GSU looks for two in a row

Photo by: Jessica Stanfield

Randall Hampton

After a 77-point explosion to start the season, the Georgia Southern University football team will welcome the Saint Francis University Red Flash to Allen E. Paulson Stadium for the first time ever.

GSU put up plenty of points, but head coach Jeff Monken was not satisfied with intensity and execution he saw out of his team at certain points in the first half of last week’s game.

Some of the lack of fire was attributed to the Eagles not getting up for Savannah State University like they would for a conference opponent.

“It’s my job as the head coach to make sure that happens and to make sure we have the right attitude, to make sure that we are prepared and we go out there and play up to our standard,” Monken said.

SFU is coming to Paulson Stadium to play the first game of its season. The team may have lost its last five season openers, but it is still strong at different phases of the game.

“[SFU is] a well-coached football team,” Monken said.  “A tough team, they run the ball very effectively.”

That running game will be led by redshirt senior running back Kyle Harbridge.  Harbridge was named to the College Football Performance Awards watch list for the 2013 CFPA Football Championship Series National Performer of the Year Trophy.

He missed the entire 2012 season with a knee injury, but when Harbridge was healthy in 2011 he rushed for 1430 yards and 14 touchdowns.

SFU posted a 5-6 record last year, but the last time a team from the Northeast Conference played GSU, Central Connecticut State University pulled off the upset.  The 17-13 loss came back in 2006 during the second week of the season.

CCSU has traditionally been a stronger football team than SFU, but last season SFU posted a better overall record.

“I’m sure they are going to come down here like a ball of fire. It’s their opening game,” Monken said.  “They get a chance to play a team that has been highly ranked the last few years, and that always excites a team.”

The lack of history between the two teams makes forming a solid game plan more difficult than it usually is.

Monken said, “We don’t often play teams out of that league, so I really don’t know what to expect.”