STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – Despite a barrage of penalties that extended their opponents’ drives, a third quarter in which they were shutout, and falling behind by two touchdowns in the second half, Georgia Southern football still found itself in position to pull even with Louisiana in the final moments.
Scrambling to his left on 4th and 15 with less than a minute left, Eagles quarterback Justin Tomlin’s pass sailed out of bounds and Georgia Southern dropped its third straight game, 28-20, to Louisiana.
The Eagles started the game hot, stopping Louisiana on its first drive of the game and immediately orchestrating a long touchdown drive. The Ragin’ Cajuns, however, scored 28 of the next 35 points and took down Georgia Southern for the third straight time.
“Louisiana got off the blocks well,” Georgia Southern head coach Chad Lunsford said, when asked what adjustments Louisiana made to keep the Eagles’ offense at bay. “We did not sustain or finish blocks and weren’t getting push that we needed to help the drive. I thought our offensive coaches did a good job at half time getting a good read on it and kind of figuring it out. We just didn’t convert on third and fourth downs, which ended up costing us and beating us.”
A troubling trend that appears to have plagued the Eagles this season is the offense’s struggles in the third quarter. Georgia Southern has yet to score a single point in the third quarter and has been outscored 84-17 in the second half this season.
“If you watch the game, we got ourselves in positions to score points. We couldn’t convert on third and fourth down. If we convert on those things, I’m not sure the third quarter would look as bad as it looked,” Lunsford said. “However, those are ‘what ifs’ and ‘shoulda, woulda, couldas.’ So we’ve got to figure out what’s going on in the third quarter and we have to make sure we are establishing dominance in the third quarter and not letting someone else do it.”
Saturday’s loss at Paulson Stadium drops Georgia Southern to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in Sun Belt Conference play. Despite ending up on the wrong side of the scoreboard for the third consecutive week, all the players said they felt like the team got better.
“If we just fold up shop and say ‘We lost and everyone hates us,’ then we aren’t going to win any games,” Lunsford said. “I think it’s important the way that they prepared for this game was good, but they didn’t win. Didn’t win and we’ve got to go back to work. Got to work even harder.”
Georgia Southern (1-3, 0-1) will host Arkansas State, another Sun Belt foe, next Saturday at Paulson Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.