SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Wofford Release) – The Wofford football team defeated Georgia Southern 30-20 on Saturday night at Gibbs Stadium. Donovan Johnson ran for 141 yards as the Terriers never trailed in the final Southern Conference meeting between the two teams.
The Terriers open at 2-1 and 2-0 in the Southern Conference. Georgia Southern is 2-1 and not eligible for the SoCon championship. Wofford was led by Johnson with 141 yards on 36 carries. Michael Weimer was 4-of-6 passing with a touchdown. Mike McCrimon and Alvin Scioneaux each had ten tackles for the Terriers. Georgia Southern was led by Jerick McKinnon with 114 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“This was a great win,” said head coach Mike Ayers. “We played those guys a few times and it is always a hard fought, tough game. We understand each others nuances and it makes it difficult. I thought that the kids played hard. It was a very physical game. It is one of those things where early momentum when we went no huddle got them a little fatigued and the early score really helped. Defensively the guys played great. We had some glitches, but at the same time there were a lot of big plays made. We put ourselves in a position to win the ballgame, we took care of the ball, and were opportunistic against them when the opportunity arose.”
On the opening drive of the game, Wofford gained five first downs before Jonny Martin took it in from one-yard out for a touchdown. The Terriers had a 7-0 lead at 9:40 in the first quarter. Georgia Southern had two first downs on their opening drive before punting. Wofford had three big first down carries, but failed to convert on a fourth-and-long and turned it over to the Eagles.
Georgia Southern was pushed back by several penalties, but a big 53yard run by Kevin Ellison gave the Eagles first-and-goal. Jerick McKinnon scored from one-yard out for a 7-7 score with 47 seconds left in the first quarter. The next drive for the Terriers began with a 71-yard kickoff return by Nick Colvin. Kasey Redfern had a 40-yard field goal to give Wofford a 10-7 lead at the 14:22 mark of the second quarter.
Both teams then had drives that ended on failed fourth-down attempts. The Eagles made a 25-yard field goal, but a roughing the kicker penalty enabled Torrance Hunt to score a four-yard touchdown. Georgia Southern had a 14-10 lead at 6:53 in the second quarter.
Wofford used a 33-yard pass completion from Michael Weimer to Jeff Ashley to move the ball into the red-zone. Deion Stanley intercepted a pass in the end zone with 1:41 left in the half. A three-and-out gave the ball back to Wofford with 37 seconds remaining in the half. The Terriers attempted a 50-yard field goal, but it was wide left to end the half.
To open the second half, the teams traded punts. The Eagles gained a first down, but then a fumble was recovered by Alvin Scioneaux at the 34-yard line. Ray Smith gave the Terriers a 23-14 lead with a 32-yard touchdown run with 5:52 left in the third quarter. The extra point hit off the right upright for the nine point advantage.
After the Eagles went three-and-out, Wofford was able to move the ball into Georgia Southern territory, but punted less than a minute into the fourth quarter. The Eagles were driving, but Josh Holt intercepted Kevin Ellison at the 42-yard line. Wofford though was unable to take advantage of the turnover and punted. On the next possession by Georgia Southern, they gained two first downs, but then failed to complete a pass on 4th and 12.
The Terriers got the ball back with 5:10 left in the game. After picking up two first downs, Jonny Martin ran it in from 23-yards to give Wofford a 30-14 lead with 2:26 on the clock. The Eagles scored with 26 seconds remaining when Jerick McKinnon ran for a one-yard touchdown. The two-point attempt failed, making the score 30-20. The Georgia Southern onside kick was recovered by Wofford and one play ran out the clock for the victory.
Wofford had 391 total yards, with 272 on the ground. Georgia Southern had 426 total yards, 342 of which were rushing. Each team had 25 first downs. Wofford was 5-of-15 on third downs. Georgia Southern was 10-of-19 on third down. Georgia Southern had five penalties, while Wofford had six. Georgia Southern had a slight 30:29 to 29:31 time of possession advantage.
Wofford vs. Georgia Southern Post-Game Notes
Running back Donovan Johnson ran for over 100 times for the seventh time in his career and second straight week. His 36 carries in the game tied the school record set by Kevious Johnson in 2004 against Elon.
Wofford has won the last thirteen home openers. The last home opening loss came in 2000 when the Terriers lost 34-14 to Lehigh on September 9. With Mike Ayers at the helm, Wofford is 18-8 in home openers.
The interception by Josh Holt was the third of his career.
Defensive lineman Tom Bove missed the second half due to a muscle strain.
Game captains were Donovan Johnson and James Zotto.
Attendance was 8,153 at Gibbs Stadium.
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