STATESBORO, Ga. --- Georgia Southern's season, which started so brilliantly, continued to reverse field Saturday.
The Eagles lost to Samford, 20-13, at Paulson Stadium, in the process losing ground on a potential winning season.
The Eagles (4-4, 2-3 Southern Conference) have lost three of their past four games. Their four setbacks have been by a combined total of 23 points.
"I wish I could put finger on something and say 'here's the problem,' " Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken said. "I just don't have enough fingers to do that."
Georgia Southern was held to 174 offensive yards and a season-low 13 points against Football Championship Subdivision competition, while losing to Samford (4-4, 2-3) for the third consecutive season.
Two Georgia Southern turnovers proved costly, setting up a Samford field goal and touchdown.
And an overworked Eagle defense couldn't slow down Bulldog running back Chris Evans, who had 135 of his 165 rushing yards in the second half.
"We definitely have to go back to work," said Georgia Southern quarterback Jaybo Shaw, who didn't enter the game until four minutes and 57 seconds remained in the third quarter.
Shaw continues to nurse a sore hip that has slowed him throughout the season.
Monken tried to shield Shaw from the pounding on Saturday, but he eventually had no choice but to bring him in with the game slipping away.
The game literally slipped away when a Shaw pass was juggled by Darreion Robinson before falling into the hands of linebacker Sean Thompson at the Georgia Southern 21 midway through the fourth quarter.
Alex Barnett scored from the 5 four plays later to provide the Bulldogs with a 20-6 lead.
"We played our best game on all phases, and it took that to beat Georgia Southern," Samford coach Pat Sullivan said.
Evans, the conference rushing leader with 707 yards entering the game, had Samford's first score on a 5-yard run in the second quarter.
"Chris is a guy you can give it to two times or 25 times. He's going to give everything he has," Sullivan said.
Try 34 times. The 6-foot, 215-pound senior also caught three passes for 18 yards.
Reach Donald Heath at email@example.com.