With the upcoming football season right around the corner, there’s high hopes that the Eagles will once again soar to new heights. Last season, the Eagles led a triumphant march to an undefeated recorded in their first year of play in the Sun Belt. The only three losses came from outside of the Sun Belt and were against opponents: NC State, Georgia Tech and Navy. Furthermore, the Eagles were only the third team ever to win a conference championship and the first team ever to go undefeated in their first year of conference play. With that being said, the level of play the Eagles will bring to the table this year is looking to be worthy of another Sun Belt Championship.
My prediction for the upcoming season is that the Eagles will finish with a 10-2 record. The two losses will be from formidable opponents within the ranks of college football: WVU and UGA.
I believe going into the upcoming season the moral for the team is high enough to compete at WVU’s level. Playing the Mountaineers in Morgantown, with their home field advantage, makes it a challenging place to play. Averaging 56,686 fans per game last season at Milan Puskar Stadium, the Mountaineers will be looking to start the season off with boisterous first win at home. The Eagles have been preparing for what’s to come and seem confident in their abilities going forward.
“We’re very excited to play those guys. They’re a great football team. We just want to go up there and play the best we can,” said senior safety Antonio Glover.
With the leadership abilities of players like Glover, the potential to take down the Mountaineers becomes much easier. Coach Fritz seemed confident in his senior leadership, “All of our seniors have played a lot of ball four us, three or four years.”
This experience across the Eagles roster will be vital to coming out of Morgantown with a W. Last season, the Mountaineers rushed for 2,376 yards compared to the Eagles who rushed for 4,573 yards. In addition, the Mountaineers passed for 4,121 yards compared to the Eagle who passed for 1,286. The Mountaineers went 7-6 last season.
Unfortunately, the other game I believe to be a difficult challenge to overcome is the one the Eagles will face up at a place they call, UGA. Also considering home field advantage, this in-state rivalry is becoming more and more hotly contested amongst fans and players. Last season, the Bulldogs averaged 92, 746 fans per game at Sanford Stadium. This season, the Bulldogs are touted to be even better with an AP Top 25 and USA Today Coach’s poll ranking at #9 in overall in college football. The last time the two teams met was in 2012. The final score was UGA 45- GS 14. The Bulldogs rushed for 3, 352 yards compared to the Eagles who rushed for 4,573 yards. In addition, the Bulldogs passed for 2,599 yards compared to the Eagles 1,286 yards. The Bulldogs went 10-3 last season. However, with all being said, it doesn’t rule out an upset.
Last season, the Eagles shocked the college football world. This year, their plans are no different. With the Sun Belt Championship to defend, the Eagles are ready for any opponent no matter the hype. With every season comes new challenges and this talented Eagles football team looks to take on every team in their way with fire in their hearts and blood in their eyes. That is Georgia Southern football.
In the wise words of legendary coach Erk Russell, “Hey ladies, hey fellas, hey gentlemen, one more time for the greatest team in America.”