When speaking in terms of winning percentage, Georgia Southern has been one of the more successful teams in all of college football since restarting its team.
And now it has totally forgotten how to win.
Interim head coach Chad Lunsford said as much following Saturday’s 21-17 loss at the hands of Georgia State, citing that his team made enough plays to win, only to make enough mistakes to ensure its defeat.
Winning is more than making the highlight plays. It’s more than physically dominating an opponent or thoroughly out-scheming them. But sometimes the ‘more than’ is so much smaller than any of those concepts.
It can be as simple as hanging onto the ball. It can be moving the chains or keeping a star from being open on the big plays.
But once those ideals are lost, it can take a while to get them back. That was painfully evident in Saturday’s game.
Georgia Southern did everything it needed to do to win the game. The Panthers did virtually nothing. The Eagles piled 14 points right into the Panthers’ laps and Georgia State missed both field goals it attempted.
And yet, none of those things are going to change that 21-17 final line.
Winning can seem easy enough for teams that are used to it or that are on a roll. Even when one of those teams is struggling, it seems as if a game-changing play or a lucky break is bound to come.
For teams on the other side of the coin, it’s a similar concept in terms of negative things. On a day where the Eagles bounced back from an early miscue before holding a lead longer than it has all season, nothing ever seemed safe and disaster was always a thought in the back of their head.
And, sure enough, disaster happened.
At this point, it's as if the Eagles are being chased by ghosts. Sure, there is plenty to be desired from their execution on both sides of the ball, but teams who have forgotten how to win are the ones that always appear to be snakebit.
Fumbles that bounce right up to the opponent.
A false start that takes away your final chance to stop the clock during a drive.
A star receiver having a mostly-quiet day until he gashes you at three critical junctures.
Those are the things that happen when a team doesn't cover all of its bases in locking down a win.
It's not bad luck. Losing is a bad habit. And bad habits are pretty tough to break.