Eagles seek victory over Furman foes

Jannah Bolds

Still not reflecting on the upsetting loss against The Citadel in the early season, The Eagles of Georgia Southern University prepare to continue their winning streak against Furman University Paladins Saturday.

The Eagles reclaimed the No. 1 seat in the Southern Conference after their 17-9 triumph over the Wofford College Terriers last weekend. On the other hand, the Paladins failed to overcome their opponents, losing 8-20 against the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Their loss dropped them down to the No. 7 spot in the SoCon.

Last season, the Eagles had no trouble with dragging the Paladins through Allen E. Paulson Stadium turf, winning 50-20. The Eagles triumphed because of their advantage of leg power over Furman’s. The Eagles managed to out rush their opponent 361-115. The majority of that leg power came from junior slot-back Johnathan Bryant who led the team with ten carries for 95 yards.

So far this season, Bryant has accumulated a total of 178 rushing yards placing him fifth on the team in rushing yardage. The leader of the Eagle pack in rushing is sophomore fullback Dominique Swope with 667 total yards and touchdowns.

Swope will look to have his ninth straight game with a touchdown against the Terriers on Saturday.

Although the Eagles had star quarterback Jaybo Shaw behind the offensive line last season, the Paladins still had the upper hand in passing yardage. Furman’s quarterbacks passed for 293 yards against the GSU defense, and the Paladins left the Eagles in the dust, passing 122 more yards than Shaw. This is an advantage that the Paladins have over GSU because the Eagles are not strong with their passing game.

Junior quarterback Jerick McKinnon has been settling nicely into his position and is becoming more and more comfortable with going to the air. Although McKinnon chose not to go the air at all last week against the Terriers, he has still tallied up 84 total passing yards and two touchdowns this season.

However, an advantage that the Eagles had on the Paladins last season was their ability to score inside the red-zone. GSU was able to score points offensively six of the six times Shaw and his offense progressed inside the 20-yard line. That showed that the Furman defense was unable to hold their opponents in crucial moments.

The Eagles, however, had the strength to hold the Paladins to only one score inside the red-zone out of three attempts.

This Saturday, the Eagles will look to run the ball effectively against the Paladins while the defense looks to stop the Paladin rushing game.