Eagles and Catamounts to face off for homecoming

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Will Cheney

The Homecoming Game is upon Georgia Southern University once again as Western Carolina University comes to Statesboro to try to hand the Eagles their third straight loss.

GSU (4-4) is coming off a 16-14 loss last week against Furman University, a game that was highlighted Eagle miscues. Freshman running back Irving Huggins had a key fumble late in the game and missed field goals by kickers freshman Younghoe Koo and sophomore Alex Hanks left six points off the board that the Eagles could not afford.

Bright spots for the Eagles included the play of the two young running backs, Huggins and Nardo Govan. The two backs combined for over 130 yards on the ground and two touchdowns after seeing an increase in workload due to the injuries to GSU’s running back corps.

WCU (2-7) is coming off a 27-24 victory over Elon University. Sophomore Catamount quarterback Troy Mitchell amassed 250 all-purpose yards and two total touchdowns. Sophomore receiver Karnorris Benson ran by a Phoenix defense to the tune of 129 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

A huge question for the Eagles will be at the quarterback position. With redshirt freshman Kevin Ellison leaving last week’s game after the first half due to an injured shoulder and senior Jerick McKinnon still feeling the effects from a sprained ankle, the starter for the game on Saturday could be a game-time decision.

With the offensive weapons featured on WCU’s offense, the Eagles’ defense could struggle. GSU’s defense gave up 354 yards to Furman’s offense last week, but 129 of them came on two plays. Mitchell has thrown for 1,462 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season, and 720 of those yards and nine touchdowns went the way of Benson and his 40 catches on the season.

As with the matchups against Appalachian State University and Samford University, this season has shown that GSU struggles against heavy passing offenses. In those two games, the Eagles defense has surrendered a combined 876 yards passing and six touchdowns, and the team was outscored 82-48.

This is the last home game of the 2013 season and the final Southern Conference home game. GSU will spend the day honoring the seniors with senior day and taking in the Homecoming festivities. GSU head coach Jeff Monken and company will be looking to send the seniors and the GSU faithful out on a good note.