LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Georgia Southern players sprinted to the South Zone in celebration after the Eagles ended their 45-42 loss to three-touchdown favorite Nebraska on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, in the southeast corner of Memorial Stadium, the student section chanted “Fire Frost, Fire Frost, Fire Frost.”

Kyle Vantrease scored on an 8-yard run with 36 seconds left after Nebraska took their 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 Clay 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 season.

“What a special night,” said Helton. “So proud of our kids, especially when you finish the season where you just won three games and you have a new collection of people. You watch them come together and watch them start to believe in themselves and believe in each other. in others.

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

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

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

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

The Eagles (2-0) have rushed for 642 yards, none more than the 75 they rushed in 11 plays for the game-winning touchdown.

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

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

“We kind of felt that it could be a shootout and whoever had the ball last, it could go right,” Helton said. “We had just enough time left on that clock to be able to score, and I was holding my breath in their last practice when they did. The good Lord was watching over 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 sent the Eagles back as they tried to build on a three-point lead .

Thompson led the Huskers for 98 yards in 15 games. Thompson and Anthony Grant drove in rushing yards and Marcus Washington made a catch at 1 that was confirmed on video review before Thompson went over the stack at the goal line.

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

Thompson rushed 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. “We are all frustrated after that one. Give them credit, give Clay credit. We cannot let it divide us.

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

Nebraska: Frost’s hot seat is hotter than ever. His contract buyout goes from $15 million to $7.5 million on October 1.

Georgia Southern has 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 midway through the third quarter after setting helmet-to-helmet contact when attacking Grant.

Kenerson had gone through the middle to make a catch, turned and was running when Marques Buford Jr. hit him. Kenerson fell writhing in pain and clutching his leg and came off the pitch wearing a cast.

Grant met Free head-on at a race. Free wobbled when he got up and was helped off the field.

Georgia Southern: Visits UAB Saturday.

Nebraska: Hosts No. 7 Oklahoma on Saturday in a reunion of former Big Eight/Big 12 rivals.