Written by SoCon Sports Information
Sunday, 18 December 2011 09:22
The Georgia Southern Football team's 2011 season came to an end at the Fargodome. The Eagles, who reached the Semifinals of the NCAA FCS Playoffs for the second-straight season, fell
35-7 to North Dakota State Saturday afternoon.
Turnovers hindered the Georgia Southern (11-3) offense, and the defense was unable to overcome 451 yards of total offense by the Bison, who tallied over 300 of it on the ground. Led by Sam Ojuri's 100 yards, three NDST players posted 90 rushing yards or more and all three scored a touchdown.
North Dakota State converted two Georgia Southern fumbles into touchdowns. The first came with the benefit of a short field following a first-quarter fumble. North Dakota State found the end zone two plays later on a 19-yard pass from Jensen to Warren Holloway. The second fumble killed an eight-play third quarter GSU drive that reached the North Dakota State four-yard line. The Bison had to go the distance this time but converted a nine-play touchdown drive with a 55-yard rush by Jensen.
The Eagles rushed for 186 yards behind Dominique Swope, who broke the 1,000 yard plateau with a 15-yard rush in the third quarter. The freshman rushed for 96 yards, just missing out on his fourth 100-yard or better effort in the last five games. Jaybo Shaw added 41 yards on the ground to go along with his 134 passing yards.
Despite two passes by Jensen of over 25 yards, a pair of first-quarter drives by the Bison stalled in Georgia Southern territory. The Eagles' defense forced a pair of punts after Brent Russell squashed a third and one rush for a three-yard loss, and an offensive pass interference penalty ended the other.
Powered by a 13-yard fake punt shovel pass from senior punter Charlie Edwards to Johnathan Bryant on fourth-and-five, GSU marched down the field and capped off a 13-play drive with a 23-yard rush by Swope to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:58 to go in the first half.
A quick five-play drive near the end of the half ended in a 17-yard run by Holloway that put the Bison up 14-7 at halftime. On the ensuing drive, Georgia Southern covered over 47 yards in under two minutes to reach the NDSU 23 yard line and on fourth-and-three attempted a fake field goal pass which fell incomplete in the end zone.
North Dakota State scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to pull away with the 28-point lead. Sam Ojuri capped off a nine play 92-yard drive in the fourth quarter with a four-yard touchdown run, and D.J. McNorton finished off the Bison's final drive with a four-yard score of his own.
North Dakota State takes on Sam Houston State in the national championship game in Frisco, TX, on January 7.
Photo Courtesy: J.J. Wilcox, SoCon Athletics