Freshman QB sparks Eagles


CHARLESTON, S.C. --- Among the many things Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken learned from Paul Johnson: Sometimes the best way to win a game is not to lose it.


The Eagles did their best not to mirror the triple-option attack of The Citadel on Saturday and came away with a 20-0 victory at Johnson Hagood Stadium.

Georgia Southern (4-3, 2-2 Southern Conference) took advantage of nine Bulldog turnovers while overcoming the loss of starting quarterback Jaybo Shaw to a right hip injury on the Eagles' second offensive play.

Shaw got up slowly and walked off the field after taking a shot after an option pitch.

Monken said Shaw could have returned to the game and expects him to be ready for Samford on Saturday.

The Eagles didn't need Shaw. True freshman quarterback Jerick McKinnon ran for 182 yards and a touchdown on a school-record 35 carries.

And the defense, led by freshman middle linebacker Michael Spaulding, allowed only 160 yards while pitching its first shutout since blanking Savannah State 35-0 in the 2003 season opener.

"I don't care how ugly or how dry it looked," Monken said. "I'll take a boring win over an exciting loss."

It was McKinnon left, McKinnon right and a sprinkling of handoffs to fullback Robert Brown, who was making his first start since going down with a back injury on Sept. 18 against Coastal Carolina. Brown ran 20 times.

Georgia Southern ran on 69 of its 72 plays. McKinnon attempted three passes, one was intercepted and two fell incomplete.

McKinnon engineered scoring drives on his first two possessions. Adrian Mora's 27-yard field goal capped the first 11-play march.

Brown's 3-yard touchdown run finished the second drive.

Mora added a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter, and McKinnon had a 3-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

The Citadel (2-6, 0-5) couldn't keep up.

The Bulldogs fumbled on their first three possessions. They didn't cross midfield until 12:11 of the third quarter for one play before losing three yards and falling back to their 49.

Meanwhile, turnovers were plentiful. Eagle linebacker E.J. Webb recovered two fumbles. Defensive back Laron Scott had two interceptions. Spaulding, Dion DuBose, Michael Butler and Brent Russell also recovered fumbles and freshman defensive back Lavelle Westbrooks had an interception.

The nine turnovers were the most in Citadel history, the most acquired in Georgia Southern history and third-most in Southern Conference history.


Sun, 08/20/2017 - 01:40