GAMEDAY College Football

Georgia Southern 45, Nebraska 42

AP College Football Writer

LINCOLN, Neb. - Georgia Southern's players sprinted into the south end zone in celebration after the Eagles finished their 45-42 upset of three-touchdown-favorite Nebraska.

Meanwhile, in the southeast corner of Memorial Stadium, the student section was chanting "Fire Frost, Fire Frost, Fire Frost."

Kyle Vantrease scored on an 8-yard run with 36 seconds left after Nebraska had taken its first lead, and after Casey Thompson moved the Huskers into field goal range, Timmy Bleekrode was wide left with a 52-yard attempt as time ran out.

The victory, the Eagles' first in 13 games against Power Five opponents, came with a $1.423 million guarantee paid by Nebraska. And it happened almost a year to the day that Southern California fired Helton two games into his seventh season. Helton was hired last November to take over a Georgia Southern program that went 3-9 and lost six of its last seven games last year.

"What a special night," Helton said. "So proud of our kids, especially when you come off the season where you just win three games and you've got a new collection of people. You watch them come together and watch them starting to believe in themselves and believe in each other."

The loss again turns up the pressure on embattled Nebraska coach Scott Frost, who faces a home game next week against No. 7 Oklahoma.

The Huskers (1-2) had come into the Georgia Southern game 214-0 when scoring at least 35 points at Memorial Stadium.

Frost lost to a Sun Belt Conference team for the second time in his five seasons, and he and his players are bracing for a week of negativity from one of college football's most ardent fan bases.

"Got to make sure it doesn't seep into players. I haven't listened to any of it for a long time. Got to make sure they don't," Frost said. "There are a lot of games left in the season and this group can do well."

The Eagles (2-0) piled up 642 yards, none bigger than the 75 they moved in 11 plays for the winning touchdown.

Kyle Vantrease converted a fourth-and-2 pass and threw 27 yards to Khaleb Hood before he took off up the middle on a designed quarterback run for the go-ahead score.

Thompson moved the Huskers from their 23 to the Eagles' 34 before Bleekrode pulled his field-goal try to the left.

"We kind of felt that it might be a shootout and that whoever had the ball last, it might go their way," Helton said. "We had just enough time left on that clock to be able to score, and I was holding my breath on their last drive when they had. The good Lord was watching after us."

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

Thompson led the Huskers 98 yards in 15 plays. Thompson and Anthony Grant churned out yards on the ground and Marcus Washington made a catch at the 1 that was upheld on video review before Thompson went over the pile at the goal line.

Vantrease, who was quarterback for Buffalo when it lost at 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.

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

"We win together and lose together," Frost said. "All of us are frustrated after that one. Give them credit, give Clay credit. We can't let it divide us."


Georgia Southern: The Eagles began its transition from the Championship Subdivision to the Bowl Subdivision in 2013, the same year they beat Florida for their only other win over a Power Five team.

Nebraska: Frost's hot seat is hotter than ever. His contract buyout drops from $15 million to $7.5 million on Oct. 1.


Georgia Southern lost two players to injury. Receiver Sam Kenerson injured his right leg late in the first half and was taken off the field on a cart, and defensive back Wylan Free left the game in the middle of the third quarter after making helmet-to-helmet contact while tackling Grant.

Kenerson had gone over the middle to make a catch, turned and was running when Marques Buford Jr. hit him. Kenerson went down writhing in pain and holding his leg and went off the field wearing an air cast.

Grant ran into Free head-on on a run. Free wobbled when he got up and was helped off the field.

Scoring Summary
First Quarter GaSoNeb
GaSo TD 8:02 Jalen White 2 yd run (Alex Raynor kick) 7 0
Neb TD 4:17 Casey Thompson 8 yd run (Timmy Bleekrode kick) 7 7
GaSo TD 2:21 Jalen White 26 yd run (Alex Raynor kick) 14 7
Second Quarter GaSoNeb
Neb TD 13:40 Brody Belt 21 yd pass from Casey Thompson (Timmy Bleekrode kick) 14 14
Neb TD 8:25 Anthony Grant 4 yd run (Timmy Bleekrode kick) 14 21
GaSo TD 7:27 Gerald Green 1 yd run (Alex Raynor kick) 21 21
GaSo TD 4:00 Gerald Green 47 yd run (Alex Raynor kick) 28 21
Neb TD 1:50 Casey Thompson 2 yd run (Timmy Bleekrode kick) 28 28
Third Quarter GaSoNeb
GaSo TD 12:12 Amare Jones 10 yd pass from Kyle Vantrease (Alex Raynor kick) 35 28
Neb TD 3:18 Ajay Allen 7 yd run (Timmy Bleekrode kick) 35 35
Fourth Quarter GaSoNeb
GaSo FG 14:42 Alex Raynor 19 yd FG 38 35
Neb TD 3:05 Casey Thompson 1 yd run (Timmy Bleekrode kick) 38 42
GaSo TD 0:36 Kyle Vantrease 8 yd run (Alex Raynor kick) 45 42
Team Stats
  Georgia Southern Nebraska
First downs 34 33
  Rushing 9 17
  Passing 21 16
  Penalty 4 0
3rd Down Efficiency 9-13, 69% 9-13, 69%
4th down efficiency 2-2, 100% 0-0, -%
Rushes-Yards 30-233 47-257
Passing Yards 409 318
Return Yards 21 58
Completions-Attempts-Int 37-56-2 23-34-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 0-0 2--11
Punts 1 4
Punts-Average 38 50.5
Fumbles Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties - Yards 3-15 10-77
Time of Possession 28:04 31:56
Georgia Southern Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
K. Vantrease 37 56 409 1 2
Nebraska Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
C. Thompson 23 34 318 1 0
Georgia Southern Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
G. Green 10 132 13.2 2
J. White 17 85 5.0 2
K. Hood 1 9 9.0 0
K. Vantrease 2 7 3.5 1
Nebraska Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
A. Grant 27 138 5.1 1
A. Allen 8 76 9.5 1
C. Thompson 10 31 3.1 3
L. Smothers 1 10 10.0 0
G. Ervin Jr. 1 2 2.0 0
Georgia Southern Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
D. Burgess Jr. 12 119 9.9 0
J. Singleton 9 89 9.9 0
K. Hood 6 82 13.7 0
B. Johnson 2 42 21.0 0
S. Kenerson 1 31 31.0 0
A. Jones 3 21 7.0 1
J. White 3 20 6.7 0
J. Mcafee 1 5 5.0 0
Nebraska Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
M. Washington 6 123 20.5 0
T. Palmer 6 81 13.5 0
O. Martin 2 36 18.0 0
A. Brown 3 28 9.3 0
B. Belt 2 24 12.0 1
W. Liewer 1 13 13.0 0
A. Allen 1 9 9.0 0
O. Manning 1 8 8.0 0
C. Brewington 1 -4 -4.0 0
Georgia Southern Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Nebraska Interceptions
Player Int Yards
M. Buford Jr. 2 0
Georgia Southern Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
A. Beck II 1 38 38.0
Nebraska Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
B. Buschini 4 202 50.5
Georgia Southern Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Nebraska Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Georgia Southern Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
D. Lewis 1 21 21.0
Nebraska Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
T. Palmer 1 20 20.0
A. Grant 1 20 20.0
Z. Weinmaster 1 18 18.0
Georgia Southern Missed FG
Player Length
Nebraska Missed FG
Player Length
T. Bleekrode 52 (Hanesbrands Inc.)