The Georgia Southern football team snapped a 4-game losing streak Saturday in San Marcos Texas as they knocked off Texas State in a wild game by a final score of 38-30.
The game saw special teams play a huge role as both teams returned blocked punts for touchdowns and then a wild play in the third quarter saw Alex Raynor have a field goal attempt blocked, the Bobcats recovered but then fumbled and Anthony Beck came up with the recovery for the Eagles. Two plays later Justn Tomlin hit Beau Johnson for a 25-yard touchdown to put the Eagles up 31-24, they’d never trail again.
“The problems we are having in special teams starts with me,” said interim coach Kevin Whitley. “I have to figure out what we can do in practice to get us prepared so we don’t get punts blocked before the half. We have had two punts blocked, we had a field goal blocked and missed two field goals which has to improve. If we have to put more emphasis on special teams in practice and put more pressure on them in practice, we will do it.”
“We blocked a punt and scored which evened things out a little,” said Whitley. “Coach Cunningham works hard with the punt block team to get that done. Derwin Burgess is another true freshman who made a great play with the scoop and the score. On the blocked kick credit to Parker Devine to strip the ball out and to Beck for grabbing the loose ball. Thankfully we were able to counteract some of the bad plays we made.”
Freshman quarterback Cam Ransom got the start Saturday and was pretty efficient while in the game as he threw for 121 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 39 yards. Ransom injured his shoulder early in the second half and was relieved by Justin Tomlin who threw for 108 yards and one touchdown.
“I thought Cam came in and did exactly what we thought he would do,” said Whitley. “He had a lot of energy and threw the ball extremely well. When he went down, I was holding my breath because I could see on his face he was in pain. I thought Justin came in and did a great job . He made a couple bad throws but overall, I thought both of them played well.”
Whitley said Ransom suffered an AC joint sprain to his left shoulder and said he was available and it would just be a matter of how much he can tolerate pain. The Eagles had several players who had to leave the game due to injuries and one who was carted off. For the second straight week an Eagle player was unconscious on the field as Gerald Green suffered a concussion after a play that ended up in an ejection for Texas State Gjemar Daniels for targeting.
“We have had so many guys go down we are just about used to it, you just have to have someone step up,” said Whitley. “Thank God Gerald Green just had a concussion. When I walked out onto the field, I thought it was a lot worse and I was just praying he would be okay. I do want to give credit to our medical staff as well as their medical staff because when everyone is panicking, they're the calm ones. I am sure he won’t be back this week. He does have a concussion and we are monitoring his progress. Cam is getting daily treatment and hopefully he will be available Saturday.”
With as many injuries as the Eagles have had this season Whitley feels things the younger players called on are really starting to step up and understand their roles.
“The young guys are playing really well,” said Whitley. “Eldrick Robinson had a heck of a game as a freshman linebacker with 12 tackles. We are just really starting to grow up and things are starting to click with the younger guys. Our freshmen linebackers are starting to come around and I hear them talking which tells me they are getting more comfortable out there.”
Whitley also praised sophomore running back Jaen White who led the team with 82-yards rushing and a pair of touchdown runs.
“Jalen is a really good back,” said Whitley. “Unfortunately, although it is a good problem, running back is our strongest room. We have five guys you can put in and you won’t miss a beat. Jalen is just a guy waiting for his opportunity and because of injury he has gotten his chance. We will be relying on him heavily the next couple weeks and he will just carry the load for us.”
The Eagles host No. 14 ranked BYU Saturday at 4 p.m. at Paulson Stadium.