In front of more than 26,000 fans, Georgia Southern sent Saturday’s record crowd at Paulson Stadium home happy with a 38-28 victory over Coastal Carolina.
Davis Brin threw three touchdown passes, Khadry Jackson had a game-changing pick-six and five different Eagles scored touchdowns as Georgia Southern won its opening game of the Sun Belt conference season.
The Eagles now have a bye week before heading to face undefeated James Madison Oct. 14 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It’s an early showdown in the Sun Belt’s East Division. James Madison, the pre-season pick to win the East, is 5-0 and 2-0 in conference play.
The record crowd of 26,384 surpassed the previous high of 25,735 that saw Georgia Southern beat Louisiana-Monroe, 23-21, in September 2016. Saturday also was Salute to Service Day at Paulson, as Georgia Southern University honored all military personnel.
Brin was 34-of-56 passing for 322 yards with Khaleb Hood hauling in 12 for 131 yards, both career bests, 38-28 for the Eagles (4-1, 1-0 Sun Belt Conference). It was Hood's school-record sixth 100-yard game.
Coastal Carolina jumped out to an early lead on its first drive as quarterback Grayson McCall ran it into the end zone to go up 7-0. The Eagles evened the score 7-7 to open the second quarter when Derwin Burgess Jr. caught his 11th career touchdown reception on a 2-yard pass from Davis Brin.
The Chanticleers regained the lead 14-7 with 7:28 left in the second quarter before the Eagles again evened the score with 3:54 left in the half as Brin completed a pass to Anthony Queeley for a 16-yard touchdown reception that deflected off a Coastal defender before settling into Queeley's arms.
GS took its first lead of the game just before halftime after Cam Williams intercepted McCall’s throw at the Coastal 24-yard line with 39 seconds on the clock. Brin found Hood for a 12-yard touchdown pass, making it 21-14 at the break.
On its opening drive of the second half, Coastal Carolina moved quickly down the field to tie things up on a McCall 13-yard touchdown pass to Sam Pinckney. The Eagles once again responded, this time with a 45-yard field goal from Michael Lantz to regain the lead 24-21.
The Eagle defense then made a huge play when Khadry Jackson picked off McCall at the Coastal 20-yard line and returned it for a pick-six and a 31-21 Georgia Southern lead.
Georgia Southern then put together a nine-play, 72-yard drive capped by Jalen White's 3-yard run that made it 38-21 in the last minute of the third quarter.
The Chanticleers cut the lead to 38-28 with 9:16 remaining after Braydon Bennett scored on a 1-yard run. Georgia Southern missed field goals on its next two possession but Coastal gave up the ball on downs and McCall threw his fourth interception.
Burgess Jr., Dalen Cobb and Queeley recorded over 50 receiving yards and White rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Marcus Watson-Trent led the Eagle defense in tackles with 14 total tackles, a quarterback hurry and an interception. TJ Smith finished with eight total tackles, including six solo tackles. Watson-Trent, Jackson, Damel Hickman and Cam Williams each recorded an interception.