STATESBORO — Robert Brown scored on a 4-yard run to give Georgia Southern a 21-14 overtime win Saturday over Appalachian State, snapping the Mountaineers’ 26-game winning streak in Southern Conference play.
The loss was Appalachian State’s first in a conference game since losing to Georgia Southern, 38-35, on Oct. 20, 2007.
The Eagles (5-4, 3-3) overcame an early 14-0 deficit, but scored the game’s final 21 points to pull off the upset. The Mountaineers (8-1, 6-1) had three turnovers, all in the red zone, including a fumble by quarterback DeAndre Presley on the final play of the game.
Flowery Branch graduate Jaybo Shaw, hobbled by a hip injury, rushed for 86 yards and a 16-yard run to convert a third down in overtime before Brown scored the game-deciding touchdown for Georgia Southern.
“Shaw played with a lot of guts,” Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore said. “He’s a tough kid. He has a hip pointer, and we hit him hard and often.”
On the next possession, Presley fumbled and Josh Rowe recovered the loose ball to seal the win for Georgia Southern before a crowd of 20,073 surged onto the field to celebrate the victory.
Last year Appalachian State defeated Georgia Southern, 52-16, while gaining 712 yards of offense, the most ever allowed by the Eagles. It was a different story Saturday as Georgia Southern limited the Mountaineers to 317 yards and only three first downs in the second half, one of those coming as the result of a penalty.
Georgia Southern fumbled at its own 12-yard line on its first possession with the Mountaineers recovering the ball. Three plays later Presley ran it in from the 3-yard line. Appalachian State scored on its next possession as Presley directed an 80-yard drive that ended with Devon Moore’s one yard run.
Georgia Southern made it 14-7 on Shaw’s one yard dive with five seconds left in the first half.
“The touchdown was huge,” Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken said. “We knew we were going to get the ball to start the second half. We made a couple of adjustments at the half, but to hold the ball that long and then score was critical.”
That momentum carried over to the start of the second half, and the Eagle defense kept Presley and the powerful Mountaineer offense in check.
Shaw completed 9 of 20 passes for 106 yards, while Presley hit on 14 of 27 for 211 yards while being intercepted twice.
Presley added 72 yards rushing to lead the Mountaineers who must now beat Wofford next week to claim their sixth straight SoCon championship, a record they would share with Georgia Southern.