EditorsNote: Several tweaks throughout
Tyler Bass kicked a 40-yard field goal on the last play of the game, giving Georgia Southern a 23-21 victory over Eastern Michigan in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., on Saturday.
Bass kicked three field goals for Georgia Southern (10-3), which won just two games a year ago. Quarterback Shai Werts gained 79 yards on 16 carries and scored two rushing touchdowns. Wesley Kennedy III rushed for 107 yards on nine carries.
Eastern Michigan (7-6) was denied its first bowl win since 1987. Quarterback Mike Glass III completed 17 of 25 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Arthur Jackson III caught three passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns.
Eastern Michigan scored just 13 seconds into the second half when Glass hooked up with Jackson on a 75-yard pass. That cut its 10-point halftime deficit to 17-14.
Bass drilled a 35-yard field goal with 9:49 remaining in the game to give Georgia Southern a six-point lead.
Eastern Michigan passed on a field-goal try on 4th-and-4 from the 5, and it paid off when Glass fired a touchdown pass to Jackson at the back edge of the end zone. The extra point put Eastern Michigan up 21-20 with 3:33 left.
Werts scrambled for 29 yards on 4th-and-10 to keep Georgia Southern’s final drive alive.
Georgia Southern led 17-7 at halftime.
Georgia Southern scored first late in the opening quarter on Werts’ 26-yard run. He cut through the middle, spun around a defender and scampered to the end zone.
Eastern Michigan tied it midway through the second quarter after Mathew Sexton blocked a punt, giving his team the ball at midfield. Glass connected with fullback Tyler Lyle, who made his first career reception, on a 1-yard scoring pass.
Werts turned the right corner on a 5-yard touchdown run to give Georgia Southern a 14-7 lead with 3:48 remaining in the half. Kennedy’s 46-yard run set up that score.
Bass kicked a 50-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
The Camellia Bowl has been decided by five points or fewer in all five years of its existence.
—Field Level Media