In Georgia Southern’s second scrimmage of the spring held last weekend, the offense put up big numbers. When the annual Blue-White game was held at Paulson Stadium on Friday night, the tables were turned.
A 19-yard aerial strike from Justin Tomlin to Darius Lewis in the second quarter turned out to be the lone touchdown of the night as White defeated Blue by a count of 11-9.
“It was a good end to the spring,” GS coach Chad Lunsford said. “The Blue team left some opportunities out there, but we had guys playing hard and we got through spring healthy and improving.”
The White team led 11-3 after regulation, but Lunsford - who insisted all along that he could change the rules at any time - issued a challenge to the Blue squad and a chance to reclaim a win.
Alex Raynor was called on to kick field goals from 30, 40 and 48 yards. Hitting all three would put Blue in the lead and force the White team’s Bryce Christensen to make at least one of the same. Raynor hit his first two attempts, but the 48-yarder bounced back off of the crossbar to give White the win.
Lunsford’s control over the scoring led to the odd final score. It was announced prior to the game that all interceptions would be worth two points. A hail mary heave was reeled in by Tyler Bride at the end of the first half and Darrell Baker Jr. picked off another for the White team in the fourth quarter to cap off the scoring in regulation.
Following the game, Lunsford hinted that he anticipated a lower scoring game. Instead of matching first string units against each other, the coaching staff drafted teams from the roster. That led to odd pairings that probably hindered offensive flow, but Lunsford wasn’t too worried.
“We saw a lot of guys getting out there and competing, which is what we really want,” Lunsford said. “One of the things tonight was that everyone who was healthy was going to get in. That’s their reward for the work we’ve put in during the spring.”
Heading into the summer months, there is plenty of talent and depth on both sides of the ball, but the biggest question remains at quarterback
Technically, there isn’t a question at the moment. Justin Tomlin began the spring at the top of the depth chart and - barring anything unforeseen - will be the Eagles’ starter heading into the fall. But the Eagles are replacing four-year starter Shai Werts and Tomlin has only modest experience, with very little proven talent behind him ever since Georgia Tech transfer James Graham left the squad midway through spring.
Tomlin didn’t set the field on fire Friday, rushing for 21 yards and completing just 7-of-16 passes. Then again, the predetermined rules set to protect quarterbacks resulted in a lot of quick whistles and Tomlin’s physical running could have easily netted him more rushing yardage or broken out of the two sacks he suffered.
Dexter Carter Jr. and Lewis notched the longest runs of the night, going for 34 and 29 yards, respectively, both on reverses. Jalen White led all rushers with 49 yards and eight different Eagles caught passes on a night where the option-heavy offense continued to show more of a passing game.
With spring camp now adjourned, Eagle players will finish up the academic semester and put in work in the weight room before the team reconveines for fall camp in August.
Georgia Southern is slated to kick off its 2021 season at home against Gardner-Webb on Sept. 4 at Paulson Stadium.