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My Take - 8/30: Time for a few GSU predictions

After all the highs of Georgia Southern's 2010 football season, it's easy to forget about what happened right in the middle.

Of course there was the win over then-No. 1 Appalachian State, which just so happened to be one of five conference champions defeated by the Eagles last season.

There was the must-win game against Furman, the first home playoff win in eight years and the beat down of a seeded William and Mary team in the second round.

But the question keeps coming up.

"Did Samford really beat Georgia Southern again?"

And the answer is yes. For the third year in a row, in their third year of Southern Conference membership, the Samford Bulldogs defeated the Eagles.

Fortunately, GSU doesn't have long to wait to try to break that streak.

Four days, to be exact.

So, now that the wait is over, it's time for some predictions.


Breakout performance

He's not new to the Eagles, but cornerback Hudson Presume has been fighting through injuries and hasn't gotten much PT over the last two years.

Everybody knows what Laron Scott is capable of on one side of the field, and with Carson Hill gone to graduation and Lavelle Westbrooks moved to safety, Presume should get tested early and often.

Especially now that the bread and butter of Samford's offense, running back Chris Evans, has finally graduated.


Leading rusher

For most teams, it's easy to figure out who the leading rusher will be each time the team takes the field — just glance at the two-deep.

At GSU, it's a little different. Any number of guys can carry the football on any given play, and considering the fact that 100-yard rushing days were few and far between for the Eagles in 2010, it almost seems like a shot in the dark guessing who will lead the Eagles in rushing on Saturday.

But, now that the offensive line has a year in the system and Robert Brown has learned the value of holding on to the football, he's all set to become the centerpiece GSU fans are looking for.


The X-factor


Who was Samford's go-to guy in 2010? We already talked about that — running back Chris Evans. Who was GSU's?

Jaybo Shaw.

Last season, while Evans was busy leading all rushers from the I-formation, the shotgun and even taking snaps from the wildcat, Shaw was on GSU's sidelines for a majority of the game recovering from nagging injuries.

There are two key differences this time around.

No. 1 — Since that game, backup quarterback Jerick McKinnon has taken a ton of meaningful snaps and even led GSU to a victory against a ranked team in the playoffs.

No. 2 — Shaw's had an entire offseason to rest up.

It's no secret that — despite the fact that Shaw averages barely over 100 yards per game passing and rushing combined — good things just tend to happen when he's on the field.

Which leads us to our final prediction.


So, who wins?

The Eagles are sure about one thing. They don't want the season to begin the same way 2010 ended — with turnovers.

While Samford is busy trying to find its identity, Georgia Southern will be ready to do what it does best — run the football, move the chains and swarm to the ball on defense.



Final score: Georgia Southern 38, Samford 18


Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.