Seeing a score of 41-14 in a game played between Georgia Southern and South Alabama isn’t unusual. The Eagles have dominated the Jaguars in the past with a 7-0 series lead with the average score being 36-11. Thursday night the Jaguars flipped the script on the struggling Eagles jumping out to a 31-0 lead and going on to win 41-14.
The Eagles looked lost on both sides of the ball until about midway through the second quarter when they finally got their first first down of the game. By that point the Jaguars had already torched the Eagle defense for 31 points and there was a total yardage differential of 325 to 8. Eagle interim head coach Kevin Whitley attributed the slow start to a lack of effort.
“I felt like we didn’t come out with any intensity and didn’t match their intensity,” said Whitley. “They wanted it more and that’s sad to say. You practice hard and put in so much time get ready for a game and then you don’t come out to play? It is totally unacceptable, and I told the guys in the locker room after the game we are going to find 22 players who want to play football.”
The Eagles are used to being the team to set the records in their performances but Saturday it was the Jaguars. Among Thursday's records Jaguar quarterback Jake Bentley became the first South Alabama player to have five touchdowns in a game. Bentley threw for 389 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for two scores as well. Receiver Jalen Tolbert had 174 yards receiving and one touchdown and the Jags outgained the Eagles 535 to 233.
“We are just not doing the basic fundamentals of blocking and tackling,” said Whitley. “Since I took over, I have been talking about how it’s us. I think our weaknesses were very glaring tonight. It has been worse on the road. I don’t know why we don’t come ready to play on the road. We tried some different things as far as travel went, but we still came out slow. When you come out flat it is so hard to come back when you are behind 31-0 it takes you totally out of your gameplan.”
Eagle starting quarterback Justin Tomlin was 5-13 for 49 yards and an interception. He also ran seven times for 14 yards. Tomlin was replaced by true freshman Cam Ransom who was 2-12 for 63 yards and was sacked four times. Ransom did rush for 49 yards but had -26 yards due to sacks. The Eagle's leading rusher was Logan Wright who had 60 yards on 14 carries.
“There were a couple issues why Tomlin left the game first he was banged up and then we were also looking for a spark with Cam,” said Whitley. “Cam finished the game, and we will assess things during our open week and hopefully we will have everybody healthy here in a couple weeks and we will put the best player on the field.”
The Eagles are off next Saturday and won’t be on the field again until they host Georgia State Oct. 30.