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GSU spring game gets interesting
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It was all White in the first half of Friday night’s Georgia Southern Blue/White game at Paulson Stadium, but things got so interesting at the end, the fourth quarter’s running clock was turned back into a normal game clock so things could play out.

"Blue was out of timeouts, and White threw a long pass, and you’ve kind of got the security blanket of a running clock," GSU coach Jeff Monken said. "I thought, ‘You know what? Let’s stop the clock and let them go.’ Unfortunately (Blue) gave up a first down (penalty) on second and long, which was disappointing. But I wanted them to compete."

White — made up of the offensive starters and defensive backups — held on for a 21-20 win as this year’s spring camp came to an end.

The difference in the game happened after a one-yard Blue touchdown reception by Nico Hickey from quarterback Jerick McKinnon with 6:55 remaining in the contest cut the White lead down to one.

The score remained 21-20 when the Blue two-point-conversion attempt, a run to the right side by fullback Terrell Jackson (14 carries, 72 yards), was met head-on by safety A.J. McCray and a handful of White defenders.

"It’s bad, because it’s bragging rights for a whole year," Hickey said about the Blue team’s losing effort. "If you win, you’re going to talk about it, so it’s competitive. We go out there and get after it."

"It was a huge stand for the white team defense," White team quarterback Jaybo Shaw said about the play. "I think we all came out here to compete, and we played hard."

The touchdown by Hickey, his second of the game, was the only score by either team in the second half.

The leading offensive producer of the game was the Blue team’s Kentrellis Showers, a redshirt-freshman wide receiver who caught two passes from McKinnon for 118 yards.

"As long as you keep working hard, it’ll happen for you," said Showers, one of the few 2010 recruits to receive a redshirt. "A lot of guys I came in with played, and I’m happy for those guys. They work hard, and they got their chance to be on the field. Hopefully I’ll keep working hard and get my chance."

Showers missed out on a potential 50-plus-yard reception when he caught another long pass, but McKinnon, who was wearing a red jersey to avoid getting tackled, was ruled down by contact before getting the pass off.

"It was a good grab by Kentrellis," said McKinnon, whose official passing yardage was 119 on three completions. "I threw it up for grabs, and he made a good play and came up with it. They tagged me down — the refs said I was down — but that’s something you wish you could go your way. But it didn’t, and you’ve got to keep looking forward."

McKinnon also caught a 12-yard pass on a trick play from Hickey.

The White team was smooth at the start, scoring on each of its first three drives.

The first score of the game was set up by a 31-yard pass from Shaw to Patrick Barker, which set up first-and-goal from the 1.

After two unsuccessful keepers by Shaw, fullback Brent Thomas punched it in from a yard out to put White up, 7-0.

Blue answered with a quick drive of its own that featured another long pass.

McKinnon launched a 73-yard pass to Showers — one that counted — which put it at first-and-goal from the 3.

Hickey lost yardage on second down but made up for it by taking a third-down option pitch to the corner of the end zone for a game-tying score.

White kept marching for two more scores and a 21-7 lead. Slotback Darrieon Robinson, the game’s leading rusher with 97 yards on 12 carries, scored from 13 yards out to return the lead to White, and Shaw connected for an 11-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Sumner in the second quarter. Shaw finished with 138 passing yards.

Blue cut it to a one-score game by mounting an 11-play, 80-yard drive just before the half after forcing a White turnover on downs on fourth-and-3 when Shaw was sacked by Josh Gebhardt.

The Blue offense kept it on the ground with the exception of one pass — a 22-yard reception by Showers — and scored with 2.6 seconds left before the break on a three-yard bootleg run by McKinnon that made it 21-14 at halftime.


Matt Yogus is sports editor of the Statesboro Herald.

Former Georgia Southern Eagles Jayson Foster, Mark Williams and Steve Bussoletti were the honorary coaches for the game. … The NCAA national champion Georgia Southern cheerleading squad was honored in the end zone after the first quarter. … Announced attendance was 4,233.
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