Darius Eubanks' late fumble recovery stopped a potential game-winning drive for Elon and helped Georgia Southern hang on for a 26-23 win. The Eagles successfully bounce back from their first loss of the season by winning a back-and-forth affair with the Phoenix.
Dominique Swope's second half touchdown put the Eagles on top 23-20 in the second half. Elon came back with a field goal and to tie the game. However, Alex Hanks' 33-yard field goal proved to be the difference as the Eagles ran their record to 2-1 on the season. Ezayi Youyoute rushed for 106 yards and threw for 66 more to lead the Eagles.
Georgia Southern evens its record at 1-1 in the Southern Conference. The Eagles are back in action next week where they will host Samford.
The Georgia Southern Eagles will be looking for their first Southern Conference win of the season when they host the Elon Phoenix on Saturday night. The Eagles were surprised in their first league game last week, falling to The Citadel, 23-21, on a last-minute field goal.
Georgia Southern is 9-3 against Elon all-time and defeated the Phoenix, 44-14, in 2011. The Eagles' potent rushing attack picked up 300 yards in that game, and they managed to score three touchdowns through the air on just 10 pass attempts.
Kickoff of Saturday night's game is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET. While this matchup will not be televised, an online stream is available through Georgia Southern's website. That link also includes information about streaming audio.
The No. 11 Georgia Southern Eagles know they're going up against a traditionally pass-first offense Saturday at 6 p.m. in the form of the Elon Phoenix. But as the Statesboro Herald writes, the team knows to be wary of the running game, as well.
Elon is known for throwing the ball around, but second-year Phoenix coach Jason Swepson has worked to add more running plays and balance to the offense. The Phoenix (2-1, 0-0 Southern Conference) have three different backs with at least 35 carries.
Eagles coaches know where the game is won -- the trenches:
"When lanes get big and you've got them covered, he can pull the ball down," said GSU defensive coordinator Jack Curtis, "so we've got to do a great job of containing him and retracing our steps when he pulls that ball down."
Georgia Southern Eagles linebacker John Stevenson has been a big part to the Eagles' renewed success. The 5'11 former walk-on was originally cut after his tryout in fall 2008, but managed to earn a roster spot that following February.
After spending his first year on the team as a safety, he moved to linebacker when current head coach Jeff Monken arrived to the team in 2010. Stevenson is the second fastest player on the team, running the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds. His speed and work ethic have earned attention from first year linebackers coach Kevin Corless:
He's the second fastest guy on our team. He's a guy who cares. He has invested a lot in our program. We've got a lot of guys like that in our program. They take ownership.
Stevenson currently leads the team with 12 tackles along with Darius Eubanks. Stevenson recorded 10 of those tackles in the Eagles' 23-21 loss to The Citadel
Georgia Southern defensive coordinator Jack Curtis is well aware of Mellette, and his talent.
"I think he is the best pass receiver in the conference," said Georgia Southern defensive coordinator Jack Curtis. "He's a tremendous talent, he's got some speed, he's got range, and the quarterback gets him the ball. They're a great combination. You don't want to have to be in a lot of one-on-one situations with him, because they're going to win some of those battles, and that's what scares you."
Mellete certainly has size, as he stands at 6'4, 212 pounds.
Last year, Mellette torched the Georgia Southern secondary for nine catches and 109 yards. Overall in 2011, Mellette caught 113 passes for 1,639 yards and 12 touchdowns.