Freshman coach Clay Helton’s Georgia Southern Eagles ‘went after us,’ stunned Nebraska Cornhuskers

LINCOLN, Neb. — Kyle Vantrease scored on an 8-yard run with 36 seconds left after Nebraska took its first lead, and Georgia Southern defeated three-touchdown favorite Cornhuskers 45-42 on Saturday night.

Timmy Bleekrode of the Huskers stood wide left with a 52-yard field goal attempt as time ran out, and Georgia Southern players rushed onto the field to celebrate the program’s first win in 13 games against Power Five opponents.

It was also the third major disruption of the day to Sun Belt Conference programs. Before the Eagles worked their magic, Marshall knocked down Notre Dame and Appalachian State defeated Texas A&M. All three wins were on the way.

The loss again puts the pressure on afflicted Nebraska coach Scott Frost, who now has a home game against No. 7 Oklahoma next week.

“It hurt,” Frost said. “We win as a team and lose as a team, and we were beaten today. We were beaten by schedules and I didn’t really have an answer.

“They came after us.”

The Huskers (1-2) had entered the Georgia Southern game 214-0 when they scored at least 35 points at Memorial Stadium. The Eagles (2-0) piled up 642 yards, none greater than the 75 they moved for the winning touchdown in 11 games.

Vantrease converted a pass of 4 and 2 and threw 27 yards to Khaleb Hood before raising the middle on a designed quarterback run for the lead.

Casey Thompson moved the Huskers from their 23 to the Eagles’ 34 before Bleekrode pulled his field goal shot to the left.

Nebraska had taken the lead on Thompson’s 1-yard run with 3:05 to go after Marques Buford’s second interception of the game reversed the Eagles as they tried to build a three-point lead.

Thompson led the Huskers 98 yards in 15 games. Thompson and Anthony Grant hit the ground running and Marcus Washington made a catch at the 1 that was confirmed on video review before Thompson went over the pile at the goal line.

The win comes only in game two for Georgia Southern coach Clay Helton, and it came almost a year to the day Southern California fired him two games into his seventh season.

“I’m so proud of our boys,” Helton said.

Vantrease, who was quarterback for Buffalo when it lost in Nebraska last year, was 37 of 56 for 409 yards. Gerald Green ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns and Jalen Allen had 85 yards and two scores.

“They’ve done a lot of what we’ve already seen,” Frost said of Georgia Southern, “but I don’t think we’ve won many one-on-one matchups.”

Thompson ran for three touchdowns and was 23 of 34 for 318 yards and a score. Grant worn 27 times for 138 yards and a score.

The Eagles began transitioning from the Championship Subdivision to the Bowl Subdivision in 2013, the same year they defeated Florida for their only other win over a Power Five team.

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