It wasn’t the Georgia Southern offense everyone has come to expect this season, but the Eagles ran the ball effectively and played just enough defense to pick up the 28-23 victory over Old Dominion on Saturday.
Jalen White powered Southern’s offense from the running back spot, seeing a whopping 30 carries for 138 yards and a touchdown in a gameplan that looked more reminiscent of the Eagles option attack of the last few years. Gerald Green also saw ample opportunity from the backfield, toting the ball 12 times for 91 yards and a score of his own.
GS quarterback Kyle Vantrease saw much less volume throwing the ball in this one than he did in last week’s record setting performance over James Madison, finishing an efficient 22-of-27 for 192 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.
Defensively, Georgia Southern put on its best performance of the season, giving up fewer than 30 points for just the third time all season and did not require the offense to put up points in bunches to pull out the win.
For Old Dominion, its offense played well enough, but stalled out within the red zone on more than one occasion which led to missed opportunities for points.
Monarchs kicker Ethan Sanchez botched a pair of gimme field goals from within 30 yards that would have given ODU the win had it gotten those six points on the board.
Old Dominion running back Blake Watson was effective, but was far from the massive performance he put on against Coastal Carolina seven days ago, notching 108 yards and a score this week. With Watson mostly bottled up outside of a 47-yard run, it was all on quarterback Hayden Wolff (328 yards, 1 TD) and receiver Ali Jennings III (9 catches for 130 and a score) to win the game.
Following a Sanchez field goal to close the first quarter, Georgia Southern scored a pair of touchdowns on an Amare Jones receiving score and White’s run to take a 14-3 lead into half. From there, Southern kept pounding away with White and Green while ODU continually settled for threes instead of sixes.
Without an ancillary piece to help take the heat off Wolff and Jennings, the Monarchs were forced to kick field goals five times, which wasn’t good enough to overcome the constant rushing attack of Georgia Southern.
The Eagles will get a BYE next week before returning to Paulson Stadium to take on South Alabama on Nov. 5, while ODU will look to rebound next week when it travels to Atlanta to take on Georgia State.