November 20, 2012
Well, I’m glad that’s over. It’s fun to play games like Saturday’s, but now, Georgia Southern can focus on the playoffs and another run for a national championship.
For the first half, the Eagles stood toe-to-toe with Georgia. Quite honestly, Southern probably should have led 14-10 at halftime, but a questionable chop block penalty halted a drive deep in Bulldog territory and forced the Eagles to try a field goal. The kick sailed wide right, and Georgia marched down the field to score just before the half. It was 17-7 at the break, and the Eagles never recovered from that 14-point swing.
Not that I think Georgia Southern would have won the game, but the officials weren’t going to do the Eagles any favors. None of the powers that be would want an FCS team to do anything to shake up the BCS standings. Questionable officiating didn’t cost Southern the game by any means, but it probably should have been closer than the 45-14 final. Let’s give the game ball this week to the offensive line.
Georgia Southern’s offense piled up 302 yards on the ground; the O-line is doing something right anytime you put up more than 300 rushing yards on an SEC defense. Jerick McKinnon led the charge with 109 yards on 19 carries and scored both Eagle touchdowns. Dominique Swope carried the ball 17 times for 92 yards, and Darrieon Robinson put up 54 yards on 12 carries.
Southern’s defense held Georgia to just 120 yards rushing, but Aaron Murray and the Bulldog offense had a field day through the air. As a team, UGA passed for 354 yards and five touchdowns. The Eagle secondary has seen better days.
But it’s time to move on. It’s playoff time at Georgia Southern, and the Eagles are Southern Conference champions again. Southern earned the No. 5 seed in the playoffs and will host Central Arkansas on Saturday, Dec. 1. Defending champion North Dakota State will be the No. 1 seed, and if the Bison and Eagles each win their first two playoff games, they will face each other again in the semifinals in Fargo.
However, there’s an awful lot of football to be played before we can start thinking about that. We’ll talk more in depth about the Central Arkansas game next week, but having this weekend off gives the Eagles a chance to get healthy and primed for another deep playoff run. This is going to be fun.
On the hardwood, Georgia Southern basketball has taken some lumps early. The opener didn’t go well, as Valparaiso handed the Eagles a pretty good beating, but Valpo has looked really good early on. In fact, they may be a team to watch come tournament time.
Southern went to Charlotte Tuesday and led for much of the first half before going ice cold early in the second to allow the 49ers to stretch out a pretty good lead. The Eagles eventually fell 66-53.
Georgia Southern opened its home schedule Friday night against NAIA opponent Webber International. The Eagles led by just three at halftime but cruised to an 87-64 victory. Maybe that second half will get the Eagles in gear.
Georgia Southern is now 1-2 on the young season. The Eagles travel to Kennesaw State Wednesday night, then to Maryland on Saturday to take on the Terrapins. They will open SoCon play next Wednesday when Elon comes to town.
This might be my favorite time of year; football is in the playoffs, and basketball season is starting to hit full swing — not to mention Thanksgiving, Christmas and everything else that comes with these next several weeks.
Happy Thanksgiving, Eagle Nation!