Originally created 09/02/01

Southern soars over Savannah



STATESBORO, Ga. - The bullies flexed, and the upstarts flinched Saturday night at Paulson Stadium.

Georgia Southern, the two-time defending Division I-AA national champion, scored 34 points in approximately a 14-minute span during the first and second quarters and defeated Savannah State, 62-6.

A crowd of 23,167 - the fourth largest in GSU history - watched the Eagles win their 32nd-straight home game, third best ever in I-AA.

"I'm always worried when we play someone. Everyone has a chance," Southern coach Paul Johnson said during the week at practice.

Johnson could stop worrying once senior fullback Adrian Peterson got going. The 5-10, 210-pounder ran for 192 yards and four touchdowns before going to the bench with 3:07 left in the third quarter.

He recorded his 32nd-consecutive 100-yard performance midway through the second quarter, tying the all-divisions record set by R.J. Bowers of Grove City last season.

Peterson broke the Division I record of 31-straight 100-yard games set by former Ohio State star Archie Griffin between 1973 and 1975.

With his four touchdowns, Peterson set the I-AA career scoring record. He now has 438 points - 18 more than Southern Utah's Matt Cannon, who finished his collegiate career in 2000.

He also surpassed a state of Georgia record for career rushing yardage, surpassing Herschel Walker's mark of 5,259. Peterson now has 5,292 yards.

While the game ended up a blowout, it didn't start that way. Savannah State, which is in the process of reclassifying its athletic program to Division I (I-AA in football), opened with a 10-play, 77-yard scoring drive.

Quarterback Jermaine Brooks, out of Josey High School in Augusta, set up the scoring march with a 46-yard scramble. Seven plays later, Mario Spencer dove in from the 1 to the surprise of the GSU throng.

But three SSU first-half turnovers and a botched snap in punt formation ruined any chances of an upset.