three-yard run by Presley.

Appalachian scored again on its next drive, a 10-play, 80-yard series kept alive by two third-down conversions. Moore scored from one yard out to put ASU ahead 14-0.

Things looked to be getting out of hand early in the second quarter when Presley marched the Mountaineers down to the GSU 19, but his second-down pass into the end zone was picked off by GSU cornerback Laron Scott.

It was the first of two interceptions thrown by Presley (14 of 27, 211 yards), who had thrown only one through the first eight games of the season.

The result was the same on the other end of the field, as ASU’s Dominique McDuffie picked off a Shaw pass in the end zone on the Eagle’s next drive.

The GSU offense let the defense know it would take over from there.

"They told us that they had us," Tinsley said. "They told us just to do our jobs and they were going to come through for us."

Just before the half, the Eagles mounted a 14-play, 56-yard drive, which was kept alive on 3rd-and-11 when Shaw (9 of 21, 106 yards) fumbled the snap, picked it up, rolled out and hit slotback Darreion Robinson on a 21-yard pass to keep the drive alive.

Shaw later punched it in from one yard out to leave GSU trailing 14-7 at the half.

The defense didn’t allow another score.

"We had to make a couple of adjustments at halftime," said Tinsley. "Coach brought us in at half time and told us to sit down and focus. Just because they’re the No. 1 team doesn’t mean that we can’t go out there and stop them."

The offense lived up to its part of the bargain, putting together another epic drive at the start of the third quarter to tie the game.

The drive lasted 15 plays and ate 9:27 off the clock before Robinson took a sweep around the corner for the game-tying touchdown.

The GSU win snapped a 26-game Appalachian State winning streak in SoCon play dating back to Georgia Southern’s 38-35 win over the Mountaineers on October 20, 2007 in Boone, N.C.

The rejuvenated Eagles will hit the road Saturday to face Western Carolina at 3 p.m. in Cullowhee, N.C.

NOTES

 

 

: The last time the Eagles beat Appalachian State in Paulson Stadium was a 54-7 win on October 16, 2004. … The last time the Eagles beat a team that was ranked No. 1 was a 27-24 win over Furman on November 5, 2005. That year also marked the last time GSU made the playoffs. … The 1990 GSU national championship team was recognized after the first quarter, and the 2000 national championship team was recognized after the third quarter at the game.

 

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

 

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