Georgia Southern Converts Strong Second Half Into 38-17 Win Over Furman

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Jerodis Williams

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Dominique Swope scored two touchdowns and FCS third-ranked Georgia Southern reeled off 21 unanswered points in the second half on the way to a 38-17 victory over Furman in Southern Conference football action Saturday afternoon at Paladin Stadium.

The win was fifth straight for Georgia Southern (6-1, 5-1 SoCon) and the loss the third consecutive for Furman (2-6, 1-4 SoCon).

"They (Georgia Southern) are very good.  They did the things necessary to win the game. That's why they are the third-ranked team in the country," said Furman head coach Bruce Fowler.  "We had some unforced errors that contributed to the result, and they took full advantage of some of them, which good teams do."

Trailing 10-9 after Furman's Ray Early kicked a 48-yard field goal with 3:45 remaining in the third quarter, Georgia Southern answered on the first play following the kickoff when quarterback Jerick Mckinnon connected with Zach Walker on a 75-yard touchdown strike off play action to help the Eagles take a 15-9 lead.  GSU's two-point conversion made it 17-10.

Two possessions later the Eagles stretched their lead to 24-10 on a 42-yard scoring run by Johnathan Bryant.

GSU then used a big play by its defense to help break the game open.  Defensive end Dion DuBose's fumble recovery and 44-yard return to the Furman 5 set up a Swope 4-yard run two plays later to make it 30-10.

After Furman cut it to 30-17 with a Jerodis Williams 2-yard run with 4:24 remaining, Georgia Southern pounced on the onside kick and methodically covered 46 yards in seven plays for its final touchdown, which came on a Swope 1-yard plunge with 20 seconds showing on the clock.  The Eagles capped their impressive second half with a two-point conversion by Swope for the game's final points.

Limited to 171 total yards in the first half, including just 81 on the ground, Georgia Southern fueled its second half surge with a 269 yards to finish with 440 yards total offense, 275 via the rush.  The Eagles threw for a season high 165 yards, completing 6-of-10 passes.

Furman had 324 total yards, getting a game high 98 yards rushing on 17 carries from Williams.   Quarterback Reese Hannon completed 19-of-26 passes for 184 yards.

Bryant paced a group of eight Eagle ballcarriers with six rushes for 75 yards.
 
The Paladins took a 7-3 lead after Ernie Cain bulled over two yards out with 1:50 to go in the first half and carried that advantage into the halftime locker room after linebacker Mitch McGrath pounced on a GSU fumble the Furman 10 with 40 seconds to go.

Georgia Southern took the second half kickoff and covered 65 yards in 13 plays to grab a 9-7 lead on a McKinnon 1-yard scoring sneak, setting the table to the decisive final two quarters.

Furman Notes:

Ray Early's 48-yard field goal versus Georgia Southern was the second longest of his career (52 vs. Samford, 2010).

Cornerback Reggie Thomas recorded his second sack in as many games with an eight-yard takedown of GSU quarterback Jerick McKinnon on the Eagles' first offensive play of the game.

With one catch for 12 yards versus GSU, senior tight end Colin Anderson extended his consecutive games receptions streak to 21.  With 82 career receptions, Anderson is now tied with Brette Simmons (1974-78) for second on Furman's all-time tight ends receptions ledger (Luther Broughton, 123 rec., 1993-96).

True freshman linebackers Cory Magwood (4 tackles) and Carl Rider (3 tackles) saw extensive action versus GSU and combined for seven tackles in the contest.

Jerodis Williams' 2-yard touchown run versus GSU gave him 26 rushing TDs for his career, which ranks ninth in Furman history.  His 2-yard TD run in the fourth quarter broke Furman's fourth quarter scoreless streak at five games dating back to the Coastal Carolina game on Sept. 8 (47-45 loss 3OT).

Sophomore Grayson Weber earned his first career start today at right tackle, stepping in for Charles Emert, who started at left tackle in place of injured All-SoCon performer Dakota Dozier.  Dozier sustained a sprained knee in the fourth quarter of Furman's Oct. 13 contest against Chattanooga.