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  • Eagles open 2012 season with 58-0 win over Jacksonville University
    Statesboro, Ga - Georgia Southern sophomore quarterback Ezayi Youyoute rushed for a career-high 164 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start, and sophomore running back Dominique Swope ran for 104 yards with three scores to lead the third-ranked Eagles to a 58-0 football victory over Jacksonville Saturday night at Paulson Stadium.

    Georgia Southern (1-0) rolled up 557 yards of offense, all via the ground. The Eagles scored touchdowns on all four of their offensive possessions in the first quarter, and their 27 first-period points were the most the team has scored since an Oct. 20, 2007, victory over Appalachian State.

    It was Georgia Southern’s 11th straight home win, as the Eagles improved to 15-2 in season openers at Paulson Stadium. The Eagles pitched their first shutout since Oct. 23, 2010, when they defeated The Citadel 20-0.

    Youyoute carried the ball 11 times, and his first rush of the game went for a 79-yard score. Swope averaged eight yards a carry on 13 attempts. Jerick McKinnon added 71 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, while Robert Brown had three carries for 63 yards.

    Darius Eubanks led Georgia Southern with six tackles, while J.J. Wilcox, Lavelle Westbrooks, Zach York and Valdon Cooper recorded interceptions. The Eagle defense gave up just 178 yards in the contest.

    "I am really proud of their effort," said Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken. "To shut anybody out is tough, and that's a good football team. The defensive front did a real nice job controlling the line of scrimmage."

    Cade Bell rushed for 31 yards and threw for 56 markers to lead the Dolphins (0-1).

    Jacksonville won the toss and elected to kick off, and Youyoute’s 79-yard scamper came on the second play from scrimmage. The Eagles’ second possession resulted in an 8-play, 67-yard drive and another Youyoute touchdown run, this time from 11 yards out.

    McKinnon keyed the third GSU score with 28-yard run, and Swope finished it with a 1-yard scoring plunge to make the margin 20-0. Westbrooks picked off a Bell pass to set up the Eagles fourth score of the quarter, returning it 24 yards to the Jacksonville 30-yard line. Swope went 19 yards five plays later to put the Eagles on top 27-0.

    "A lot of things went well, and I thought in the first quarter, we made some plays," said Monken. "We didn't do as much the rest of the night, and we weren't scoring as quick. There was a lot of things we did well. I thought our kids played hard."

    The Eagles fumbled on their first possession of the second period, and Jacksonville’s Jamual Christopher returned it 29 yards to the GSU 41-yard line. But Cooper intercepted a pass by Treviu Folston two plays later, and took it 60 yards for a touchdown. It was the first interception return for a touchdown by an Eagle since Laron Scott returned an interception 36 yards for a score in a 38-21 win over Elon Sept. 25, 2010.

    The Eagles used a long drive to cap the scoring in the first half, going 66 yards in 10 plays and eating up 4:52 on the clock. Swope keyed the drive with a 16-yard rush and capped it with a 1-yard touchdown run that made the margin 41-0 heading into the break.

    If there was a chink in the Georgia Southern armor, it was in the passing game. Three GSU signal callers combined to go 0-for-8 in pass attempts with two interceptions. But the Eagles averaged 8.3 rushing yards on 67 attempts for the game and are now 7-0 in the modern era when passing for zero yards.

    Jacksonville’s best chance to score came on their first kick return as Colby Walden appeared to take it 89 yards for a score, but a flag for a block in the back was thrown on the play. On the ensuing drive, Jacksonville drove into GSU territory and attempted a 50-yard field goal which missed wide left.

    The Eagles open Southern Conference play next Saturday at The Citadel. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.