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  • Eagles march past The Citadel, 28-21

    STATESBORO, Ga. In a series that has seen nearly half of its games decided by seven points or less, Georgia Southern took the 28-21 win with a fourth-quarter drive capped by a four-yard touchdown score by starting quarterback Kevin Ellison. After taking a 20-7 lead into the fourth quarter, Georgia Southern fought off The Citadel as it took a brief 21-20 lead with back-to-back scores.

    "It's important, it's a big win," said Georgia Southern Head Coach Jeff Monken. "I'm sure the guys were feeling the heat after the loss to Samford. I'm proud of the way we won. Our guys are willing to fight, and they want still want to win. Our guys are fighting tooth and nail, because of what they have developed as a team; they've developed a sense of loyalty to each other."

    McKinnon, who started at the B-Back position, led Georgia Southern with 198 yards rushing on 32 carries, and scored two touchdowns. Ellison guided the Eagles to the win with 135 yards rushing and went 7-10 from the air for 138 yards. McKinnon, the Walter Payton Award candidate, ran for 59 yards in the Eagles' scoring drive, including a physical 30-yard rush up the middle to put the Eagles inside the Bulldog 10 yard line with a full set of downs. After Ellison's touchdown run, he added two more points for Georgia Southern with a pass to Devin Scott to reclaim a seven-point lead.

    What remained was a long 1:51.

    A combination of pressure by the defensive line and coverage by the defensive backs frustrated Miller and his first two passes fell incomplete. His third pass to Darien Robinson put them at the Bulldogs' own 32 with a pickup of only four yards. After the Bulldog timeout, Miller hit Thompson for just enough, 11 yards, for the first down, then hit three more passes for 14 yards to reach the Georgia Southern side of the field and to make Eagle fans a little nervous.

    Miller's next two passes fell incomplete with coverage by Deion Stanley and Nick Wright while freshman Bernard Dawson forced Miller to scramble. After a Bulldog penalty, only the second of the game for the least-penalized team in the nation, Miller's deep pass fell incomplete.

    A key penalty and turnover helped quickly get The Citadel back into the game and then take the lead. A long pass by Matt Thompson to Jake Stenson was out of reach, but a defensive pass interference call automatically added 15 yards on the Bulldogs' position. After two running plays, Miller went to the passing game again, and hit Bulldog Brandon Eakins to bring The Citadel to the Georgia Southern 15 and an eventual Terrance Martin 13-yard score, trimming the Eagle lead to 20-14.

    Georgia Southern took possession of the ball, but with 9:43 left in the game, the battle turned in favor of the Bulldogs as Akeem Garrett recovered a Georgia Southern fumble in its own backfield. He scored on the 36-yard return to put The Citadel up by one, 21-20 midway through the final quarter.

    The Citadel got on the board first, and quickly, using only one play, a 73-yard keeper by quarterback Ben Dupree for a 7-0 Bulldog lead on the first drive. Georgia Southern answered back, tying the game using a similar approach, as quarterback Kevin Ellison handed off to McKinnon for a 63-yard carry to the Citadel three to set up his own touchdown two plays later. The Georgia Southern defense, which shined all afternoon, holding the Bulldogs to only 63 rushing yards in the final three quarters, kept The Citadel off the scoreboard for the second and third quarters. McKinnon and Johnathan Bryant put up touchdowns for the Eagles to break the 7-7- tie.

    Ellison opened Georgia Southern's first offensive possession of the second quarter with a 45-yard pass to B.J. Johnson, a career-best for Johnson. The Eagles had solid field position and Ellison's air assault put them inside The Citadel's 20-yard line. After two McKinnon rushes to the Bulldog nine and a fumble forward for a two-yard gain, McKinnon found the endzone on fourth-and-one for his second touchdown of the afternoon.
    Helping the Eagles' cause to open the second half, Ellison held onto the ball for a 53-yard rush and in doing so, tied his career long, bringing them inside the Bulldog 25. Another pass to Johnson, for 14 yards, put the offense at The Citadel five. Bryant went in for the three-yard score from the left side as the Eagles took their largest lead at 20-7 at the 11:02 mark of the third quarter.

    Senior linebacker Kyle Oehlbeck led the Eagles with nine tackles, including two for loss while he broke free to disrupt The Citadel offense. James Riley and Carl Robinson each had 10 tackles for the Bulldogs. Georgia Southern's Edwin Jackson and Matt Dobson each had six total tackles.

    The Citadel quarterback Ben Dupree had 99 yards rushing as the team leader. Eakins had three catches for 43 yards to lead the Bulldogs in that category.