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Eagles prepare for Wolves, react to App's win
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    Game week has finally arrived in Statesboro much to the delight of an Eagle team anxious to kick off a new era and end a five-game losing streak.
    “We’re excited,” said senior Jayson Foster, likely Georgia Southern’s starting quarterback in Saturday’s 6 p.m. season opener against West Georgia. “Everyone’s ready to play.”
    After practicing at Paulson Stadium Friday, coach Chris Hatcher gave the Eagles Saturday and Sunday off, and the well-rested team returned to the practice fields Monday afternoon.
    Considering the Wolves (1-0) have new offensive and defensive coordinators, the Eagles say they aren’t entirely sure what to expect Saturday. GSU is relying on dated film and doesn’t have footage from UWG’s 23-11 season-opening win at Clark-Atlanta last Saturday. Offensively, the Wolves have switched to a spread-option attack, while defensively they tend to be multiple but base out of a 3-4.
    “You’ve got to be prepared for a lot,” Foster said. “We’re trying to watch old film from where their defensive coordinator coached last year and trying to get the best read we can. We aren’t exactly sure what they’re going to run, but we’ve got to be prepared for anything.”
    The Eagles are also using film to observe personnel and their tendencies.
    “It feels like we’ve been out here forever just banging into each other, so it’s nice to have a game this Saturday,” junior converted safety Chris Covington said.
    West Georgia hasn’t visited Paulson Stadium since Sept. 10, 1994, when it stunned the Eagles for a 15-14 win, and GSU players were unaware the Wolves’ last trip to Statesboro was so successful.
    “I guess we could look that up, but it hasn’t crossed our minds,” Foster said.

Thoughts on App State’s triumph
    With last Saturday off from practice, many Eagles spent the day tuned in to college football games across the country, particularly the drama that unfolded in Ann Arbor, Mich. It was there that GSU’s Southern Conference rival, Appalachian State, pulled off one of the greatest upsets in the history of the game with a 34-32 defeat of then-No. 5 Michigan.
    As he watched score updates, Foster said he was hoping the Mountaineers would hold on.
    “It was exciting, especially to see a team from our conference go out there and get a win,” Foster said. “It’s a great win for them. We were just watching the game waiting to get our shot, no matter who we play.”
    Hatcher said he had no thoughts on the Mountaineer coup, saying he “only worries about Georgia Southern” and doesn’t watch other college football games.
    Said Covington: “You never want to say you’re happy when a team you play all the time wins, but I’m proud of them. They came out, played their hearts out and represented the SoCon and the (Football Championship Subdivision) really well.”
    Appalachian’s win brings much-deserved credit, Covington added, to the lower-tier of Division I football.
    “We’re not as big as those guys, and that’s about it,” he said. “The size of somebody’s body isn’t the size of their heart. Those guys played hard, and that’s how everybody in this division plays.”
    The Eagles will get a shot at GSU’s first win over a full-fledged Bowl Subdivision member when they travel to Colorado State for their final game of the regular season this fall.

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