Rivalry (n) – Competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field.
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary cannot sum up the true meaning of the Georgia Southern-Appalachian State rivalry. This week, for the 30th time, the two teams will take the field, this time on a national stage.
A Thursday night game, that will be the first of two nationally broadcast games for the Eagles, will introduce the college football world to two of the most successful former FCS programs.
The combined accomplishments of the two teams, nine national championships (six by GSU, three by App State) along with four Walter Payton Award Winners (FCS equivalent to the Heisman Trophy) shows the history both programs have.
The first meeting between both teams took place on Nov. 25, 1932 in Statesboro, when the hosting Eagles shutout the Mountaineers by a score of 33-0.
A hiatus of the Georgia Southern program halted the rivalry for almost five decades until the teams began to play one another once again in 1987.
Since 1993, every football season has featured the matchup between the two schools, with App State currently leading the series 16-12-1.
The Mountaineers have won the last three matchups to date, including upsetting the No.1 ranked Eagles in 2011 at Kidd-Brewer Stadium.
In 2010, Georgia Southern knocked off App State, who was number one in the country at the time, in an overtime thriller that saw Eagle fans storm the field in celebration.
Both teams have had huge upsets against FBS programs, with App State defeating Michigan in 2007 at “The Big House”, and Georgia Southern shocking Florida in “The Swamp.”
Georgia Southern is currently 8-5 at home against App State and is favored by 16 points in this game; however, the best thing about a rivalry game is you never know exactly what is going to happen.