Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina are used to having miserable weather at Paulson Stadium. Two years ago, in a steady downpour the teams played to a 10-10 tie in regulation before the Eagles were finally able to prevail 30-27 in triple overtime. After the first quarter it looked like we may be in for a similar kind of game, but two turnovers and a blocked punt turned a 0-0 game into a 21-0 halftime deficit the Eagles couldn’t climb out of as they dropped their fourth straight falling 28-8.
“I thought we came out better than we have all year on defense to start the game,’ said interim head coach Kevin Whitley. “We couldn’t get anything going on offense and those two turnovers really hurt us. We gave up two touchdowns on sudden change and that really took the wind out of us. Any time you play a really good team you have to take care of the ball and we didn’t do that.”
A blocked punt on the final play of the first half gave the Chanticleers even more momentum as well as sending the Eagles to the locker room deflated.
“I felt like if we went into the locker room only down 14-0, we could get right back in it,” said Whitley. “At that point it was the last play of the half and all we had to do was get it off, but we had a breakdown and they not only blocked it but they scored which was huge for them.”
Junior quarterback Justin Tomlin fumbled twice and Coastal turned those two fumbles into 14 points. He also threw an interception in the third quarter after the Eagle defense has just recovered a Coastal fumble. After the game Tomlin didn’t blame the weather for the trouble on the field but put it on himself.
“We really put ourselves in a hole with my fumbles,” said Tomlin. “I felt like the defense played lights out but we beat ourselves on offense. Coastal is a good team but we just beat ourselves tonight on offense including myself on top.”
One of the bright spots in an otherwise forgettable game was the play from freshman quarterback Cam Ransom who came into the game in the fourth quarter and led the Eagles to their only points of the game hitting on three straight passes including a 6-yard touchdown pass to Derwin Burgess as well as a two-point conversion pass to Burgess.
“I was really impressed by Cam and how he handled himself especially in that weather,” said Whitley. “Besides completing those passes, he also was able to hold onto the ball and didn’t turn it over. He throws the ball well and I’m excited to see what he has going forward.”
With Tomlin having some struggles the past two games Whitley said he has confidence in Ransom and wouldn’t be surprised if he starts Saturday at Texas State.
“He has not been named the starter this week but I would probably say that’s coming,” said Whitley. “If everything goes well at practice, which I don’t anticipate anything happening, I don’t see why he would not be, but that is yet to be determined.”
Georgia Southern and Texas State are scheduled for a 3:00 kickoff Saturday in San Marcos.