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  • GSU defeats Furman 32-28

    GREENVILLE, S.C. - In the same vein as so many Furman-Georgia Southern games before, the Eagles' thrilling 32-28 win at Paladin Stadium Saturday went down to the wire and down to the goal line. Junior quarterback Jaybo Shaw (Flowery Branch, Ga.) ran for a four-yard score, his third touchdown of the day, with 67 seconds left in the game to give the Eagles their first and only lead. The Eagles (7-4, 5-3 SoCon) won their last three games to end the regular season.

    Shaw finished the game with a career-best 101 rushing yards on a Georgia Southern record 36 carries. Sophomore slotback J.J. Wilcox (Cairo, Ga.) had 107 yards on three receptions, including a long of 47 yards and another 41-yard catch. Freshman running back Robert Brown (Macon, Ga.) had 91 yards on 19 carries.

    "I am so proud of our team," said Eagles Head Coach Jeff Monken. "They kept fighting, and I'm just proud of the way they banded together, and fought, and kept believing. It was really an outstanding effort by our football team - a great job by our coaches, our defensive staff and our offensive staff did a tremendous job."

    Down 17-28 at the end of the third quarter, the Eagle defense held Furman scoreless in the final period and the offense scored on back-to-back drives to pull out the win. Shaw directed a 20-play drive, for a season-long 93 yards resulting in a Wilcox touchdown to pull Georgia Southern within five, 23-28. The Eagles went for the two-point conversion with Wilcox punching it through to narrow the score to 25-28 with 3:40 left in the game. The scoring drive was the longest of the season on all accounts, using 11:04 off the clock.

    The Paladins, playing their last game under Coach Bobby Lamb, started their next drive at their own 24. Jerry Williams picked up six yards and set up a third-and four when junior safety Derek Heyden forced Paladin quarterback Cody Worley to fumble near the Furman sideline. Junior defensive tackle Roderick Tinsley (Soperton, Ga.) recovered the ball for the Eagles and Georgia Southern started its drive at the Furman 33. Shaw ran for 14 yards to reset the downs, then moved the Eagles inside the Furman 20 with a six-yard gain.

    Shaw handed off to Brown for nine yards and a trip inside the Furman five. Shaw scored the four-yard touchdown to give the Eagles their first and only lead of the game. Mora kicked his 84th consecutive career point after for the 32-28 final.

    The Eagles trailed 7-0 after Worley threw a 71-yard long touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage and Ray Early converted the point after. After Furman recovered a fumble on Georgia Southern's first possession, the Paladins used just over a minute to travel 26 yards in three plays and take a 14-0 lead at the 12:48 mark of the first quarter. It was the third time this season the Eagles had been down 14-0.

    Georgia Southern picked up a first down on its next series, but punted back to Furman. The Paladins went three and out, with Chas Short's punt going out of bounds at the Georgia Southern 38. Junior slotback Nico Hickey (Columbus, Ga.) helped the Eagles to a first down with a 17-yard run on third-and -four. Shaw carried seven times on the Eagles' 10-play scoring drive, with his long carry of 18 mixed with short gains, crossing the goal line from three yards out, Furman 14, Georgia Southern 7.

    Getting the ball back on their own seven-yard line with a minute left in the first quarter, Wilcox brought the Eagles to their 13, Brown had a one-yard gain, then Shaw carried the next five times, converting on a fourth-and-one to keep the drive alive. The Eagles marched to the Furman 24-yard line where the Paladin defenders stopped Brown on third-and-seven. Junior Adrian Mora (Dalton, Ga.) connected on a 41-yard field goal, tying his longest of the year, to cut the Furman lead to 14-10.

    The Paladins responded with a 13-play drive, using Georgia Southern's penalty yards effectively, for first and goal at the GSU eight-yard line. The Paladins' Jerry Williams ran the ball twice to set up the Tersoo Uhaa one-yard touchdown and Early point after for a 21-10 Furman advantage.

    A fumble recovered by Furman put the Paladins at the GSU 37, but they could not advance as Worley's completion to Mims went for no gain with Josh Rowe (Opelika, Ala.) and John Douglas (Augusta, Ga.) on the coverage. Rowe and Darius Eubanks (Harlem, Ga.), sacked Worley and his next pass to Mims on third-and-18 fell incomplete.

    The Eagles went three and out, punting to Furman with the Paladins closing the half with a 21-10 lead.
    Georgia Southern scored on its first drive out of the second half. Darreion Robinson (Bishop, Ga.) and Shaw had back-to-back gains of 11 yards to put the Eagles at their own 40. Shaw picked up another three yards and Brown seven more before Shaw threw a 47-yard pass to Wilcox, who was pulled down at the four-yard line. Shaw gained three yards, but was stopped short of the goal. On Shaw's second attempt he scored the one-yard touchdown. Mora's point after put Eagles within one touchdown, 17-21, with 10:52 left to play in the third.

    Furman couldn't get past midfield and a bad snap on the punt provided an opportunity for Georgia Southern at the Furman 22. Brown's 19-yard scurry on the first play of the possession brought the Eagles to the Furman three-yard line. Shaw's attempts to get into the end zone were stopped by Furman's front line three times at the one-yard line. Brown had the final try, but the Furman defense stood. Furman took over at its own one.

    Two plays later, Williams fumbled and Eubanks recovered the ball at the Furman five. The possession was short-lived as Georgia Southern's fumble was picked up by Furman's Ryan Steed. Steed went 89 yards before being tackled by Wilcox at the GSU 8. Derek Heyden (Atlanta, Ga.) wrapped up Mike Brown for a four-yard loss, but Worley hit Paladin Tyler Maples for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Early converted the PAT and Furman extended its lead to 28-17 with 3:34 left in the third.

    NOTES: For the fourth straight year, the road team won the game... Georgia Southern's current three-game win streak is the first of that length since 2007, the same year the Eagles last posted seven wins... Shaw's three touchdowns, 36 carries and 101 rushing yards are all individual career bests... Georgia Southern dominated Furman in time of possession, 38:20 to Furman's 21:40...The Eagles are 7-0 in games where they have a time of possession greater than 30:00...Furman Head Coach Bobby Lamb, who announced his resignation Friday afternoon, had been with the program since 1982, his freshman year on campus... Lamb spent four years as a Paladin quarterback, 16 years as an assistant coach on staff and completed nine years as head coach... the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision bracket will be announced at 10 a.m. Eastern Time on ESPNU.