October 09, 2012
Buckle your seatbelts, Eagle Nation. This Saturday night could get wild.
Once again, Georgia Southern and Wofford will meet with Southern Conference championship implications on the line. But first, let’s look back at last weekend.
The Eagles went to the mountains of Western Carolina and took care of business with a 45-13 win over the Catamounts Saturday. Southern rushed for 614 yards, passed for 50 and did not turn the ball over.
The Eagle defense held Western to just 207 yards of total offense and 11 first downs on the afternoon. Georgia Southern dominated time of possession, as the Eagles had the ball for over 40 minutes. It was a lopsided win, to say the least.
However, special teams still need some work. Three Eagle kickoffs sailed out of bounds; you can’t do that against a good team. Giving the opponent good field position every time will come back to bite you. The Eagles also had one field goal attempt blocked. These are areas that would loom large in a close ballgame — but maybe that’s just the perfectionist in me coming out.
Darrieon Robinson led the way for the Eagles with 124 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Dominique Swope carried the ball 20 times for 117 yards and a touchdown, and William Banks rounded out the trio of 100-yard rushers with 101 and a touchdown on 15 carries. Freshman James Dean tacked on 95 and a score, while Jerick McKinnon, who played most of the game at quarterback, tallied 90 yards on the ground. This week’s game ball goes to the B-backs.
Swope, Banks and Dean combined for 313 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles won’t lose many games getting that kind of production from the fullback position. And kudos to the O-line — no chance any team rushes for over 600 yards without a good day in the trenches.
As much fun as it is to talk about those video-game stats from last week, it’s time to look ahead to Saturday night. And what a big Saturday night it is.
Wofford comes to town ranked fifth in the nation and sitting atop the Southern Conference as the only team without a loss. Georgia Southern is ranked No. 7 in the country. Have I mentioned this game is huge?
Last year, the Eagles traveled to Spartanburg to face the Terriers with the outright SoCon title on the line, and Southern stomped Wofford 31-10. Also, don’t forget the cheap shot taken on then-Eagle kicker Adrian Mora by a Wofford player on a late-game extra point.
Two years ago, these two teams met twice. Wofford won the regular-season game in Statesboro 33-31, but Southern won the quarterfinal playoff game in Spartanburg in the famous “Paulson North” game. Eagle fans outnumbered Wofford fans at their own stadium — and then stormed the field after Southern won 23-20 and advanced to the national semifinals.
The last time the home team won a game in this series was 2005; that’s seven straight wins for the visiting team. What’s more, before last season’s Eagle blowout, no game between these two had been decided by more than five points since 2006. As you might imagine, there isn’t much love lost in this rivalry.
So, that brings us to this weekend. Wofford is none too happy about losing two straight to Georgia Southern — especially the way they lost those games. Georgia Southern cannot afford a loss this weekend if it hopes to stay in SoCon title contention.
The Terriers haven’t exactly played the toughest of schedules leading up to this showdown; they haven’t faced a single team with a winning record. But they have taken care of business, with the only close game coming in a 20-17 nail-biter last week against Furman. Tattler prediction:
This one has all the makings of a thriller. Get your popcorn ready. Eagles 27, Terriers 26.
It’s Military Appreciation Night, and Georgia Southern will be wearing special uniforms. It will be an electric night at Paulson Stadium. Let’s get that place rocking early and stay on the Terriers all night long.