SoCon Weekend Primer Eagles Edition
By Russell V.
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For the Georgia Southern Eagles it's all come down to this. Beat Maine and advance.
It’s all come down to this. Another do-or-die Saturday as the last two members of the powerful Colonial Athletic Conference and the Southern Conference go head-to-head at one of the longest and most intimidating stadiums the FCS has to offer. Hard to believe that either the SoCon or the CAA will be out of the playoffs.
The Eagles are coming off an exciting shootout with the Old Dominion Monarchs, while the Black Bears of Maine improved to 2-0 all-time at Boone with their victory over the Mountaineers last week.
Who will be victorious come Saturday?
Maine at Georgia Southern, 2 p.m., ESPN3
I feel like a broken record saying this, but it is true – the key to the game will be if Maine can contain Georgia Southern’s rushing attack. Notice the use of words there, how I said ‘contain’ and not ‘stop.’ Because the Eagles’ rushing attack is one of those things that you cannot stop. You can only hope to contain. The Black Bears were able to embarrass Appalachian State last week because they held the Mountaineer rushing attack to just three total yards. Now, there is no way Georgia Southern will be held to single digits in rushing yards, but say they are held below 150 yards, or even 200. That’s when Eagle fans will most likely be very nervous. Maine’s ground game will also be front and center this weekend as well. Their rushing attack’s 216 yards last week played a key role in their playoff victory and the Eagles did give up 211 yards to the upstart Monarchs. In an interview this weekend, Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken praised just about every aspect of the Black Bears – from coach Jack Cosgrove to running backs Pushaun Brown and David Hood to all-conference linebacker Vinson Givens. He praised their O-line, calling it the “best run-blocking line we’ve seen this year.” He said that his team “will have to play (their) best game of the year” in order to win on Saturday. Key players that will have to step up on Saturday: Brent Russell and Josh Rowe, as usual, will need to slow down Maine’s attack and Jaybo Shaw will have to do his best to not turn the ball over – something he hasn’t done much of this year. Keep an eye on freshman sensation Dominique Swope, who has rushed for 573 of his 846 yards in the last three games. I don’t know if there is a hotter player in the nation right now. Good luck slowing him down Bears. So, who will come out on top Saturday? It is nearly impossible to pick against the Eagles at home in the playoffs. It won’t be a shootout like last week, but it will be a victory nonetheless, much to the joy of Eagle nation.
Georgia Southern 27, Maine 23
Notes: A few members of the Southern Pigskin staff including BJ Bennett and Matthew Osborne will be covering the game today. Thanks to our great friends at Budweiser, after today's game in Statesboro our Southern Pigskin guys will be meeting and greeting at Retrievers Sports Bar & Grill. If your at the game, or live around Statesboro, stop by from 5-7pm. Retrievers is offering 2 for 1 Bud Lights. Our guys will have Southern Pigskin tee shirts to giveaway. Stop by and talk college football with us.