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Russell serves one-game suspension
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Georgia Southern defensive end John Douglas celebrates after The Citadel kicker Ryan Sellers missed a 37-yard field goal attempt with thirteen seconds left in the game and the Eagles ahead 14-12 at Paulson Stadium Saturday.

Georgia Southern All-America nose tackle Brent Russell served a one-game suspension against The Citadel on Saturday for an unspecified violation of team rules.

Russell’s absence was a surprise to many people because he participated in the team’s practices earlier in the week. The 6-foot-2, 291-pound junior was listed as a starter in pre-game information produced by GSU’s sports information department.

"Brent was suspended for violating a team rule," GSU head coach Jeff Monken said after the Eagles’ 14-12 victory. "It’s a one-game suspension. As long as he’s doing the things he’s supposed to, he’ll be in the lineup again next week."

GSU (8-1, 6-1) can win the Southern Conference championship with a victory over Wofford (7-2, 5-1) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Spartanburg, S.C.

GSU’s defense missed Russell. The Citadel, which runs the triple-option offense, generated 239 yards rushing, including two touchdowns, on 52 carries.

"He’s hard to get movement on, and they were able to do that some against those other guys," Monken said. "You guys have all seen Brent play. He makes an impact on a football game. He’s disruptive. I think he’s one of the best defensive players in the country at this level. When he’s not in a football game there’s going to be a difference."

Blake Riley, a 6-foot-1, 278-pound sophomore, started for Russell. He said Russell’s absence was evident.

"He’s like the backbone of our team," Riley said. "He’s the vocal leader. He’s the big man on our defense. We look up to him. I look up to him because I’m his understudy. We miss him out there. It will be good to have him back next week."


Block party continues

GSU blocked its fourth and fifth kicks of the season against The Citadel.

Laron Scott blocked Ryan Sellers’ first extra-point attempt in the first quarter, and the Eagles’ Deion Stanley blocked Sellers’ second attempt in the second quarter.

"Big plays. They were big plays," Monken said. "It keeps points off the board and it changes field position dramatically. Obviously, it’s a different football game if we don’t block those two kicks."

GSU blocked two kicks — an extra-point attempt and a field goal — against Furman. The Eagles blocked a field goal against Presbyterian.

"The kids are giving a good effort and they’re getting a good push, and they’re hitting the seams like they’re supposed to," Monken said. "It’s a great job, a great effort by our kids to get in there. Those were big, big plays in the game for sure.

"Coach (Paul) Johnson always used to talk about how a blocked kick would just affect a ball game so dramatically. And to have two, obviously, that was big."


More points for Mora

GSU senior Adrian Mora kicked two extra points against The Citadel, increasing his scoring total to 307 on the Eagles’ all-time list. He is in fifth place.


Noell Barnidge can be reached at (912) 489-9408.