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Georgia Southern wins, clinches bowl eligibility

STATESBORO — The Georgia Southern Eagles looked as though they were still shaking out some cobwebs after suffering their first Sun Belt Conference loss a week ago, but a solid second half paved the way for a 37-13 victory Thursday night at Paulson Stadium.

The Eagles (6-2, 4-1 Sun Belt) dominated the first half of play, but coughed up three costly fumbles — two in Texas State territory and one in the GSU red zone — to keep the Bobcats (2-5, 1-2) in contention.

On its first possession of the second half, the Eagles converted on fourth and 2. One play later, Wesley Fields (nine carries, 158 yards) ripped off a 37-yard touchdown run, and the Bobcats never again threatened.

“I was impressed with our effort, particularly in the second half,” GSU coach Willie Fritz said. “We rushed for over 500 yards, I thought our offensive line did a phenomenal job, and our defense played one of its best games of the season.”

Matt Breida (23 carries, 205 yards, 2 TDs) topped the 200-yard mark for the third time in his career, and Fields continued to build on his stellar freshman campaign. In all, the Eagles racked up 534 total yards — 503 coming on the ground.

Georgia Southern’s special teams also had a stellar night, as Younghoe Koo connected on field goal attempts of 21, 25 and 44 yards and registered touchbacks on seven of his eight kickoffs.

The win also makes Georgia Southern bowl eligible for the first time in school history.

The Sun Belt has tie-ins with the New Orleans, Camellia, and Cure Bowls and seems certain to end its season playing in one of those contests.

The Eagles are next in action Nov. 14 at Troy.

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