Georgia Southern will head to the GoDaddy Bowl, ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy reported Wednesday.
Also per sources, McMurphy wrote that fellow Sun Belt Conference teams Arkansas State and Appalachian State are headed to the New Orleans Bowl and the Camelia Bowl, respectively.
The bowl appearance would be the first for GSU, which is in its second year in the Football Bowl Subdivision. This season’s bowl matchups will be announced Sunday.
Neither Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson nor GoDaddy Bowl President Jerry Silverstein would confirm any selections when contacted Wednesday.
The GoDaddy Bowl, which takes place Dec. 23 in Mobile, Alabama, matches up teams from the Sun Belt Conference and the Mid-American Conference.
STATESBORO — Perhaps suffering from some tryptophan-induced sleepiness or a lingering hangover from a near-upset at Georgia, Georgia Southern came out a bit flat Saturday afternoon against South Alabama at Paulson Stadium.
The Eagles surrendered an early touchdown and trailed midway through the second quarter after allowing the Jaguars to return a fumble for a touchdown, but found the end zone three times in the final 6:28 of the first half and rolled to a 55-17 victory.
“I’m proud of everyone in the program — coaches, trainers, our fans who showed up, and especially the players,” GSU coach Willie Fritz said. “We had a tough loss last week and I had to put my psychologist hat on. Around Wednesday, we really started focusing on South Alabama. We didn’t play real clean early on, but it was great to see us bounce back.”
Georgia Southern (9-3 overall, 6-1 Sun Belt Conference) has already qualified for its first bowl in program history and can match last season’s record with a win over Georgia State in this Saturday’s regular-season finale at 2 p.m. in Statesboro.
Following Devon Earl’s 62-yard fumble recovery and return for a touchdown to put the Jaguars (5-6, 3-4 Sun Belt) ahead 14-7, the Eagles responded with a drive highlighted by a 56-yard Kevin Ellison run and capped by a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Matt Breida.
Georgia Southern clawed ahead minutes later when Ellison found Derek Keaton on a 23-yard touchdown pass and — following a Darrius White interception and return to the USA 8 — Ellison plunged into the end zone from a yard out to put GSU firmly in front at halftime.
For the third consecutive game, the Eagle defense allowed a long scoring drive on the opponent’s first possession. After a touchback, the Jaguars drove 75 yards in 11 plays, highlighted by three third-down conversions. The third conversion was a 35-yard completion to Gerald Everett down to the GSU 5, and Tyreis Thomas capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown plunge two plays later for an early 7-0 lead.
From there on out, there was little for the Jaguar offense to get excited about. In all, South Alabama was held to 136 offensive yards, including just 61 after its game-opening touchdown drive.