A frustrated Georgia Southern University football team will try to climb from the bottom of the Southern Conference standings when it faces The Citadel Bulldogs Saturday.
GSU leads the all-time series between the two teams 17-5, but the Bulldogs won the previous meeting by a score of 23-21. The Eagles dominated statistically and looked like the superior team but missed field goals and turnovers turned the tide of that game.
“It’s going to be a tough ball game against The Citadel. It always is,” co-defensive coordinator Jack Curtis said. “The teams have limited chances at scoring because we do run the ball, so we have to get to creating turnovers on defense.”
After a 34-44 loss to Samford University last week, the Eagles have fallen to last in the SoCon with a conference record of 1-2. The Eagles allowed 651 yards of total offense to Samford, continuing the troubling trend of conference opponents exploiting the weaknesses of their defense, particularly the Eagles inability to tackle
“Nineteen on defense and two on special teams, that’s 21 on the game, and that’s a lot of missed tackles,” head coach Jeff Monken said.
The Citadel prefers to control the game on the ground, so the Eagles will have plenty of opportunities to redeem themselves in the tackling department. The Bulldogs rank second in the SoCon in rushing offense with 283.8 yards per game.
The Bulldogs are coming off an overtime victory 31-28 over the Appalachian State University Mountaineers. The Bulldogs rushed for 328 yards and were led by the duo of senior quarterback Ben Dupree and senior fullback Darien Robinson.
Bulldog sophomore defensive lineman Mitchell Jeter intercepted a pass in the overtime period, which set up a 35-yard field goal from senior kicker Thomas Warren that sealed the victory for the Bulldogs.
Senior quarterback/running back Jerick McKinnon will look to continue his ascent through the GSU record books. McKinnon is currently fifth in school history with 3,445 career rushing yards. He needs 432 yards to move into third place, which he can accomplish in the next few weeks.
At the game, military personnel will be honored as part of Military Appreciation Day. The Eagles will wear patches from the Georgia National Guard and other military branches on their jerseys. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Allen E. Paulson Stadium.
Randall Hampton contributed to this report.