Georgia Southern Eagles fullback William Banks (32) runs with the ball as defensive lineman Bryan Cox Jr. (94), defensive lineman Alex McCalister (95), linebacker Jarrad Davis (40), defensive lineman Joey Ivie (91) and linebacker David Campbell (36) tackle during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Georgia Southern Eagles defeated the Florida Gators 26-20. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Georgia Southern’s Jerick McKinnon led the way with 125 yards and a touchdown as the visiting Eagles piled up all 429 of their yards on the ground to stun the Gators 26-20 on Saturday.
Kevin Ellison had each of his three pass attempts fall incomplete but ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns for Georgia Southern (7-4), which averaged 7.9 yards per carry. William Banks fell just short of becoming the third 100-yard rusher of the day with 94 yards and a score on 11 carries.
Skyler Mornhinweg went 14-for-24 for 115 yards and two touchdowns in his second career start but had two passes from the Eagles’ 14-yard-line fall incomplete as time ran out. Kelvin Taylor rushed for 92 yards for Florida (4-7), which will not earn bowl eligibility and is guaranteed its first losing season since 1979.
The Gators finally started getting some momentum on offense in the fourth quarter and followed a field-goal drive with a three-play, 59-yard drive capped by Mornhinweg’s 46-yard TD pass to Solomon Patton that knotted it at 20 with 5:41 to play. The Eagles went back to the ground in response and churned up 75 yards capped by McKinnon’s 14-yard score, but a second straight missed PAT by Younghoe Koo left the door open.
Florida took a 10-0 lead when Mornhinweg hit Patton with a 3-yard TD pass after the Gators had forced a fumble deep in Georgia Southern territory. The Eagles cut it to 10-7 at the break on Ellison’s 45-yard TD run with 2:01 left in the second quarter and took a 14-10 edge when Ellison’s 1-yard sneak capped a 75-yard drive to open the third.
Notes: Florida has lost six straight games and finishes out its regular season by hosting No. 2 Florida State next week. … The Gators had won the previous two meetings with Georgia Southern by a combined 100-28. … The Eagles close out their season with a three-game winning streak.
North Carolina 80, Old Dominion 20
Marquise Williams passed for five touchdowns in the first half — two to freshman Ryan Switzer — as the host Tar Heels set a school record for points scored and extended their winning streak to five.
North Carolina (6-5) led 14-13 after one quarter before scoring 35 points in the second and 31 more in the third, finishing with a school-record 721 yards of total offense. Williams completed 20 of 27 passes for 409 yards, finishing with a school record 469 yards of total offense — adding 60 yards rushing.
Old Dominion (8-4), finishing a transition season from FCS to FBS, scored 13 first-quarter points but did little after that. Collins Hill grad Taylor Heinicke completed 14 of 31 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.
Logan scored on a pair of 1-yard runs in the second quarter, Switzer caught touchdown passes of 43 and 57 yards from Williams, and Williams found Kendrick Singleton for a 16-yard touchdown pass with 1:07 left as the Tar Heels built a 49-13 halftime lead. Switzer, who returned two punts for touchdowns last week, brought back a punt 64 yards for a score to make it 80-20 late in the third.
Colby Goodwyn scored on a 4-yard touchdown run three plays after Larry Pinkard recovered a fumbled punt for Old Dominion, giving the Monarchs a 10-7 advantage with 5:43 left in the first quarter. Williams hit T.J. Thorpe on a 27-yard touchdown 38 seconds later and after Jarod Brown’s 40-yard field goal brought the Monarchs within 14-13 at the end of the quarter, the Tar Heels scored five second-quarter touchdowns.
Arkansas State 35, Georgia State 33
Adam Kennedy tossed a pair of touchdown passes and the Red Wolves registered second-half scores on defense and special teams as they rallied past the visiting Panthers.
Kennedy completed 14 of 19 passes for 152 yards, including scoring strikes to Darion Griswold and J.D. McKissic. Kennedy also led Arkansas State (7-4, 5-1 Sun Belt) with 77 rushing yards, while Michael Gordon chipped in 46 yards and a score.
Ronnie Bell and wide receiver Kelton Hill each threw a touchdown pass for Georgia State (0-11, 0-6), which has lost 15 straight games and 21 of its last 22, with all of those defeats coming by at least six points prior to this one. Albert Wilson led the Panthers with seven catches for 149 yards, including a late 70-yard score, and also added an 80-yard TD run to help Georgia State to a 17-7 halftime lead.
Sterling Young’s 21-yard fumble return for a touchdown drew the Red Wolves within 17-14 just 54 seconds into the third quarter, and Raziel Valgis recovered a blocked punt in the end zone to put Arkansas State ahead about three minutes later. Bell responded with a 17-yard TD pass to Hill to regain the lead for Georgia State, but Gordon’s 5-yard TD run late in the third quarter gave the Red Wolves the lead for good.