Eagles to face the enemy on Saturday

Trevor McNaboe

The last call made by Georgia Southern University play-by-play man Chris Blair at the past game between Southern Conference rivals GSU and Appalachian State University will forever be etched into fans’ minds.

“Fumble, ball’s loose, Georgia Southern’s got it, number one goes down, number one goes down, number one goes down,” Blair said as the fans rushed the field.

The last time GSU played ASU at Paulson Stadium the Eagles won an overtime thriller by a score of 21-14 to knock off the top-ranked Mountaineers.

ASU owns the all-time record over GSU by a tally of 14-12-1. However, in the last three matchups the home team has won the game.

This year another chapter in the rivalry will be written as No.1 ranked GSU takes on No. 14 ASU.

Players to watch for on ASU:

Senior running back Steven Miller has been a major part of the Mountaineer offense, averaging around 120 yards per game on the ground to bring his total to 1,077 yards and nine touchdowns.

Two-time All American senior linebacker Jeremy Kimbrough is leading the team in tackles this year with 101 (11.2 per game), third on the team with 3.5 sacks and also one interception.

Senior linebacker Brandon Grier is another player on the Mountaineer defense to watch for as he leads the team with six sacks, is second on the team with 63 tackles and has scored a defensive touchdown off of an interception.

Players to watch for on GSU:

Senior safety Darius Eubanks is third on the team in tackles with 51 and also has an interception. He has 44 starts on defense and forced the fumble in the 2010 GSU-ASU game.

Sophomore B-back Dominique Swope is averaging 104 yards a game on the ground and has twelve touchdown runs. Although he did not participate in last week’s game, if he plays he will add another key piece to the GSU triple option threat.

Junior quarterback Jerick McKinnon is first on the team in rushing with 734 yards and nine touchdowns. He has also thrown for 258 yards and three scores. McKinnon led GSU last week with three touchdowns on the ground in the triple OT game.

The Eagles have won their last 14 games at Paulson Stadium with their last loss being on October 30, 2010 against Samford.  GSU is 8-4 against ASU in games in Statesboro.

A GSU win would lock up another Southern Conference title for the Eagles and a playoff birth.  However, a loss would thicken the race for the Southern Conference championship, drop GSU out of the No.1 ranking in the country and lose bragging rights to ASU for a second straight year.