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East Mississippi wins 2nd national title with win over Georgia Military
 December 8, 2013


BILOXI, Miss. – No. 2 East Mississippi claimed their program’s second national title in three years Sunday with a 52-32 win over top-ranked Georgia Military in the Mississippi Bowl.

East Mississippi’s offensive display was anchored by sophomore running back Lakenderic Thomas (right) who rushed for 248 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. Lions sophomore quarterback Dontreal Pruitt completed 16-of-36 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns, while sophomore wide receiver Antoinne Adkins earned MVP honors with six catches for 186 yards and two touchdowns.

Matching Thomas’ rushing effort and leading the Georgia Military offense was freshman running back Jovon Robinson. The former Auburn-signee had 34 carries for 238 yards and three touchdowns, earning offensive MVP for the Bulldogs.

Continuing their spectacular season, the East Mississippi offense racked up 585 yards against a stout Georgia Military defense. The Lions executed a balanced attack, gaining 325 yards through the air and 260 on the ground. East Mississippi utilized their big play ability, averaging 7.5 yards per play in the victory.

It didn’t take long for the shootout to begin in Biloxi. East Mississippi struck in the first minute of the game with a 2-yard touchdown run by Thomas. The Bulldogs responded less than a minute later with a 15-yard touchdown run by freshman quarterback Patrick Thomas. Robinson gave Georgia Military their first lead midway through the first quarter, rushing for his first touchdown of the day from 22 yards out.

Following a Bulldogs field goal that put East Mississippi down 16-7, the Lions reclaimed the lead with a 10-yard touchdown run by Lakenderic Thomas and a 40-yard field goal by freshman kicker Drew White. Pruitt continued the East Mississippi run with 6:19 left in the first half, connecting with Adkins on fourth down from 28 yards out for their first touchdown of the afternoon.

Georgia Military finally ended the Lions 17-point run with freshman kicker Brandon Rutherford’s 25-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter. Going into the break, East Mississippi held a slight 24-19 advantage over the Bulldogs.

On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Robinson broke loose for a 74-yard touchdown that put the Bulldogs back on top, 25-24. East Mississippi quickly struck back with touchdown runs from Thomas and freshman quarterback Todd Mays to take a commanding 37-25 lead halfway through the third quarter. Robinson punched in his third rushing touchdown for Georgia Military from the 2-yard line, but East Mississippi came right back with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Pruitt to Adkins – taking a 44-32 lead into the fourth quarter.

With 11:07 remaining, East Mississippi sophomore defensive back Ken Breland came up with a crucial punt block that went through the Georgia Military end zone for a safety. With a 46-32 lead in the final five minutes of play, freshman wide receiver C.J. Bates put the game away with a touchdown catch from Pruitt that bounced off the hands of a Georgia Military defender.

East Mississippi’s victory concluded their perfect 2013 season, finishing with an overall record of 12-0. Suffering their first defeat of the year, Georgia Military fell to 11-1.

Photos courtesy of Rich Kopp (Website)

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