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Back to work: Eagles prepare for first-place Citadel
DB Hill could be out for season
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Carson Hill (24), seen here earlier this season against Chattanooga, could be out for the rest of the season with a leg injury. Hill had three interceptions in each of the last three games, including one for a touchdown in GSU’s 38-35 win at Appalachian State.
    As far as momentum goes, Georgia Southern was at a season-high Saturday after knocking off Appalachian State, the two-time defending national champions. This week the Eagles want nothing more than to maintain that energy.
    “We are in a playoff race now, so the plan right now is to keep it rolling,” senior quarterback Jayson Foster said.
    It’s a tough road for the Eagles (5-2, 2-2), who are gearing up for Saturday’s homecoming date with The Citadel (5-2, 3-1), which is in a three-way tie atop the Southern Conference. The noon game will be televised live by Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast and pits the league’s top offense against its best defense. GSU is racking up a SoCon-high 468.9 yards a game while the Bulldogs are allowing a league-low 321.9 yards a game.
    “The Appalachian State game was big game, but this game is just as big,” junior defensive end Beard said. “If we lose this one, we are out of the playoffs, out of every contention we’ve always wanted to be. To (win) this game is really what we need to do to maintain our goals.”
    The Eagles returned to work Monday, and GSU coach Chris Hatcher thought the team was a little tired during the afternoon practice.
    “It was a big win for us, it took a lot out of us,” he said. “We’ve just got to regroup a little bit and have a good week of practice getting ready for The Citadel.”
    With two losses in league play, the Eagles can’t afford to let the Bulldogs sneak away with a victory.
    “We’re not good enough to have a let down,” Hatcher said. “We are kind of in a playoff run, and this is another step along that way. So we’ve got to be on top of our game come Saturday. This may be the best team we played all year, so we better be ready.”
    Don’t expect the Eagles to be complacent after their monumental win, and Hatcher said his team still has a lot of necessary improvements to make.
    “We are still making a lot of silly mistakes, and the big thing is we’ve just got to get better at all of the little things,” he said. “We are not nearly where we need to be, and we’ve just got to get a little better than we were (last) Saturday.”

Eagles return to Top 25
    Georgia Southern jumped back in the national rankings Monday as the Eagles were 22nd in both the Sports Network and the FCS Coaches polls. GSU has been in the Top 25 only one other time this season, a 21st-ranking following the win over South Dakota State.
    Three other SoCon teams are in the FCS Coaches Top 25 —Appalachian (10), Wofford (11) and Elon (17). Including GSU, five SoCon teams are in the Sports Network poll —Appalachian (10), Wofford (11), Elon (16) and The Citadel (25).

Lowe honored by SoCon
    Freshman quarterback Billy Lowe was tabbed the SoCon’s freshman of the week Monday after completing 8 of 11 passes for 145 yards and one touchdown in GSU’s upset of Appalachian. It was the first time Lowe’s seen significant playing time this season.
    He became the fourth Eagle this year to earn the award, joining Zeke Rozier, E.J. Webb and Chris Teal.

More injuries
    Georgia Southern’s thin secondary took another blow with the loss of starting cornerback Carson Hill, who will probably miss the remainder of the season with an injury, Hatcher said. The sophomore, whose 33 tackles are third-most on the team, was on crutches Monday.
    It’s likely starting defensive end Matt Wise won’t play Saturday, and receiver Mike McIntosh is doubtful for the game, although he has returned to practice.
    “Somebody’s got to step up and be ready to play,” Hatcher said. “At the end of the game the other night, I thought that some of the mistakes we made on defense were due to us being a little fatigued out there. We’ve got guys that have to play a lot of snaps, but those are the cards that have been dealt to us. We’ve got to be able to overcome that. We can’t use that as an excuse in any way.”

    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.