It may not be returning to the scene of the crime, but Saturday the Georgia Southern football team returns to the Pelican State a week after suffering a heartbreaking 20-18 to #19 ranked Louisiana as the take on 0-3 Louisiana Monroe.
The Eagle players were still feeling the after effects of the last second loss this week, but are confident it won’t hurt them in their matchup with the Warhawks this Saturday.
”It definitely hurt to lose after having the lead late against a ranked team,” said Eagle defensive back Darrel Baker Jr. “The reality is we can’t dwell on it and let that game hurt us again. Hopefully we can meet that team again in the championship game. We also don’t want to play down to our competition. We know they are a good team, and we have to take care of business.”
“In a win or a loss, you just have to put things behind you, learn and get better,” said Eagle receiver Khaleb Hood. “A tough loss can hang around if you let it, but I feel like our coaching staff keeps us from getting too high or low after a game. All the teams we play in our conference are playing D-1 football. In my eyes we have to play our best no matter who we play, and no matter what their record.”
The Warhawks come in with an 0-3 record, and have yet to be competitive in a game. ULM opened the season with a 37-7 loss to Army. They followed that up by losing their Sun Belt opener 38-17 to Texas State. Last week the Warhawks hosted UTEP and lost 31-6.
“If we start looking at the other team’s record and their struggles that is a problem,” said Coach Chad Lunsford. “I feel like in the Sun Belt you have to bring it each and every game. I like the way our guys attacked the game aggressively last week, and I expect the same effort this Saturday.’
The lone bright spot in the tough season has been quarterback Colby Suits. Suits threw for 377 yards and two touchdowns in the Warhawks conference opener to Texas State. Suits has thrown for at least one touchdown in all three of ULM’s games.
“Offensively they want to throw the ball more than they run,” said Lunsford. “Suits was the back-up quarterback last year, and he is a really good passer. He is not as good on his feat as the previous guy they had.”
The Warhawks haven’t done much on the ground, as they have had to play from behind so far this season. They do have a talented running back in Josh Johnson who has 122 yards on 38 carries. Johnson did have 1,315 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns last season.
“Their running back Johnson is a big back who can be explosive if they wanted to try and get him going,” said Lunsford. “They have thrown the ball a lot more this year than they have in the past, but he’s proven to be a talented back and we have to account for him.”
Defensively the Warhawks have struggles, as they are giving up over 35 points per game. Some of those struggles could be attributed to the fact that defensive coordinator Mike Collins resigned from his position 10 days before the season opener with Army.
“On defense their defensive coordinator stepped down, and they had to promote Scott Stoker as interim DC,” said Lunsford. “He’s kind of a 4-2 defensive front guy. He likes to play man coverage. It’s tough to feel them out, but they have guys who can make plays and we have to take them seriously.”
Georgia Southern and Louisiana Monroe are scheduled for a 7:00 kickoff. The game is being televised on ESPN+