In the latest installment of opponent fan interviews, we actually get to learn a little bit about a team we don't follow as much because they are not a conference foe. While Southern may be an in state school, some of us don't get to track them as much. Rusty is a great football fan who was a high school baseball teammate of mine who has some good connections to the Tech program, and ended up attending Georgia Southern for his undergrad. He's very knowledgable when it comes to sports and football, serving in the broadcast industry while he was at school as well as some local Atlanta area radio stints in the past. While he may have been a fan of some non-UGA schools, he's a great guy and a very intelligent football fan. 1. What is your affiliation with Georgia Southern?
I am a 2009 graduate of Georgia Southern and former play by play broadcaster for the Eagles football and baseball programs.
2. What is your favorite memory during your time as an Georgia Southern football fan?
The day Brian Van Gorder left the program, just kidding. In 2010 the Eagles defeated top ranked SoCon rival Appalachian State ending the Mountaineers 26 game conference winning streak and starting a run to a national semi-final apperance.
3. How is Georgia Southern looking in the playoff picture?
It is not looking quite as bright as it was a few weeks ago when the Eagles were ranked as high as #1 in the country before a tough home loss to App State. Scoring 69 points last week got the Eagles back on track and getting in the 20 team field looks like a lock, but whether or not the Eagles are awarded a home field advantage is up in the air.
4. Are GSU fans excited for the game, or just view it as a good chance to visit Athens ?
A few years ago it would be pretty easy to say that a good percentage of GSU students and fans follow the Dawgs closer than the Eagles. That has changed over the past decade or so and this game has turned more into another Saturday pulling for the blue and white as opposed to chalking it up as a loss and wearing red and black to Athens.
5. Where is a place you see GSU having any advantage in the game?
Typically GSU has the advantage in the running game with their version of the option and spread, but UGA has a plethora of backs who are wreaking havoc. That being said, I still feel that the Eagles have the advantage on the ground. Like UGA, the Eagles are relatively young behind the line of scrimmage but have two ball carriers who are averaging over 100 yrds per game.
6. Where is a place UGA has a definite advantage in the game?
Being a top ten team at the FBS level versus being a top ten team at the FCS level brings some clear differences to light. Georgia's front line depth on both sides of the ball could be a decisive mismatch as the Eagles will likely be without defensive anchor Brent Russell who is suspended.
7. Who is a player on the Eagles we may not know about now, that we will after the game?
The way GSU's offense is operated there is no one true player who's numbers jump off the page because of how many touches go to so many blue shirts. On defense, former walk on John Stevenson has been a wrecking ball at outside linebacker with over 80 tackles and two forced fumbles for a unit who continues to get stronger and more experienced with every snap.
8. Do you see GA Southern ever jumping up to the 1A level?
Absolutely. GSU had their student body vote earlier this year on accepting a student fee that would expand Paulson Stadium and ultimately make the jump. The vote was a landslide and now the Eagles wait to be courted by a conference at the FBS level. The six national championships collected in under 30 years make a strong resume for a potential suitor.
9. Honest final score prediction
I think that the Dawgs will have a tough time adjusting to the option attack early as Alabama did last year, but will settle in and depth will become an issue for GSU. Final score UGA 45 - GSU 28
Thanks to Rusty for some good insight on what's going on down in Statesboro. Obviously there's been a lot of light shed on the fact that vaunted Bama gave up 300 yards to this unique rushing attack. The good thing is that we've been able to prepare for Tech under Grantham and done pretty well. Hopefully there's a sound game plan in place to combat the option, and will hold serve in preparation for stuffing Tech the following week. While some folks may have certain ties to Georgia Southern, I've never had any animosity for them. I find myself rooting for the state school when the 1-AA playoffs come around. Interesting to note that the school and student body are in favor of jumping up the big time. We'll see if UGA can get their feet dug in early to combat the option and continue building the momentum on defense from the past few games.