Georgia Southern started Saturday’s contest against FCS Morgan State slowly, but strong 3rd and 4th quarters allowed the Eagles to pick up a win in the opening week of the season, 59-7.
Southern’s new offense hinged on the arm of grad transfer Kyle Vantrease, who looked uneasy early but locked in during the second half, tossing four touchdown passes to go along with 367 yards as the new look Eagles offense creamed Morgan State.
Wideouts Sam Kenerson and Khaleb Hood were the primary beneficiaries of the new offensive scheme, reeling in 99 and 88 yards receiving respectively, with Hood ripping off a 46-yard touchdown on a screen pass in the early third quarter.
At half, Georgia Southern was nursing just a 10-point lead, 17-7, but scored 42 unanswered points to close out the game. One area on offense that was particularly surprising was the (lack of) run game. Southern notched 29 attempts on the ground, but averaged just 4.4 yards per carry and looked disjointed running the ball at times.
Defensively, the Eagles looked sharp throughout the entirety of the game, and were much improved in the secondary, which was a major sore spot last season. GS surrendered just 78 yards passing to its opponent and picked off three passes in the victory.
In fact, the defense was so impressive, it did not surrender a point throughout the entire contest. The Bears lone score came off an errant throw by Vantrease that was returned for a touchdown in the first quarter, knotting the game at 7.
But a groundswell of offense finally came late in the game, along with this impressive touchdown catch right before half, leading to the blowout win for Georgia Southern.
The Eagles certainly will need to start faster next week when it travels to Lincoln to take on the Cornhuskers, but this performance was at least a good sign that Southern will stop playing down to FCS opponents in season openers.