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2012 FCS Playoffs: Eagles' defense comes up big in the end

Georgia Southern is headed to the FCS semifinals for the third straight year.

Mike Zarrilli

Georgia Southern's defense stepped up late as it upset Old Dominion, 49-35, on Saturday to advance to the FCS semifinals for the third consecutive year.

With the Eagles down 35-28 in the fourth quarter, Dion Dubose forced Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke to fumble the ball after a blindside hit. Georgia Southern recovered the fumble and scored on the ensuing offensive possession to tie the game at 35-35.

Georgia Southern was also able to halt Old Dominion on 4th-and-6 on its next offensive possession to set up another touchdown drive by quarterback Jerick McKinnon and give the Eagles the lead for good. McKinnon carried the ball 29 times for 171 yards and four touchdowns in the game.

McKinnon told Josh Aubrey of the StatesBoroHerald.com that the defense made some "great stops" to allow the offense to get on the field and make plays late in the game.

Georgia Southern head coach Jeff Monken also credited the stop on fourth down in the fourth quarter for changing the momentum of the game.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.