It wasn’t always pretty, but Georgia Southern added to Saturday’s Sun Belt collection of Power 5 defeats with a 45-42 victory against Nebraska on Saturday night.
The Eagles compiled a whopping 642 yards of total offense in the win, with 409 coming off of the arm of Kyle Vantrease. The QB tossed one passing score, and ultimately rushed in the game winning touchdown against the Cornhuskers with 36 seconds to go in regulation to give GS its second win of the season.
Southern played a complete game on the offensive side of the ball in this one, rushing for 223 yards as a team, paced by running back Gerald Green, who ran for 132 yards on just 10 carries and notched 2 touchdowns. Derwin Burgess Jr. anchored the receiving corps, hauling in 12 grabs for 112 yards and giving the signal caller a reliable target on multiple occasions.
The lone negative on offense were the turnovers, as Vantrease threw a couple of picks that made the win more of an uphill climb than it probably needed to be.
This was almost a game of what-if’s, as Georgia Southern squandered two possessions near the goal line, one right before halftime that came away with zero points, and another where the Eagles had to eventually settle for a field goal from Nebraska’s 2 to make it 38-35.
As for the defense,
*takes a long deep breath*
They simply were outmatched, and very rarely contributed winning plays for the Eagles, giving up 575 yards of their own and making every True Blue fan chew their fingernails to the quick as time expired in this one. Zero turnovers forced and 35 points allowed puts a lot of undue pressure on an offense to score a touchdown each time it gets its hands on the ball or potentially lose the game.
Ultimately, a hooked 52-yard field goal attempt by Cornhuskers kicker Timmy Bleekrode as time expired allowed Clay Helton and company to escape Lincoln with its first victory over a Power 5 opponent since its 2013 win in the Swamp against Florida.
While there are still many things that the Eagles need to improve on both on defense and offense, you simply cannot understate the magnitude a win like this has on a program, especially in Helton’s first year at the helm for Georgia Southern.
This is the type of win GS can sell potential recruits on, which is worth its weight in gold.