Late Touchdown Drive By Bridge Leads Jaguars Past Panthers 30-27

October 19, 2014 · By · Filed Under Football, Sun Belt Conference 
Shavarez Smith holds up the SISU War Hammer at midfield prior to their homecoming game against Georgia State.

Shavarez Smith holds up the SISU War Hammer at midfield prior to their homecoming game against Georgia State.

Brandon Bridge led a late fourth quarter drive to defeat Georgia State at Ladd-Peebles Stadium to 30-27 in a game that had five lead changes in the second half. It was also their first time since their double-overtime win over Florida Atlantic, that the Jags have won a game when trailing after three quarters.

The Jaguars stopped the Panthers, who were driving into Jaguar territory, and forced them to punt. Bridge took over at his own 15 yard line with just over five minutes remaining in the game. Bridge would then take the first snap and scamper 65 yards to the Panther 20 yard line setting up his 18 yard touchdown pass to Danny Woodson II two plays later to put the Jags up for good.

Bridge would lead the team rushing for the first time with a career-best 137 yards on 15 attempts. It was also the most by a Jaguar quarterback. He was also 11-of-32 for 126 yards through the air.

Georgia State continued to move the ball well through the air, as they have all season, as quarterback Nick Arbuckle was 23-of-40 for 311 yards and three touchdowns. Donovan Hardin led all receivers with 10 catches for 132 yards. Robert Davis had 108 yards on only four catches. Joel Ruiz added 75 yards on seven catches.

Theo Rich set a game-record with 3.5 sacks and a career high eight stops total. Terrell Brigham led the Jaguars defense with 10 stops with Roman Buchanan adding nine stops and a pass break up.

Jay Jones, who left late with an injury, finished the game with 71 yards on 16 carries. Xavier Johnson added 58 yards and Houston had a season-high 55 yards to help lead the Jaguar rushing attack which outgained the Panthers 321-90 on the ground and also outgained them 447-401 in total yards.

“I told the team after the game that I’m not real pleased with some of the things we did tonight, but there are some things I am pleased with. It wasn’t a complete game for us, but it’s a win,” South Alabama head coach Joey Jones said. “You can’t always play great. I didn’t think we played great tonight and we still won. I thought that was a big deal. The last three series were in our favor — we scored, stopped them and then ate the clock up. I thought that was a great way to win.”

“We knew going in, other than last week, that Georgia State is playing unbelievable this year. They are the most improved team in the Sun Belt,” Coach Jones explained. “They’re very good on offense, but our guys really played well inside the red zone. [Defensive coordinator] Coach [Travis] Pearson really stresses that — it’s a big deal. They’re not in there until they’re in there and our guys fought and kept them out of there. Some of the biggest plays of the game were on the goal line.”

Georgia State falls to 1-6 on the season and 0-4 in Sun Belt Conference play. Head coach Trent Miles is 1-18 after taking over the reigns from Bill Curry last season. “We had opportunities to win the game, but give South Alabama credit, they stepped in and did it at the end when they had to,” Miles stated. “Joey is doing a great job with them, he’s done a great job building the program the right way. We’re trying to build our program, and our kids are battling their tails off. I’m proud of them. We’re going to start winning football games, I don’t know when it’s going to happen but it will.”

South Alabama improves to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play, just two wins away from bowl eligibility. They will host in-state and conference rival Troy on Friday for a nationally televised game on ESPNU. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30pm at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

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