STATESBORO, Ga. — Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken wouldn’t commit to a starting quarterback throughout spring workouts and into the fall.
But when the season kicked off against Jacksonville University on Saturday night, Monken had made up his mind. Sophomore Ezayi Youyoute got the nod.
On the second play of the game, Youyoute ran the triple option to perfection, found a seam on the left side, and sprinted 79 yards for a touchdown.
Six minutes into the game, Youyoute broke the 100-yard mark and by halftime he had a career-high 126 yards and two touchdowns.
Youyoute backed up Jaybo Shaw last season and averaged 11.9 yards a carry in limited playing time.
But Youyoute came into the off-season in a dead heat with Jerick McKinnon, who was No. 2 on the depth chart to Shaw in 2010. Last season, McKinnon played some quarterback in the Eagles’ wildcat formation.
McKinnon started Saturday night at slotback and received the first carry – a 2-yard run – before Youyoute’s touchdown sprint.
Youyoute added another touchdown – an 11-yard run – on the Eagles’ second possession.
Georgia Southern led 27-0 in the first quarter after its first four possessions.
FIRST START: Offensive linemen Manrey Saint-Amour, Logan Daves and Garrett Frye, middle linebacker Patrick Flowe, outside linebacker John Stevenson and cornerback Valdon Cooper earned their first starts on Georgia Southern’s offensive and defensive units.
Flowe had a sack in the second quarter.
SCOTT UPDATE: Former Eagles cornerback Laron Scott made the New York Giants’ practice squad on Saturday. Scott was cut by the Giants on Friday, but cleared waivers and was signed for the practice squad.
Scott holds the school record in career pass breakups (36) and is tied with Mark Giles for single-season pass breakups (18).
Scott also holds most of Georgia Southern’s kickoff return records.
DEFENSIVE SCORE: Cooper returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Scott was the last Eagle to take an interception back for a score against Elon on Sept. 25, 2010.
NEXT UP: Georgia Southern travels to Charleston, S.C., next Saturday for a 6 p.m. matchup with The Citadel. The Eagles lead the all-time series with the Bulldogs, 17-4.