Eagles set to take on Western Carolina

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Jannah Bolds

This weekend, the Eagles of Georgia Southern University will face off against Southern Conference foe Western Carolina University on Catamount home turf.

The Catamounts are coming off of a 45-24 loss at Furman University last week while the Eagles have finally found the momentum to continue winning against their opponents. GSU defeated the No. 1 in SoCon and previously undefeated Samford University Bulldogs 35-16 during Family Weekend in Statesboro.

Since WCU has more of a passing offense, last week against the Paladins, the Catamounts totaled up more passing yardage than rushing yardage. They racked up 236 yards passing and 184 yards rushing, while they only allowed their opponent 230 passing yards.

With junior quarterback Jerick McKinnon and junior running back Robert Brown stepping up their game against the Bulldogs, the Eagle offense are looking to continue the successful force in Catamount territory.

Last season against the Catamounts, the Eagles defeated their opponent 52-20 at Allen E. Paulson Stadium. With the rushing powerhouses on the Eagles’ team including sophomore Ezayi Youyoute, McKinnon and senior J.J. Wilcox, GSU was able to record 634 yards rushing. McKinnon, Youyoute and Wilcox all were able to put out more than 100 rushing yards apiece.

However even with the help of former quarterback Jaybo Shaw, the Eagles were still unable to produce more passing yards than WCU. The Catamounts went to the air 38 times compared to the Eagles nine pass attempts. With that number, WCU passed for a total of 285 yards while the Eagles recorded 60 yards.

One of the main issues that the Eagles will have to watch out for is committing penalties. The Eagles have not been committing as many penalties so far this year, 28 to be exact, but last year against the Catamounts the Eagles committed almost half of that 28 in a single game. The referees threw the yellow flag 13 times resulting in 120 penalty yards.

Another advantage that the Eagles will have over the Catamounts is that the Eagles have a higher success rate at scoring in the redzone. So far this season, the Eagles have converted 14 of 17, which put them at 82 percent for scoring inside the 20-yard line. Last season against WCU, the Catamounts held the Eagles to five of seven, 54 percent, of redzone scores. The Eagles held the Catamounts to fewer opportunities inside the 20, but they still produced a higher percentage. WCU converted three of four, 75 percent, of their chances in the redzone.