(Note: Look for Statesboro Herald sports editor Mike Anthony's game story later this evening.)
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Tyler Bass kicked a 40-yard field goal as time expired to give Georgia Southern a 23-21 victory over Eastern Michigan in the Camellia Bowl on Saturday night to earn its tenth win of the season, a year after winning only two games..
Shai Werts kept the winning drive alive with a 29-yard scramble on fourth-and-10. Bass came on for his third field goal after Wesley Fields' two runs pushed Georgia Southern (10-3) 7 yards closer.
Bass also made a 50-yarder on the final play of the first half.
Eastern Michigan (7-6) had delivered its own big fourth-down play to take the lead for the first time.
Mike Glass threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Arthur Jackson with 3:33 left on fourth-and-4, followed by Chad Ryland's extra point.
Georgia Southern took over at its own 25 with a triple-option offense that attempted fewer passes than every FBS team but Army. Werts completed a 15-yard pass to tight end Ellis Richardson, but Georgia Southern fittingly covered most of the 52 yards with runs.
Werts ran for 79 yards and two first-half touchdowns while completing 4 of 7 passes for 33 yards to receive Most Valuable Player honors. Wesley Kennedy III gained 107 yards on nine carries.
Eastern Michigan's Glass completed 17 of 25 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yarder to Jackson on the opening play of the second half. He had missed the final two games of the regular season with a right leg injury and had only two previous starts.
Glass found Jackson in the back of the end zone to cap a 16-play, 75-yard drive that consumed more than six minutes. As it turns out, it left too much time on the clock.
Georgia Southern: Ran for 331 yards on 58 carries. Finished the season without throwing an interception.
Eastern Michigan: Had eight games decided by one score. Just missed its first eight-win season since going 10-2 in 1987.
Georgia Southern set an NCAA FBS record with only five turnovers this season. The previous NCAA record was eight turnovers in a season by six teams, last done by LSU in 2017. The Eagles were the only FBS team that didn't throw an interception this season.
Georgia Southern returns most of its offensive starters, including Werts, but loses leading rusher Wesley Fields and top tackler Joshua Moon. It's the second season for coach Chad Lunsford, who led the biggest turnaround in FBS after a 2-10 season.