Werts' 3 TDs guide Eagles in season opening win

Werts' three TDs guides Eagles to season-opening win
Georgia Southern routed SC State 37-6 Saturday
Georgia Southern routed SC State 37-6 Saturday

STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - It was all good vibes for the official kickoff of the Chad Lunsford era in Statesboro

A large crowd at Paulson Stadium saw the Georgia Southern Eagles cruise past South Carolina State 37-6 Saturday to give the team and its fans something to feel good about.

"Coming off last season, being a 2-10 football team, it's all about getting wins right now," Lunsford says. "I'm proud of our guys. I thought they did play clean today. The defense did a good job forcing three turnovers, and our offense did a good job of holding onto the football."

While the defense shined as a unit, redshirt sophomore quarterback Shai Werts was the star of the show.

The Clinton, SC native tallied a career-high 163 rushing yards and scored three times on the ground.

"It felt good to get back out there, and show these true blue fans what we're about this year," Werts says. "Coach Lunsford called this an identity game, and I feel like we did a good job of running the ball. I like what we put out there on the field today."

Werts went 5-7 passing for 29 yards, and even added a 40-yard punt to his stat line.

The Eagle defense held the Bulldogs to just 151 total yards, forcing four three and outs. South Carolina State didn't manage much offensive success outside their lone touchdown drive, an 18-play possession that killed 9:12 of the third quarter.

Wesley Fields and Monteo Garrett each scored rushing touchdowns on the evening. Along with Werts, the duo helped pace a Georgia Southern ground attack that rushed for 340 yards.

"We outrushed our opponent. We talk about that all the time," Lunsford says. "We're looking for more explosive plays from the offense, but I think we're still trying to gel together. But I think we're going in the right direction. I like how they played disciplined."

The Eagles are back at home next Saturday to host UMass. The Minutemen routed Georgia Southern 55-20 last season in Amherst. Kickoff in Statesboro is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.