Defense shines in GSU spring game -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Defense shines in GSU spring game

April 10, 2004

 Statesboro-  Sophomore defensive end Thevenn Harris led a strong defensive performance with a team-high eight tackles while freshman slotback Lynon Jefferson added 45 rushing yards and a touchdown to lift the Blue squad to a 10-6 victory over the White team Saturday during Georgia Southern's 23rd Annual Spring Game at Allen. E. Paulson Stadium.

The Blue's triumph made former Georgia Southern standouts and co-coaches Fred Stokes and Robert Baker a winner in their collegiate coaching debut as they edged out another pair of Eagle greats and current National Football League performers, Adrian Peterson and Kiwaukee Thomas, as the four served as GSU's honorary guest head coaches for the contest.

The Blue squad took its opening possession and marched 70 yards on 11 plays to post a 7-0 lead on fullback Brandon Andrews' one-yard scoring plunge with 6:32 remaining.

Jefferson highlighted the drive with a 17-yard rush on a pitch to open the series before adding a 13-yard run on another pitch from quarterback Trey Hunter during a second down play at the White 31-yard line.

 The Blue unit extended its lead to 10-0 midway through the second quarter when walk-on freshman Bo Galvin successfully kicked a 37-yard field goal to end a 16-play, 49-yard drive at the White 20-yard line.

 The Blue squad had a first down at the White 12-yard line but a two-yard tackle for loss by sophomore linebacker Devron Jefferson from Albany and a sack of Hunter for an eight-yard loss by freshman end Reginald Thomas on a third down play kept the Blue out of the endzone.

The White squad, despite having back-to-back Southern Conference Offensive Player-of-the-Year selections in its backfield in quarterback Chaz Williams (2002) and fullback Jermaine Austin (2003), was held to just 77 first half yards - 43 coming on the ground.

Austin ended the White scoring drought, scoring from one yard out with just 3:46 to play in the game.

Freshman linebacker Victor Sandi's recovery of an errant Hunter pitch set up the six-play, 25-yard scoring drive which was keyed by an 11-yard rush by freshman slotback Marquice Maynard at the Blue 14-yard line.

Senior slotback Kevin Davis, who averaged 16.5 yards per carry, led all rushers with a game-high 66 yards on four attempts for the White unit. Austin added 40 ground yards while Williams connected on 4-10 passes for 34 yards and contributed just eight rushing yards.

Defensively, Blue squad senior linebacker Eric White assisted Harris' performance with seven stops while sophomore linebacker David Willingham and senior tackle Victor Cabral added six hits each and combined for four tackles which resulted in lost yardage.

Junior linebacker T.J. Rutledge paced the White team with a game-high nine tackles while Jefferson and sophomore tackle Brian Kranz each contributed five stops.

 "I was certainly pleased with the way we came off the ball today," said third-year Georgia Southern head coach Mike Sewak. "The intensity and enthusiasm was about where it needs to be. On the other hand, we seemed to again have penalties at inopportune times and we can't honestly afford to convert just five-of-21 of our third down plays and expect to win. I feel good about the spring - we got better as we went along. Our technique improved, especially with our younger kids. I really like the attitude this football team has as we head into the 2004 season."

The Blue-White contest officially closed Georgia Southern's 2004 spring workout schedule.

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