Eagles move on from the loss

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Hayden Boudreaux

By now, most have likely heard of the humbling 31-13 loss the Eagles suffered at the hands of their rivals Appalachian State on ESPNU last Thursday on the road in North Carolina.

The loss weighs heavy on the shoulders of players, coaches, and fans alike. Things seemed too good to be true as the Eagles were knocking off each opponent in the Sun Belt and appeared to be on their way to winning their second straight conference championship along with possibly breaching the Top 25. Following the loss the AP voters gave the Mountaineers six votes for the Top 25, the first time they have received votes since 2007 after defeating Michigan, which technically ranks them as the 33rd best team in the country. This goes to show how close Georgia Southern was to breaching the top 25 and making it on the national radar, but hope is not lost.

The loss did do significant damage to the statistical behemoth that is the Georgia Southern offense. In only the second time this season, the offense didn’t manage to run for over 200 yards while they were averaging almost 400 yards on the ground per game. However, despite having the worst rushing performance of the season, they still sit atop the nation in yards rushing and are tied with Baylor for the number on spot in yards per rush. Statistics like these stick in the minds of voters when they determine the most dominant teams in college football.

Last Thursday’s matchup was also only the second game this year for no Eagle running backs to break 100 yards on the ground. Redshirt sophomore L.A. Ramsby put together one of the stronger performances with 58 yards on nine carries but the eyes of the nation watched junior Matt Breida. The junior with Doak Walker Award possibilities has remained at the top of nearly every rushing statistic this season. After his 78 yards on 14 carry game, he did see a hit to his numbers, but not nearly as bad as expected.

Breida still sits at ninth in the country based on total rushing yards, and is the only member of the top 25 rushers with less than 100 carries. His yards per carry dropped from 10.5 yards down to 9.6, but he still leads all running backs in that statistic. With only 47 yards remaining, it is likely the junior will breach 1,000 yards this Thursday, and with four of the weaker Sun Belt opponents remaining, he could likely breach 1,500 on the season.

There is still plenty of football left to be played this year. Additionally, a Sun Belt conference championship is not out of the question for the Eagles as most teams are only half way through their conference schedules. However, even if the Eagles fail to win the conference they will most likely play in their first ever bowl game. To make it to that bowl game, they must focus on the task ahead to gain bowl eligibility.

What lies ahead for Georgia Southern is a chance to redeem themselves in style against Sun Belt opponent Texas State. The Bobcats enter the game tied for fourth in the conference and enter the game after a convincing 36-18 win over South Alabama. The loss to Appalachian State did not ruin the season, but dwelling on the loss might.