The Georgia Southern Eagles went into the Swamp on Saturday and stunned the Florida Gators, walking out with a 26-20 win. The Eagles (7-4) ran their triple option offense to perfection, and Florida struggled to defend it throughout the game. Georgia Southern's 429 yards of offense, all on the ground, were simply too much for a banged-up Gators (4-7) offense to overcome.
Florida took an early lead with a 27-yard field goal and extended it early in the second quarter with a Solomon Patton touchdown catch. The Gators led 10-0 and appeared to be cruising to a comfortable win.
Georgia Southern quarterback Kevin Ellison ran 45 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter, narrowing the Florida lead to three and giving the Eagles momentum heading into the locker room. Ellison, who attempted just three passes and completed none of them, ran for another touchdown early in the third period to give Georgia Southern its first lead. A third straight Eagles touchdown, this one a William Banks run from three yards out, made the score 20-10.
A Francisco Velez field goal cut the Eagles' lead to one touchdown. The Gators forced 4th and 2 on Georgia Southern's next drive, and a GSU plunge was stopped short of the first down, giving the Gators the ball at their own 41 with 6:44 to play. Florida's athletic advantage then finally took over: on the third play of the drive, Skyler Mornhinweg found Patton behind the GSU secondary to tie the score at 20.
Florida's failure to stop the GSU option was the story of the game, and it hurt the Gators mightily late. On the ensuing possession, Banks broke a 53-yard run deep into Gators territory, and Jerick McKinnon ran down the right sideline for the go-ahead score. A second straight missed extra point left the score at 26-20 in favor of the Eagles with less than three minutes to play.
Florida took over at its own 36 and a sluggish two-minute drill drove to the Georgia Southern 16. But two shots at the end zone fell incomplete, and the Eagles completed a monumental upset.
Box Score Hero: Georgia Southern quarterback Kevin Ellison ran 15 times for 118 yards and two scores. More impressively, he failed to complete a pass: Georgia Southern was victorious over Florida without a single yard passing.
Rankings Ramifications: Neither team is ranked, and given the way that the Gators played Saturday, it's with good reason.
But Did They Cover? Florida was a 28-point favorite entering Saturday's game. Suffice it to say, they failed to cover the spread.
Next Week's Schedule: Florida closes its season against Florida State. Georgia Southern's season is over.