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Eagles back at home, but nothing gets easier

    If Georgia Southern is to remain a player in the Sun Belt Conference race it is going to have to take care of business when it meets Appalachian State at 7:30 p.m., Thursday night at Paulson Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
    The Eagles (4-3, 3-1 SBC) are coming off a shaky 22-19 win at New Mexico State which snapped a three-game losing streak, all on the road..
    This will be Georgia Southern’s first home game since Sept. 17 when it beat Louisiana-Monroe, 24-9. That was the Eagles’ last win before last Saturday night’s over the Aggies.
    Appalachian State (5-2, 3-0) comes to Paulson on the heels of a 37-19 win at home over Idaho, its fourth straight since losing to Miami, 45-10.
    The Mountaineers opened the season by losing to Tennessee in overtime, bounced back to beat Old Dominion only to lose to the Hurricanes who were the first Power 5 conference team to play at Appalachian State.
    Coach Scott Satterfield’s team shook off that loss like a puppy dog shaking off a lecture on manners as it went to Akron and beat the Zips, and has been nothing but dominant in wins over Georgia State, Louisiana Lafayette and the Vandals.
    “I ‘m proud of how we played overall,” Satterfield said of the win over Idaho. “Obviously there are some things we’ve got to clean up.
    “The fact we didn’t score some touchdowns down inside the red zone was a little frustrating,” Satterfield said. “We had to kick field goals, but the defense played well again. We held them to one touchdown and that came with four seconds to go.”
    When the Vandals punched it in from the 8-yard line on a pass from Matt Lineham to tight end Buck Cowan it marked the first touchdown the Mountaineers had allowed in conference play.
    Georgia State could manage only a field goal in a 24-3 loss while App State blanked the Cajuns, 24-0. Idaho’s other points came on four field goals.
    The Mountaineers, Troy (6-1, 4-0) and Arkansas State (2-4, 2-0) are all unbeaten in conference play and a win over Georgia Southern would allow them to keep pace while all but eliminating the Eagles from the race.
    As if facing one of the hottest teams in the conference on a short week following a 1700-mile road trip the Eagles