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Georgia Southern finds a way
Eagles wage comeback to defeat Paladins
Georgia Southern fullback Robert Brown gets away from Furman safety Nathan Wade on his way to a nine-yard run down to the Furman 4-yard line to set up the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter Saturday in Greenville, S.C. - photo by PAUL BARKLEY/Special to the Herald


GREENVILLE, S.C. — Bobby Lamb’s coaching career at Furman ended the same way as his playing career in 1985.

It ended with a loss to Georgia Southern.

The Eagles trailed 28-17 at the start of the fourth quarter, but scored 15 unanswered points to knock off the Paladins 32-28 Saturday at Paladin Stadium to keep the playoff hopes alive.

Lamb, who announced his resignation as Furman’s head coach Friday before the game, watched as his Paladins (5-6, 3-5 Southern Conference) fumbled it away to Roderick Tinsley with 2:44 remaining while clinging to a 28-25 lead.

"It just saw white shirts everywhere and the ball just rolling around," said Tinsley. "I just jumped on it. We had great efforts, in causing the fumble, and there were a lot of white shirts around it."

The Eagles (7-4, 5-3) got it back on the outer range of Adrian Mora’s field-goal range on the 33-yard line. Quarterback Jaybo Shaw (36 carries, 101 yards, 5 of 6 passing, 126 yards) ran the ball twice for 20 yards to get to the Furman 13, and freshman fullback Robert Brown (19-91) spun his way for a nine-yard gain to the 4-yard line, and Shaw punched it in for his career-best third rushing touchdown.

Mora’s extra point was good for the final margin.

"That’s what we do best. We run the football," said GSU coach Jeff Monken, whose Eagles carried the ball 71 times for 277 yards. "We’ve got as good a chance to gain yards and make first downs running the football as we do anything."

There were 18 rushes on the 20-play, 93-yard, 11:04 drive that got GSU back in the game.

Trailing 28-17, the Eagles got the ball back at their own 7-yard line after a 40-yard punt by Chas Short.

The drive saw the Eagles convert six first downs — two on third down and one on 4th-and-1 — as they marched 93 yards. The scoring run was a one-yard plunge by J.J. Wilcox (6-18, TD, 3 catches, 107 yards) on 4th-and-goal from the one.

The series left GSU down 28-25 with only 3:40 remaining.

"I didn’t want to lose patience with the team," Monken said. "I thought we made some plays. We had some turnovers, but we were running the ball effectively.

Furman was dominant in the first half.

The Paladins scored on the first play of the game — a 71-yard pass from Worley to Adam Mims (7-111) — and again after a Brown fumble with a three-play drive with 12:48 still remaining in the first quarter.

After the dust cleared, the Eagles were finally able to mount a drive, marching 62 yards on 10 plays, the last of which was Shaw’s first score.

A second-quarter drive saw a 41-yard field goal by Adrian Mora that was set up in large part by a 41-yard pass to Wilcox, but FU scored on its next drive to quickly take a 21-10 lead that stayed that way until the break.

Shaw punched in his second rushing touchdown on the first drive of the third quarter — this one set up by a 47-yard pass to Wilcox — to cut the deficit to 21-17.

It looked like the Eagles were about to take their first lead of the game on the next series with 1st-and-goal from the 3, but three-straight runs by Shaw and one by Brown were stuffed resulting in a turnover on downs.

"We pride ourselves on running the football," Shaw said, "and we should be able to stick it in."

Furman fumbled it away on its own 5 on the next series, but GSU’s first play was a fumble by Brown that was scooped up by Ryan Steed and returned 89 yards to the GSU 8-yard line.

Worley threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Maples on 3rd-and-goal for a 28-17 Furman lead that didn’t last long.


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