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GSU puts pounding on Pioneers
Eagles rack up 530 yards in dominating victory
091011 GSU FOOTBALL 01 web
Georgia Southern quarterback Jaybo Shaw points to fans after scoring on a 25-yard run in the first quarter against Tusculum at Paulson Stadium Saturday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Watch highlights of Georgia Southern's win over Tusculum in the "Two-Minute Drill." Click on link:

http://www.statesboroherald.com/multimedia/3403/

Tusculum quarterback Bo Cordell threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns.

The Pioneers still lost by 41 points, because Cordell was all they brought.

The Georgia Southern Eagles saw seven different players score a touchdown as they rushed for 351 yards and dismantled the visiting Division II squad, 62-21, Saturday at Paulson Stadium.

"Any time you can score a touchdown with seven different people, it's great motivation," said junior slotback J.J. Wilcox, who led the team in rushing yards (eight carries, 97 yards) and receptions (two catches, 63 yards). "It just shows that we care for one another and we're a brotherhood. I'm proud to be a part of this team."

At the end of the day, 11 different Eagles carried the football and six caught a pass.

The Eagles (2-0) didn't allow an offensive touchdown in the second half and even went nuts on special teams with 161 kickoff return yards by Laron Scott and a combined 70 punt-return yards.

That didn't stop Tusculum (1-1) from turning a 21-0 first-half deficit into a 10-point game at halftime.

"They've got 25 scholarships and we've got 63 scholarships. They're slugging around with us like they're two teams that should be in the same league. It shouldn't be that way," said GSU coach Jeff Monken. "There should be some determined attempt to get a team down. It was 21-0 at one point, but we punted, and we punted, and we punted again. We've got to do better than that."

The Eagles scored on each drive on the second half with the exception of a third-quarter turnover — a fumbled snap by Jerick McKinnon — and the last drive of the game when freshman quarterback Ezayi Youyoute (5-63, TD) knelt out the clock.

Youyoute, Johnathan Bryant, Robert Brown (12-70), McKinnon (6-26), true freshman fullback/punt returner Dominique Swope (5-59) each rushed for a touchdown in the second half.

Georgia Southern was right on schedule in the early going, racking up plenty of points off big plays.

The first score was a career-long, 25-yard touchdown run by Jaybo Shaw, which was set up by a 37-yard punt return by Swope.

The next — a 13-yard scamper on a designed pitch to Wilcox - was set up by a 48-yard pass from Shaw to freshman receiver Kentrellis Showers.

The first quarter ended with a 14-0 GSU lead, and it quickly became 21-0 on a one-play drive set up by another Swope punt return, this time for 29 yards.

The one-play, three-second drive was a 38-yard pass from Shaw to McKinnon.

That one woke up the Pioneers and Cordell, who lit up the GSU defense with 261 first-half passing yards.

"He's something special," said Monken about the Tusculum quarterback, "but with that said, they're not the best team we're going to have to face this year. We're going to face better teams and we're going to have to play better."

A 51-yard pass on 3rd-and-9 sparked the first TC touchdown, and the Pioneers strung together a 12-play, 80-yard drive just before the half to cut the gap to 21-14.

The only run play on the drive went for an eight-yard loss on 1st-and-goal from the 2, but the next play was a 10-yard touchdown pass from Cordell to Marcus Foster.

Georgia Southern managed to answer with 26 seconds left in the half, in large part due to a 55-yard kickoff return by Laron Scott.

After a 20-yard pass from Shaw to Wilcox down to the 20-yard line, GSU called a time out with one tenth of a second left on the clock.

A 37-yard field goal by ADRIAN Mora (2 for 2) made the score 24-14 at halftime.

The Pioneers' lone score in the second half came on an attempted onside kick by the Eagles, which was picked cleanly out of the air by TC's Matt Levine and returned 38 yards to the house.

NOTES: In remembrance of Sept 11, 2001, first responders were the honorary team captains for the pre-game coin toss. ... Long-time GSU contributor Gene Bishop, the namesake of the Paulson Stadium Field House who died earlier in the year, was honored in a halftime ceremony. ... With his 55-yard kickoff return at the end of the second quarter, Scott is now the all-time leader in GSU history with 1,477 total career kickoff return yards. He passed Karl Miller (1987-90, 1,386). ... Shaw's 181 passing yard were the most in his GSU career. ... With his first extra point of the game, Mora kicked the 100th-straight extra point of his career Mora has now made each of his 107 attempts. ... The 62 points were the most scored in a game by GSU since the regular-season finale in 2005 against Moorehead State, a game the Eagles won 63-17. ... McKinnon started at slotback in place of Johnathan Bryant, and true freshman Riyahd Jones started in place of Hudson Presume at cornerback. ... Senior safety Derek Heyden recorded an interception for the second-straight game. ... Announced attendance was 21,812, second largest home opener in Paulson Stadium history. The largest was Sept. 1, 2001 against Savannah State (23,167).

 

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