- Associated Press - Saturday, October 25, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - Matt Breida and Georgia Southern did more than grab bragging rights in the first meeting of the state of Georgia’s new FBS teams.

The Eagles also took another step toward winning the Sun Belt Conference in their first year in the league.

Breida ran for 201 yards and four touchdowns, including a 75-yarder on the opening play of the second half, leading Georgia Southern to a 69-31 win over Georgia State on Saturday.

The Eagles led only 27-17 at halftime before Breida’s 75-yard run.

“Anytime you can do that to another team, it deflates them,” Breida said.

Breida added a 61-yard score in the fourth quarter as the Eagles set a Sun Belt record with 613 yards rushing. Breida recorded Georgia Southern’s first game with four rushing touchdowns since Jerick McKinnon, now a rookie with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings, against Old Dominion in 2012.

Georgia Southern (6-2, 5-0 Sun Belt) scored 42 points in the second half.

Quarterback Kevin Ellison ran for 115 yards with a touchdown. L.A. Ramsby added 92 yards rushing with two touchdowns for the Eagles.

Georgia Southern coach Willie Fritz was most impressed that his team had no turnovers.

“When we run triple-option, there are many possibilities of turnovers,” Fritz said. “I am very proud of our offense and that also helps defensively.”

Nick Arbuckle threw four touchdown passes to Donovan Harden, including two in the fourth quarter, for Georgia State (1-7, 0-5).

The Panthers couldn’t stay close as Georgia Southern used the nation’s top-ranked running attack to put the game away with three third-quarter touchdowns.

The 69 points are the most allowed in Georgia State history, topping a 63-7 loss to Alabama in the program’s 2010 inaugural season.

“It’s unacceptable to give up 69 points,” said Georgia State coach Trent Miles. “Give Georgia Southern credit. They have an excellent rushing offense, the No. 1 rushing offense. It’s just unacceptable in this program.”

Georgia Southern was the visiting team but asked its fans to take over the facility with a “whiteout.” White shirts filled about one half of the lower section of seats in the battle of the state’s GSUs.

Georgia Southern fans chanted “GSU! GSU!” as the Eagles added to an already big lead in the fourth quarter.

Harden tied a school record with 11 catches and set Georgia State marks with 186 yards receiving and four touchdowns. He also had a drop that spoiled his chance for a fifth touchdown.

“We threw the ball 38 times and there were zero sacks,” Miles said. “The line was doing something right, the receivers were doing something right and Nick was doing something right. Putting up points is not our problem. We went out last year and fixed our offense through recruiting. Now we have to make a great effort to fix our defense.”

Arbuckle completed 24 of 38 passes for 408 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.

Each team had only one punt in the first half.

As expected, Georgia Southern kept the ball on the ground. The Eagles lead the nation with their average of 372 yards rushing per game and used a combination of triple-option trickery and simple straight-ahead power runs to hold the ball.

Breida, Ellison, Ramsby and Zach Walker ran for touchdowns as Georgia Southern led by 10 points at halftime. Walker’s 19-yard run was the only scoring play longer than 9 yards for the Eagles.

Breida then broke free for the 75-yard touchdown run on the Eagles’ first snap of the second half. Breida took the option pitch from Ellison, ran right and found open field after turning the corner.

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