When they weren't dropping the football on the ground, Georgia Southern's run game was the star of the show in a 37-13 win over Texas State at Paulson Stadium.
Matt Breida crossed the 1,000 yard mark for the season and scored two touchdowns to lead his team once again in a victory. For the most part, the demons of the Appalachian State game were exercised as the home team reached 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Sun Belt. Breida finished with 205 yards, while rising star Wesley Fields 158 and one score.
And oh, what a score.
For Texas State (2-5, 1-2) it was more of the same as what could be the Fran Farewell Tour marches on.
Quarterback Kevin Ellison converted a fourth and short play and Breida scored from 37-yards out to open the scoring on Southern's first drive. Breida added a 47-yarder in the second quarter and was averaging more than 12 yards per carry at halftime.
The home team came into the game +3 in turnover margin but managed to erase all of it in the first half. Three times the offense fumbled and three times #TXST wound up with it. Credit to the Bobcat defense, particularly Aaron Shaw, for causing confusion and jumping on the loose balls.
But Texas State tended to give the ball back about four plays after getting it. They punted on their first two drives and managed only three points off the turnovers. Georgia Southern's second fumble gave Texas State first and goal from the eight. On fourth and goal from the 12, Lumi Kaba kicked a field goal. What could have been another three points wound up instead being a most awkward and unsuccessful fake.
A touchdown pass to Jafus Gaines was Texas State's only major success in the second half. Robert Lowe didn't have a bad game, but 91 yards with no scores wouldn't be nearly enough.
Again, credit there goes to Georgia Southern's defense. Antwione Williams, Ironhead Gallon and 310-pound Jay Ellison gave Bobcat quarterback Tyler Jones the Statesboro Blues pretty much all game. Antonio Glover picked up his sixth interception of the year late in the game and tied a school record in the process. Put another way, only one Southern receiver has more catches than Glover.
Fields and Kevin Ellison starred in the second half, along with a most unlikely hero in Younghoe Koo. The kicker connected on all three field goal tries, which is a huge accomplishment at Georgia Southern.
Texas State holds a good shot at a win next Saturday at 4 p.m. against hapless New Mexico State. Georgia Southern gets a nice long break before heading to southeast Alabama and Troy University for a 3:30 game Nov. 14.
Georgia Southern defensive leader Matt Dobson missed his second straight game after an injury suffered against NMSU. The Eagles don't play another game for 16 days, which fans hope is long enough for him to return.
The crowd of 14,212 wasn't the strongest to begin with, and once a little rain fell in the second quarter things got even worse:
Eagle fans are heading out of the stadium. The rain has stopped. pic.twitter.com/Hh5SIcT1Ha— George-Anne Sports (@GeorgeAnneSport) October 30, 2015
ESPN's announcers committed the cardinal sin of calling Georgia Southern "Georgia State" during the broadcast. To make up for it, they went ahead and gave the Eagles the win ahead of time.