SoCon Weekend Review
By Russell V.
Follow us at Twitter.com/SouthernPigskin. Become a fan at the SouthernPigskin.com Facebook Page
GSU wore down Maine. Just look at time of possession – the Eagles had the ball for 42:24 while Maine just had it for 17:36.
Prior to their game against the Maine Black Bears, Eagles head coach Jeff Monken said his team would have to play their best game of the year in order to win. While they may not have played perfectly or as well as Monken would have liked (just look at how angry he got on the sidelines at times), Georgia Southern did do enough to take down Maine and advance to the NCAA semifinals for the second consecutive year.
Georgia Southern 35, Maine 23
Literally and figuratively, Georgia Southern wore down the Black Bears. Just look at time of possession – the Eagles had the ball for 42:24 while Maine just had it for 17:36. Maine, if I remember correctly, ran just two plays in the first quarter. About midway through the third quarter, total plays looked like this: Maine 19, Georgia Southern 52. The home team also went 8-13 on third down and converted two of three fourth down conversion attempts. It seemed like every Eagles drive was at least a seven-play drive and that took its toll on the Maine defense.
JJ Wilcox led the rushing attack for the Eagles, finishing with 99 yards and two touchdowns, and Dominique Swope added another 81 of his own. Jaybo Shaw finished 7 for 8 for 116 yards and a touchdown to go along with his two rushing scores as Georgia Southern put up 476 yards on a Maine defense that shut down Appalachian State’s offense just a week prior.
The defense did their part as well. Brent Russell, in the shocker of the century, led the defense yet again with six tackles, half a sack and one and a half tackles for loss and Laron Scott added five tackles and two pass breakups. Not to be overlooked is Darius Eubanks and Jerick McKinnon (yes, as in backup quarterback and running back Jerick McKinnon) who combined to pick off Maine quarterback Warren Smith three times as the Eagles held Maine under 300 yards of total offense.
Of course, the Eagles were not perfect – they did finish with 12 penalties for 93 yards, something they have to work on if they hope to get to the championship game. But now it gives Monken something to have his players focus in the upcoming week.
Now, the Eagles set their sights on North Dakota State and the impending trip up north for their semifinal matchup. The Bison, the no. 2 seed in the playoffs, are coming off a 24-0 shutout victory over Lehigh and have one of the few stadiums in the country that can get nearly as loud as Paulson Stadium. Sam Ojuri led the Bison attack with 125 yards on 16 carries and Brock Jensen added two one-yard touchdown plunges. We will get into more detail about this game later in the week, but I’ll say now that it is sure to be a dandy.
Mountaineers earn their degrees
BOONE, N.C. — Twenty-five student-athletes are among the Appalachian State University students that will receive degrees during ASU’s winter commencement ceremonies, which will take place on Sunday at the Holmes Center.
The 25 Mountaineer student-athletes that will receive degrees on Sunday include:
Cedric Baker Boney (football — recreation management)
Katie Boyd (softball — exercise science)
Michelle Brutus (women’s track and field — social sciences, education)
Travaris Cadet (football — criminal justice)
Lindsey Carmen (field hockey — social work)
Tim Daly (men’s track and field — criminal justice)
Josh Dowdy* (baseball — building sciences)
Crystal Dukes (women’s track and field — social work)
Kurt Frisbee (baseball — management)
Orry Frye (football — computer information systems)
Jerod Gardner (men’s track and field — criminal justice)
Antonio Harley (men’s soccer — apparel and textiles)
Brandon Hudgins^ (men’s track and field — exercise science)
Ben Jorden (football — communication/electronic media-broadcasting)
Justin Lloyd (football — marketing)
Brandon Olsen (football — industrial design)
Matt Ruff (football — communication studies)
Steven Sassano (men’s soccer — management)
Phillip Strickland (football — health promotion)
Xan Thomas (football — building sciences)
Brandon Thompson (football — building sciences)
Ryan Twiford (men’s cross country/track and field — building sciences)
Jason Wallace (baseball — actuarial sciences)
Robert Welton* (football — communication studies)
Anthony Wilson (football — computer information systems)
* returned to ASU to complete degree
^ graduate degree