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McKinnon comes up big on defense
121011 GSU FOOTBALL 03
Georgia Southern defensive back Jerick McKinnon (1) celebrates after making an interception in the fourth quarter to seal Saturday's 35-23 victory over Maine at Paulson Stadium.


Georgia Southern sophomore Jerick McKinnon, who started at defensive back for the second time in his career Saturday, intercepted two passes to tie a GSU single-game playoff record.

McKinnon tied six Eagles. James Young, in 2002 against Bethune-Cookman, was the last Eagle to intercept two passes in a playoff game.

McKinnon picked off Maine quarterback Warren Smith with 10:50 left in the first quarter. He intercepted Smith a second time with 2:29 to play in the game.

McKinnon also made two tackles and had two quarterback hurries in GSU’s 35-23 victory over Maine in a Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinal at Paulson Stadium.

"The fact that I can be out there contributing to the team, playing with all those great players on defense, means a lot to me," said McKinnon, who has played at quarterback and slot back this season.

GSU junior linebacker Darius Eubanks intercepted Smith with 8:21 left in the third quarter.

"Everybody on defense made plays," McKinnon said. "Brent Russell made a play down on the goal line, on third-down, and stopped them. They came away with a field goal. That was a good play by him.

"I feel like, overall, our defense was just flying to the ball and executing."


Too many penalties

After the game, GSU head coach Jeff Monken said he was not happy about the Eagles’ 12 penalties for 93 yards.

It was second-most penalties GSU has committed this season. The Eagles were flagged 13 times for 120 yards against Western Carolina.


30-plus points again

GSU is 3-0 against Maine, and in each victory the Eagles have scored at least 30 points. The Eagles beat the Black Bears, 31-7, on Dec. 7, 2002.

GSU won, 31-28, on Nov. 28, 1987.

GSU’s 35-23 victory Saturday marked the most points the Eagles have scored against the Black Bears.

All three games have been played in Statesboro.


Finally, some action

GSU punter Charlie Edwards punted one time against Maine for 36 yards.

It was the senior’s first punt since the Eagles played Alabama.


Noell Barnidge can be reached at (912) 489-9408.