There were definite modifications, but not any Chris Hatcher considered the halftime variety.
Georgia Southern trailed 14-3 at the break and 17-6 in the fourth quarter before putting together a dominating fourth quarter to knock off The Citadel Saturday. The Eagles outscored the Bulldogs 15-0 in the final period to seal the 21-17 win and push The Citadel out of first place in the Southern Conference.
“We make adjustments throughout the whole entire ballgame,” the GSU coach said. “(The Bulldogs) played exactly like we thought they’d play us in the first half — everything we’d seen on video tape. They did the same thing in the second half. In the second half we played like we were capable of playing.”
One change for the Eagles (6-2, 3-2) included going away from the two-quarterback system that worked so well the previous week at Appalachian State. In the second half Georgia Southern wisely handed the game to senior quarterback Jayson Foster, who scored twice late to pull GSU though.
Backup Billy Lowe didn’t attempt a pass or record a carry in the second half after going 4-for-8 for 20 yards and running the ball twice for six yards in the first two quarters.
“This week we just didn’t complete the passes that we needed to, so we went back to letting the o-line take care of the game,” Foster said. “We’ve just got to do a better job of executing.”
It was defense that carried the Eagles, holding the Bulldog’s to 33 points below their average. Hatcher said it was hands down the defense’s best performance to date.
“It’s a big confidence boost to show what you can do against a high-scoring team,” defensive end Larry Beard said. “But we’ve got to make sure we do the same thing this week.”
A depleted Eagle defense caught a break when a knee injury took star Citadel quarterback Duran Lawson out
of the game late in the fourth quarter. Clinging to a 21-17 lead, GSU forced the Bulldogs to go three-and-out on their final two drives.
Before leaving, Lawson threw for 153 yards and two touchdowns and tallied 109 rushing yards.
“It definitely had an effect,” Eagle linebacker E.J. Webb said of Lawson’s absence. “With the starting quarterback, your offense goes a lot smoother. The offense had to get into a whole different rhythm. When he wasn’t in there it helped out tremendously.”
The tough road continues for the Eagles, who travel to Spartanburg, S.C., to face league-leading Wofford in a 1:30 p.m. game Saturday.