By Marc Gignac
Special to College Sports Journal
Editor’s Note: This story is courtesy of GSEagles.com
STATESBORO, GA. – Kevin Ellison rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown and threw for 64 yards and a score to lead Georgia Southern to its 11th straight Sun Belt Conference victory, a 56-26 decision over New Mexico State before a crowd of 23,551 Saturday night in Paulson Stadium.
Matt Breida carried 13 times for 137 yards and a touchdown for the Eagles (5-1, 3-0), and L.A. Ramsby rushed 11 times for 85 yards and two touchdowns. Favian Upshaw and Wesley Fields each scored two touchdowns in the contest. Georgia Southern rolled up 507 yards on the ground.
“Our offensive line did a good job of creating creases,” said Georgia Southern coach Willie Fritz. “Wesley Fields had a fantastic ball game, Breida played another good game, Ramsby and Kevin rushed the ball really well. We had 507 rushing yards, and that’s difficult to do. I told the guys at halftime, ‘This is the exact same situation as Louisiana-Monroe a coouple weeks ago – we need to do a good job of finishing without giving them life,’ and we didn’t quite do that. But as a coach, you always harp on things you can do better.”
Andrew Allen completed 20-of-37 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns to lead New Mexico State (0-6, 0-2), and Larry Rose III rushed for 83 yards and caught five passes for 31 yards.
Georgia Southern built a 28-0 lead midway through the second quarter and led 35-7 at halftime. Ellison provided a bulk of the offense with both his legs and arm in the half. With the Eagles leading 14-0, the junior signal caller ran the keeper around the right side and down the sideline for a 67-yard touchdown run, the longest of his career.
After New Mexico State trimmed the deficit to 28-7 late in the second quarter, Ellison connected with Fields for a 60-yard touchdown pass. Ellison rolled right and threw back to the left over the outstretched hands of an Aggie defender and into the mitts of Fields, who juked a few Aggies and went the distance for a 35-7 cushion. It was Georgia Southern’s first touchdown pass in over a year and helped Ellison become the sixth Eagle to throw for over 2,000 career yards.
The Eagles blocked a punt for the third straight contest to set up the opening score of the game, a 19-yard touchdown run by Fields. Breida notched his 10th rushing touchdown of the season, a 20-yard run, to give the Eagles a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter.
After Ellison’s long TD run, Matt Dobson broke up a pass on 4th-and-3 to give Georgia Southern the ball at the New Mexico State 47-yard line. Upshaw threw to Myles Campbell for a 12-yard pickup, and Ramsby ran 23 yards for a touchdown and a 28-0 lead midway through the second.
After Allen found Rose III for a 3-yard touchdown pass, Breida scampered 55 yards to set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Ramsby. Antonio Glover’s fifth pick of the season set up a 5-yard touchdown run for Upshaw with 5:20 left in the third quarter, and the junior quarterback capped a 14-play, 56-yard drive with a 29-yard run early in the fourth that made the score 56-14.
“We have a big game Thursday night with a short week of preparation,” said Fritz. “We need to put this in the rear view mirrior and move on to Appalachian State.”
The Eagles have a short week before traveling to Appalachian State for a Sun Belt Conference showdown Thursday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.
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