South Alabama uses big plays to beat Gardner-Webb 33-22

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) Xavier Johnson rushed for 121 yards and South Alabama beat Gardner-Webb 33-22 in the opener for both teams Saturday in a game delayed in the first half by heavy rains.

Johnson scored on two huge plays - a swing pass that he broke several tackles on his way to a 56-yard touchdown, and a 92-yard run in the fourth quarter that iced it.

South Alabama jumped out to a 13-0 lead on Terrance Timmons' 49-yard run and a Cody Clements 50-yard pass to Gerald Everett. After the weather delay, Gardner-Webb answered with a 48-yard scoring strike from Tyrell Maxwell to Mike Estes, and later recorded a safety when Laron Glenn hauled down Dallas Davis in the end zone.

Gardner-Webb took a 16-13 lead early in the third quarter on Angel Guzman's 21-yard interception return for a score, but South Alabama scored on the next play from scrimmage, Johnson's catch-and-run swing pass.

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