STATESBORO, Ga. - The big play returned in a big way for Georgia Southern on Saturday night.
Sparked by a running game that finally looked explosive and versatile, the 24th-ranked Eagles rebounded from an embarrassing opening-day loss to defeat Coastal Carolina 38-21 at Paulson Stadium.
Running backs Lamar Lewis and Chris Covington combined for 303 yards and two touchdowns as Georgia Southern produced 474 yards.
Jayson Foster added two touchdown runs and former Lincoln County quarterback Travis Clark threw a scoring pass to tight end Hal Scarborough.
"We faced a lot of adversity the last couple of weeks," Georgia Southern coach Brian VanGorder said. "We really bunkered down, stayed together. We were really committed together, to one another so this is a big step for our football team."
If ever a team needed a morale builder, it was Georgia Southern. The Eagles lost to Central Connecticut 17-13 in the opener and certainly VanGorder's decision to junk the triple option came under criticism.
But the offense looked just fine Saturday. Georgia Southern scored on five of its first six possessions, failing only when Jonathan Dudley missed a 25-yard field goal try.
Covington, who earned the Southern Conference's Offensive Player of the Week award last week, ran for 75 yards on the game's first play.
Foster saved the Eagles three plays later. Forced to try a short field goal, Georgia Southern got more than it hoped when Foster, the holder, took a high snap and scrambled through the Chants for touchdown.
"They botched the field goal, but Foster's such a great athlete," Coastal Carolina coach David Bennett said. "They get in (the end zone) when we should have made the tackle."
Lewis, a transfer from Florida State who missed the opener because of a groin pull, had a 46-yard run to key Covington's 1-yard touchdown run on the third possession as the Eagles widened their lead to 17-7.