Back Tyler Bass, Playmaker

Tyler Bass, Playmaker

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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The star junior converted all three of his tries in the Camellia Bowl, ending the first half with a record 50-yard boot, then ending the game with a now-iconic 40-yarder.

In Georgia Southern's dramatic Camellia Bowl triumph over Eastern Michigan, kicker Tyler Bass was the game's best player. The star junior converted all three of his field goal tries for the Eagles, ending the first half with a record 50-yard boot, then ending the game with a now-iconic 40-yarder as time expired. Bass, 18-of-20 on the year, continues to be the embodiment of the Georgia Southern brand; bold, fearless and steadfast. Beyond being one of the nation's top kickers, Bass is proving to be one of college football's premier players. History is taking note.  

For all of the big plays in the Eagles' comeback win, including a 29-yard 4th down scramble by quarterback Shai Werts on the final drive, Bass, fittingly, was always the exclamation point. Eastern Michigan did not return a single kickoff as Bass promptly complimented each score with a touchback. Momentum followed his foot into the halftime break after the longest field goal ever at the Camellia Bowl. Bass' game-winner, bringing head coach Chad Lunsford to his knees in emotion, now stands as one of the most memorable plays in Georgia Southern lore.   

The victory was, in many ways, one for the record books. In addition to securing the Eagles' first ten-win season at the FBS level, Georgia Southern is now one of just two teams all-time to immediately follow up a year with double-digit losses with a season with double-digit wins. Tradition, with the Eagles on national television, was on clear display. As Bass ran across the field as his deciding attempt split the uprights, he sprinted in the shadows of Tracy Ham, Adrian Peterson and Matt Breida; Erk Russell to Chad Lunsford, it's a path the game has never before seen. 

Already, Bass has a profile with very few peers. He, this fall, is one of just five kickers in the country with a 90% conversion rate. Of that group, he has the most field goals of any player without a missed extra point. Powerful, accurate and clutch, Bass is 30-for-33 on tries over his last 21 games. His junior season stacks up as one of the best in Sun Belt history. Bass, a consistent producer at Georgia Southern, kicked multiple field goals for the Eagles in eight different contests this season.

Bass is adding to the near-perfect Statesboro standard set by his predecessor, 2016 Lou Groza Award finalist Younghoe Koo.  

Bass is a playmaker, a tone-setter, a game-changer. He has added to Georgia Southern's remarkable legacy. He has added new meaning to the phrase True Blue.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports