They ran the triple option.
That’s the biggest takeaway from the Georgia Southern Eagles’ easy 54-0 win over Savannah State: Yes, we are still running the option, and running it well.
To my untrained eye the O under Tyson Summers basically looked just the same as it has the last two years, a sort of hybrid option run out of the shotgun.
It was definitely an overmatched opponent, but that offense looked great as it sliced and diced down the field against the team from Savannah.
The Eagles came out wearing uniforms I’m still trying to convince myself that I don’t hate, with a hell of a lot of gold and almost no white. But it doesn’t matter. Favian Upshaw scored two quick touchdowns in GoDaddy Bowl-like fashion and the Eagles were off from there.
In fact, Upshaw may be threatening to wrestle away the top quarterback job from Kevin Ellison. The two have platooned the role for the past two seasons, with Ellison usually getting the first two drives and Upshaw coming in for the third.
But against SSU Upshaw ran in for the first two scores, and threw for the team’s fourth on a pretty nice pass to Matt Breida. It wasn’t all pretty for him, especially on the interception, but he was in control when on the field.
There was more passing than in the past. It’s going to take a while to get a real air attack in order, but at halftime the Eagles had 166 yards rushing to 109 passing, and the two quarterbacks completed nine of 11 passes.
That’s a whole lot more balanced than we’re used to. The question is what happens when a tough opponent lines up on the other side of the ball.
At running back it’s also clear Wesley Fields is the future. At this point I’m not sure it’s a step down at all when he’s in the game compared to Breida or LA Ramsby. They can all ball, let’s put it that way.
Fields also has a pretty sweet touchdown celebration.
Namaste to you, and namaste to you....@GSAthletics_FB #FunBelt pic.twitter.com/8SvO9sQGyw— #FunBelt (@SunBelt) September 3, 2016
In the second half Ellison’s game came to life as he added some vintage highlights. Ellison scored a running touchdown and later pitched it out to Breida for another six. Upshaw added a sort of screen pass to Fields to get himself back in the stat sheet.
Sophomore quarterback LaBaron Anthony took over for the garbage time fourth quarter and lead a solid drive capped off by a rushing score from sophomore running back Troy Stewart.
And while defense never gets the headlines, major shoutout to that side of the ball for earning the shutout. The young secondary passed every test and Savannah State never really even threatened to score.
Safety Robert “Two-Five” Brice got an interception, the Eagles recovered two fumbles and Florida State linebacker transfer Ukeme Eligwe had a solid debut with five tackles and a sack.
Overall there’s not a lot for Southern fans to complain about and we can call the warm-up game a success.
One other thing I’ve got to mention is the team poured Eagle Creek water on the new turf field to Christen it before the game. Which is just awesome.
The pace picks up considerably next week. Georgia Southern takes on a South Alabama team the Eagles beat comfortably the last two seasons. The problem? USA shocked the world with a 21-20 upset of Mississippi State Saturday.
It’s a great thing for the Sun Belt and for next week, really, as I like to watch my team take on quality opponents. But this South Alabama team might put up a lot more of a fight than the last two editions.