Georgia Southern Handles The Citadel 48-13

STATESBORO, Ga. – Matt Breida rushed for 164 yards, including an 87-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and Georgia Southern forced five Citadel turnovers as the Eagles topped the Bulldogs 48-13 before a record crowd on Military Appreciation Day in Paulson Stadium Saturday night.

Breida took the handoff on the first play after a Bulldog punt in the second quarter and was untouched as he went straight up the middle. The Eagle receivers locked their men up on the outside for the junior to breeze up the field all alone to tie to fourth-longest touchdown run in school history.

Kevin Ellison also made a little history, becoming the 14th Eagle to rush for over 2,000 career yards with a 9-yard touchdown scamper in the second quarter. Breida and Ellison each rushed for two scores, while L.A. Ramsby and Wesley Fieldsadded touchdown runs.

9/19/2015,Eddie Senkbeil

9/19/2015,Eddie Senkbeil

Fields finished with 62 yards on 10 carries, and Ramsby added 60 yards on 10 carries. Chaz Thornton also ripped off a 66-yard run. The Eagle offense unleashed a bit of an aerial attack with 12 completions for 101 yards between Ellison and Favian Upshaw. Ryan Longoria had five receptions for 43 yards.

“We’ve worked hard to improve the passing game, and we took a step forward tonight,” said Georgia Southern coach Willie Fritz. “We were able to run the ball effectively, and that opened some things up. Ryan Longoria had a few catches, and Myles Campbell made a nice catch on 3rd-and-long to keep a drive going.”

Ross Alexander and Darrius White each picked off passes, and Antwione Williams led the Eagles with nine tackles. Thomas Banks had a forced fumble on special teams, and Logan Hunt added a forced fumble and five tackles.

“Our guys did a great job with ball security,” said Fritz. “We were plus four in turnovers – that was pretty much the game. We got some timely takeaways, and I thought our defense played really well.”

Evan McField led The Citadel with 163 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. The attendance of 24,872 was the largest regular-season crowd in Paulson Stadium history.

The Eagles scored on their first five possessions of the night and tallied 13 points off of turnovers in the game. Alexander set the Eagles up deep in Bulldog territory with his first career interception on the third play of the contest, and Alex hanks nailed a 22-yard field goal to give the Eagles an early 3-0 cushion.

Georgia Southern took seven minutes off the clock with a 16-play drive on its next possession, and Ellison plunged into the end zone from a yard out for a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Fields ripped off a 25-yard run and three plays later, Breida found daylight for a 35-yard touchdown run and a 17-0 lead early in the second.

9/19/2015,Eddie Senkbeil

9/19/2015,Eddie Senkbeil

Breida’s long run put the Eagles on top 24-0 midway through the second, and Darrius White‘s interception and return set the Eagles up at the Bulldog 35-yard line. Ellison scrambled 13 yards to The Citadel 9-yard line and found a seam for a touchdown run on the next play for a 31-0 lead at halftime.

The Eagles travel to Idaho for their Sun Belt Conference opener next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. Eastern.

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Georgia Southern Postgame Notes

• GAME CAPTAINS: #14 Tay Hicklin, #16 Antonio Glover, #46 Cody Rediger, #56 Roscoe Byrd

• Georgia Southern wore blue helmets, with blue jerseys and white pants today. The Eagles are now 6-1 in this combination under head coach Willie Fritz.

• Georgia Southern won the toss and deferred to the second half. The Eagles have won all three coin tosses this season.

• True freshman Jeremiah Culbreth got the start at left tackle in place of Max Magaña (ankle). He is the first true freshman to start along the offensive line under head coach Willie Fritz at Georgia Southern (two seasons) and just the second true freshman to start a game at any position under Fritz. Kameron Maye started the ULM game at wide receiver last year, his only start. Darien Foreman, a senior on this year’s squad, was the last true freshman to start a game on the offensive line for the Eagles, starting at left guard against The Citadel in 2012. Dorrian Byrd started all 15 games at left tackle as a true freshman in 2010.

Ross Alexander got his first career start, coming at defensive end, and responded with his first career interception on the first drive of the game. Darrius White recorded his first career interception in the second quarter. The Eagles have five interceptions in the past two games.

Logan Hunt (DE) and Myles Campbell (WR) both made their first career starts, as well.

Matt Breida carried the ball on Georgia Southern’s first play of the game, the 15th-straight game he has had his number called on the opening offensive snap. 

• With a 9-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter, Kevin Ellison became the 14th member of the 2,000-yard rushing club at Georgia Southern. He now has exactly 2,000 yards rushing for his career.

Ryan Longoria entered the game with one career receptions for the Eagles, but the Fullerton College transfer caught five passes in the game for 43 yards.

• Georgia Southern completed just three passes combined in the first two games, but the quarterback duo of Kevin Ellison and Favian Upshaw combined to complete 12 passes in the game, the second-most in the 15 games under Willie Fritz at Georgia Southern. The Eagles completed 13 passes at Georgia Tech last year.

• Breida scored two touchdowns in the game. His 87-yard scoring run in the second quarter was his ninth career scoring run of over 50 yards. That run is tied for the fourth-longest in program history. He had 159 yards rushing in the game, the ninth 100-yard game of his career.

• True freshman Wesley Fields scored his first career touchdown on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter.

• Georgia Southern ran for 383 yards in the game. The Eagles are now 10-1 under Willie Fritzwhen running for 300 yards or more in the game. It’s also the eighth straight home game GS has rushed for 300 or more yards.

• Attendance: 24,872. That’s the second-largest crowd in Paulson Stadium history and the largest in a regular season game.

Willie Fritz Postgame Quotes

“I was proud of our guys, this is a tough offense to prepare for in a short week. We played a lot of guys, I think everybody who was eligible to play had an opportunity to get in there and play tonight. We have been talking long and hard about becoming a better passing attack, and I thought we took a step in that direction this evening.”

“I thought we did a pretty good job of defending them, they’re a well-coached team.”

“By and large, particularly in the first three quarters, we were pretty sound.”

“It was a good atmosphere, I thought our crowd was into it. We love playing in front of a packed house.”

Credit GA Southern Sports

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