Georgia Southern scores 23 unanswered, beats Louisiana-Monroe 23-21

The Georgia Southern Eagles hosted the Louisiana-Monroe WarHawks in both teams’ Sun Belt Conference openers Saturday night. It was a back and forth game that saw the Eagles mount a comeback after being down 14-0 early in the game.

The Eagles scored 23 unanswered points after going down early to the WarHawks, who used two big plays to open an early two-touchdown lead over the home team. The Eagles’ defense was the story of the game as they made some big plays near the end of the game to preserve the victory over their Sun Belt opponent.

Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Garrett Smith had a big first quarter, going 5-6 with 139 yards and a touchdown. His first was to Xavier Brown, who made some athletic moves to get into the endzone from 32 yards out.

The Georgia Southern offense was stagnant for the first quarter as their first three drives ended in punts. On their third offensive drive of the quarter, the Warhawks were backed up inside their own 30 yard line.

Smith found receiver Marcus Green on a big completion for 65 yards. Smith then finished off the drive on the next play with a seven-yard run into the endzone.

On the ensuing drive, the Eagles finally got their offense going as they went on a 2:24 drive to get on the scoreboard. Running back L.A. Ramsby found room on a 22-yard run, the biggest play of the drive capped off by a six yard run by quarterback Kevin Ellison.

The Eagles added a field goal late in the half and were trailing at halftime for the first time this season as the score was 14-10 in favor of Louisiana-Monroe. Kicker Younghoe Koo added two field goals in the third quarter to give the Eagles a 16-14 lead and making it a career high for field goals made in a game for him.

Georgia Southern built onto their lead later in the third quarter as running back Wesley Fields found his way into the endzone from two-yards out, making the score 23-14.

The WarHawks wasted little time getting back on the board as they got into the endzone for the first time since the first quarter. Smith found Green again, but this time from 10 yards out and in the endzone, making the score 23-21 at the end of the third quarter.

The WarHawks came up big on defense and forced a punt and then drove down into the redzone. A big sack by Chris De La Rosa backed Louisiana-Monroe up to the 25, bringing on Craig Ford for a potentially game-winning field goal from 42 yards out.

However, the Eagles came up big as RJ Murray blocked the field and Georgia Southern was able to recover the kick at their own 43-yard line.

The Eagles ended up winning the game by a final of 23-21 to move to 3-0 on the season. Ramsby finished the night with 86 yards on the ground while Fields added 74 yards and a touchdown.

Linebacker Ironhead Gallon finished the night with 10 tackles and one for loss. Eligwe had nine tackles and an interception.

The Eagles next play at Western Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 24.

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