Norfolk, VA (Sports Network) - To say that all a team needs to do is stop the
run when facing Georgia Southern is an understatement.
There's no doubt the Eagles are going to run the ball, the only question
is, how do you slow them down?
Saturday, it was clear Old Dominion still hadn't figured out the GSU triple
option attack. Dominique Swope rushed for a game-high 186 yards and two
touchdowns, quarterback Jerick McKinnon rushed for 171 yards and four
touchdowns, and the Eagles enjoyed a 602-yard ground assault on the way to a
49-35 victory in the FCS quarterfinals.
Georgia Southern outscored ODU 28-0 in the fourth quarter to knock the
Monarchs out of the playoffs for the second straight year. The Eagles (10-3)
also advanced to the semifinals for the third straight year under third-year
coach Jeff Monken. The six-time national champions will face either North
Dakota State or Wofford next weekend.
"These kids just fought so hard, and I'm so proud of the effort of our
players and everyone associated with our team," Georgia Southern coach Jeff
Monken said. "We got down 14 and battled and fought and believed in each
other. We carry that black flag as a symbol that we will never surrender, and
we did not surrender today and haven't surrendered all season."
Last season, in a playoff matchup at Georgia Southern, the Eagles totaled
607 yards and rushed for 477, in a 55-48 shootout. The results were similar
Saturday as the Eagles finished with 632 total yards.
Georgia Southern overcame a 35-21 deficit after three quarters to tie the game
on McKinnon's second and third touchdowns of the game.
On ODU's ensuing drive, coach Bobby Wilder gambled with a 4th-and-6 on his
team's 39-yard line, and quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw an incompletion as
ODU turned the ball over on downs.
"That was a huge shift in momentum, and you have to have things like that
happen and go your way to believe," Monken said. "That was a big play in the
Three plays later, Swope scored a 12-yard run, giving Georgia Southern a 42-35
lead with 2:36 left in the game.
On ODU's next play, Heinicke threw his first interception of the 2012 playoffs
- only his 14th of the season - as senior safety J.J. Wilcox snagged his pass
away from Nick Mayers with 2:28 remaining.
McKinnon then sealed the win with his fourth touchdown with 46 seconds left.
Heinicke broke Steve McNair's FCS single-season passing yardage record on
ODU's first offensive drive of the second half, with a 40-yard completion to
Mayers. The sophomore went on to complete 31-of-44 passes for 421 yards and
three touchdowns to become the first FCS signal-caller to surpass 5,000 yards
Heinicke set another FCS single-season record with 398 completions, surpassing
Brett Gordon's 386 for Villanova in 2002. He also led ODU with 48 rushing
yards and one touchdown.
Georgia Southern had two different place-kickers miss field goals in the
first half. Alex Hanks missed a 46-yard attempt and junior Luke Cherry missed
a 30-yarder on the first kick of his career, which allowed ODU to take a 21-14
lead into halftime.
The first turnover of the game for either team came during a crucial moment
with ODU driving early in the fourth quarter. Heinicke was sacked by Dion
DuBose, forcing a fumble which was recovered by the Eagles on their own
21-yard line. ODU led 35-28 with 11:04 to play.
McKinnon then led the Eagles on a 12-play, 79-yard drive and capped it off
with his third rushing touchdown of the game, evening the score at 35 with
Georgia Southern's Darreion Robinson rushed for 76 yards on four carries,
Johnathan Bryant had 71 yards and Tray Butler added 46 yards.
Old Dominion totaled 534 yards of offense, and receivers Antonio Vaughan and
Mayers had huge games. They accounted for 16 receptions for 296 yards and
three touchdowns in the loss.
The Sports Network