Originally created 09/12/99

Georgia Southern walks over Wofford



SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- If Georgia Southern needed any extra motivation against Wofford Saturday night, they got it from reading the local newspaper Saturday morning.

A few Terrier players said they believed they could play with Georgia Southern while one player was bold enough to say he thought the Terriers would upset the top-ranked Eagles.

For exactly one minute and 16 seconds in the first quarter, Wofford actually led Georgia Southern 7-6. However, the Eagles scored 42 unanswered points and cruised to an easy 55-14 win over Wofford at Gibbs Stadium Saturday night.

Road victories for Southern head coach Paul Johnson haven't come easy, but the Eagles won in grand-fashion Saturday night, piling on 491 yards of total offense. In two games this season, GSU has amassed 1,085 yards of total offense while outscoring both Fayetteville State and Wofford 131-14 in their first two games.

The victory was the Eagles' 16th straight regular-season win and their 12th straight Southern Conference triumph.

Georgia Southern (2-0 overall, 1-0 Southern Conference) handed Wofford coach Mike Ayers his worst home loss in his 12 years at the school.

With the exception of a lost fumble on the opening drive of the game, the Eagles played flawlessly in the game.

"I was proud of the guys and I thought we played really well in that first half," Johnson said. "The defense went out after we turned the ball over on the opening series and made a nice stand and got Wofford off the field. And then we were able to score on the next four or five possessions."

Sophomore fullback Adrian Peterson finished with 156 yards and scored four touchdowns, including a 73-yard gallop that put the exclamation point on the Georgia Southern victory. The sophomore has rushed for over 100 yards in all 17 of his games at GSU and has scored eight touchdowns in two games this season.

After fumbling on their first possession of the contest, the Eagles took their second possession 88 yards on 14 plays with Peterson scoring on a 1-yard plunge with 7:44 remaining in the first quarter.

But on Wofford's ensuing possession, the Eagles seemed to have met their match. Using their wingbone offensive formation, an offensive scheme similar to Georgia Southern's spread offense, the Terriers used several misdirection plays and moved the ball at will on the Eagle defense.

The Terriers (0-1, 0-1) took the lead at 7-6 on sophomore quarterback Travis Wilson's 26-yard pass to Jeff Scott with 3:55 remaining in the first. But that was the last lead Wofford would see.

"Our first two games were pretty good, but the competition is going to get better every week," Johnson said. "But we're going to have our hands full next week when we play a team from the Pac-10."

Georgia Southern steps out of the conference next week and travels to Corvallis, Oregon to meet Division I-A opponent Oregon State on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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Tim Morse at (706) 823-3216 or timmorse@augustachronicle.com