Georgia Southern athletic director Jared Benko has been a busy man lately. Not only has he been dealing with the typical busy days leading up to the start of football, but he has also been hard at work trying to fill in the holes left in the Georgia Southern football schedule as schools have made scheduling decisions due to the coronavirus.
The Mountain West technically postponed football, hoping to possibly play in the spring. Regardless of the semantics Boise State will not be playing Georgia Southern September 5th. The SEC decided to play a conference only schedule, which cancelled their November 21st game against Georgia Southern.
The bad news is the Eagles were scheduled to make 1.4 million dollars for playing Ole Miss. The good news is Benko found a game to replace them, as Georgia Southern will head to West Point on Sept. 21st to take on Army and former Eagle head coach Jeff Monken.
“We’re excited to head to West Point and play Army,” Benko said. “Army has a lot of tradition and this will be a great matchup between two storied programs. I have a lot of respect for Coach Jeff Monken and what he’s done there.”
This contest will mark the first meeting between the two teams. The Black Knights are one of seven FBS schools whose football teams play as an Independent. No financial details have been revealed. Monken was the head coach at Georgia Southern from 2010-2013, and was responsible for bringing Chad Lunsford back to Georgia Southern.
“Obviously I have a lot of respect for Coach Monken,” Lunsford said. “He gave me an opportunity to come back to Georgia Southern, and I will forever be grateful for that. He is an awesome coach and I have a lot of ties to his coaching staff.”
“The other piece to the Army game is it is an historic place,” Lunsford said. “A few years back our guys were able to go to the Naval Academy. Our guys will enjoy seeing West Point, and that kind of history as well.”
The Eagles nearly lost another game as the Big South Conference went the same route as the Mountain West in postponing fall sports to possibly the spring. The good news is the Camels have indicated they are still planning to honor their game September 12th in Statesboro.
“In light of today’s announcement from the Big South Conference, I have been in contact with Campbell Director of Athletics Omar Banks, who indicated that Campbell still intends to play our football game in Statesboro September 12th.” Benko said in a statement.
“I was pretty surprised that Campbell decided to play us without a conference schedule,” Lunsford said. “I think coaches and administrators are trying their best to make things work somehow for these student athletes, and I’m glad they will get the chance to come here and play us.”
Lunsford was happy to hear the news that they still have their game at home with Campbell. He has also acknowledged the good work by Benko, and that he and the players are trying their best to focus on football.
“We know we have our current season opener scheduled for Sept. 12th,” Lunsford said. “We know there is still a possibility we will get a game on Sept. 5th. If we do play someone on the 5th I do feel we can be ready. My personal opinion is if we could play on the 12th it would give us a little more time with our guys to have them ready to go, and that would be beneficial. That being said if we play on the 5th we will be ready.”