Statesboro, Ga. (November 2, 2002) -- Redemption belonged to Georgia Southern after handing visiting East Tennessee State a 40-7 loss in front of 16,106 fans at Allen E. Paulson Stadium Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles, who were ranked No. 1 when they were upset by ETSU in Memorial Center 19-16 last season, scored early and often Saturday beginning with Keven Davis' 52-yard touchdown run at the 8:50 mark in the first quarter.
Following a safety, which increased Georgia Southern's advantage to 9-0, ETSU's Scott Brumett (Pioneer, Tenn.) fell on a fumble in the Eagles' endzone to put the Buccaneers on the board, 9-7, with 11:38 to play in the second quarter.
However, two short TD dives by GSU quarterback Chaz Williams gave the Eagles a 23-7 margin before Scott Shelton's 45-yard field goal as time expired put the hosts up 26-7 at halftime.
The score remained gridlocked for the duration of the third quarter and remained 26-7 until Georgia Southern's Mark Myers found the endzone on a 29-yard scamper at the 13:11 mark in the final period. The Eagles capped off their explosive afternoon with a two-yard touchdown run by Brandon Andrews with 9:29 left to play.
The Eagles accumulated 454 yards rushing versus the second-best run defense in the Southern Conference, while ETSU was held to just 120 yards of total offense.
Williams led the Eagles with 159 yards on 24 rushes, including a long run of 71 yards and two touchdowns. Only nine of GSU's 79 plays were through the air and Williams converted on only two-of-eight passing attempts including one interception. Williams' pass was intercepted by safety Montreal Harkley (Hanahan, S.C.), who increased his season pick total to seven.
ETSU quarterback Jatavis Sanders (Stone Mountain, Ga.) completed five out of six passes for 53 yards, but Sanders was sacked a grand total of seven times by the Eagle defense. Junior running back Gaven Varner (Summerville, S.C.) led the Bucs in rushing and receiving. Varner gained 50 yards on the ground on 15 carries and caught a modest two passes for 24 yards.
On defense, Brumett led the squad with 10 tackles, including one for a loss of two yards, followed by junior linebacker Andrew Foerster (Kingsport, Tenn.), who tallied nine tackles.
Georgia Southern remains in the hunt for another Southern Conference championship and is now 7-2 overall and 6-1 in the SoCon. ETSU falls to 4-6 overall and 2-4 in league play with two games remaining.
The Bucs will play their last home game of the 2002 season Saturday, November 9 at 6 p.m. when ETSU hosts Wofford in Memorial Center. To purchase tickets in advance you can call the ETSU ticket office at (423)439-5371.