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Georgia Southern Outlasts Ranked James Madison

By: Justin Gray

The Georgia Southern Eagles hosted the #25 Ranked James Madison Dukes for a Sun Belt shootout in Statesboro. The Eagles have been playing a great brand of football all season and were poised for this matchup with James Madison. The offense was ready to fire on all cylinders and they did just that.

It was a slow start, punting on the first drive then JMU going up 7-0. After a few more non productive drives, the Eagles found themselves down 14-0 early. The Eagles responded with a six play 75 yard drive capped off by a touchdown pass from Kyle Vantrease to Amare Jones. Immediately after forcing a three and out the Eagles blocked a punt and took it back for a touchdown to make it tied 14-14. JMU drove it down and settled for a field goal. The game got sloppy before half with both teams combining for two interceptions, a turnover on downs and a missed field goal. Going into the half the score was 17-14 JMU.

The Eagles needed a flawless second half to pull off the upset. Right out of the gate JMU took it right down the field for the touchdown. The Eagles responded on the next play as Kyle Vantrease hit Amare Jones again in stride for the 75 yard touchdown pass to keep the Eagles in the game. The Eagles defense came up big and stopped JMU on downs. After a punt by both teams, Eagles kicker Alex Raynor knocked it through for a field goal tying the game at 24. The Eagles defense forced another punt and got the ball back to their offence and after a long drive, Vantrease dumped it off to Jalen White and he took it 37 yards for the score. The Eagles were now up 31-24 and they forced a fumble and got another field goal making it 34-24.

After the Eagles couldn’t put the game away JMU scored a touchdown making it 34-31. The Eagles had to settle for another field goal. The next drive JMU drove it down and scored again to take the lead late 38-37. The Eagles moved down the field on 10 plays in 1:18 and threw up a 22 yards pass to Derwin Burgess in the end zone and he came down with the ball for the touchdown. They converted the two and went up 45-38 with little time left to play. The Eagles intercepted the JMU QB and sealed a huge win.

This marks the third time in GSU history that the Eagles have knocked off a ranked team. Kyle Vantrease was definitely the player of the game throwing for 578 yards and four touchdowns. The Eagles had three WRs go for over 100 receiving yards, Amare Jones, Khaleb Hood, and Jeremy Singleton. The defense forced four interceptions. This was a great win for the Eagles, but it's on to the next because they head to Norfolk, Virginia to play Old Dominion next Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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