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  • Eagles drop St. Francis 59-16
    – For the Georgia Southern Football team, it was an unconventional win, but a win it was as the Eagles used a balanced attack in their 59-17 victory over St. Francis Saturday night. Senior running back William Banks ran for his third multiple touchdown game, scoring twice in the third quarter, including a career-long 46-yard dash to the endzone. Georgia Southern ran for 306 yards and threw for 245 yards as it scored seven touchdowns, kicked three field goals and registered a safety. It was the most passing yards by a Georgia Southern team since tallying 232 in a September 2009 contest at South Dakota State.

    The winning team had possessed the ball for only 5:41 at halftime, there was a team safety and a declined 53-yard offensive gain. All that aside, the Georgia Southern offense kicked it into gear in the second half for the decisive win.

    “There are still areas where we have got to improve,” said Georgia Southern Head Coach Jeff Monken. “I hope that the biggest improvement doesn't happen between games one and two, but between games one and 11. I hope that we will get better this week and learn from the mistakes we made -- you should as a football team and that is our job as a staff. It is my responsibility to make sure that our team gets better and improves each week. I was encouraged with the second half and the things that we did. We are going to play some really good football teams this year, and we are not going to be able to afford to make some of the mistakes we have made.”

    The third quarter belonged to Georgia Southern as it recorded three of its touchdowns and added the safety and one of Alex Hanks’ field goals to outscore the Red Flash 26-3 in the period. Senior quarterback Jerick McKinnon hit his second touchdown pass of the night with a 50-yard toss to Montay Crockett for the one-play score, taking only six seconds off the clock. The Eagles recorded a team safety on the kickoff to push the score to 43-7 at the 10:40 mark.

    Redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Ellison opened the Eagles’ next drive with a 15-yard pass and freshman Chris Jordan ran for nine yards, but the Eagle drive stalled with penalties. McKinnon hit Zach Walker for a nine-yard pass and Torrance Hunt pushed Georgia Southern to the SFU 12 for Hanks’ first field goal. Lance Geesey provided the only points for St. Francis (Pa.) in the period after the Red Flash only came away with a field goal after Kyle Harbridge ran for 42 yards on top of a 19 yard kickoff return to put St. Francis (Pa.) on the Eagle 35 yard line in its final drive of the third quarter.

    After a lackadaisical start by both teams, T. Hunt got the Eagles revved up with a 46-yard touchdown run for their first points of the night with 4:29 remaining in the first quarter. Georgia Southern’s next drive, another three-play possession, used five less seconds, but the result was the same as Banks ran for a 15-yard TD as the Eagles went up 13-0.

    McKinnon and junior wide receiver Kentrellis Showers connected for a 35-yard touchdown pass to finish an 80-yard drive, the longest of the night, midway through the second quarter that helped add more distance between the Eagles and Red Flash. St. Francis (Pa.) came right back with a 16-play, 71-yard drive that ended with a Khairi Dickson touchdown and Lance Geesey extra point to pull the Red Flash back within two touchdowns at 20-7 Eagles. A 42-yard Kevin Ellison pass to B.J. Johnson, career bests for both of them, brought the Eagles quickly downfield for their final score of the first half. Johnathan Bryant took the pitch to the left side for a five-yard touchdown with 17 seconds left in the half to give the Eagles a 27-7 margin at the break.

    Hanks made two of the Eagles’ three field goals, a 29-yard FG in the third and a 31-yarder in the fourth. Freshman Younghoe Koo put his name on the scoring sheet for his first collegiate PAT and a 38-yard field goal.

    Ellison finished the night with a career-best 151 yards passing, going 5-6 while McKinnon threw for his two touchdowns for a 94-yard total and a perfect 3-3 on his attempts. Banks led the Eagles with his three scores and totaled 72 yards on 11 carries. Butler average 12 yards per attempt.

    For the second straight game, linebackers Kyle Oehlbeck and Edwin Jackson tied for the team lead in tackles with nine. Senior Carlos Cave had eight tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss while Lavelle Westbrooks had two pass breakups and came close to picking off two passes. Deion Stanley had his second interception in as many weeks and returned it for 31 yards to close the first half.

    Georgia Southern (2-0) travels to Wofford for a 7 p.m. ET game Saturday, Sept. 14th as the Eagles face the Terriers in their first Southern Conference contest of 2013.