It’s never happened before, and now would be as good a time as any.
Georgia Southern will be gunning for its first win over a Football Bowl Subdivision team this weekend in Ft. Collins, Colo., but more importantly, a victory over Colorado State would keep the Eagles in the hunt for an at-large bid to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
“We’re looking forward to being the first team to (beat a FBS) team and make Colorado State our catapult to the playoffs,” defensive end Larry Beard said following practice Monday.
The Eagles are currently 7-3, and since 1984, no 8-3 Georgia Southern team has been left out of the postseason.
“It’s either win or go home,” said senior quarterback Jayson Foster, who’s planning on doing everything he can to ensure the 2 p.m. game isn’t his last in blue and white. “So I-A, I-AA, Division II — you really don’t worry about what league they’re in. You focus on winning the game and hopefully keeping hope alive for the playoffs.”
The Eagles have worked diligently to move past last week’s crushing loss to archrival Furman and have stressed their confidence in kicker Jesse Hartley, whose game-winning field-goal try barely missed to the right.
“You really have to put it behind you,” Beard said. “You can’t just sit there and dwell on the past. You can only look forward to the future.”
The future is a big and deceptively fast Rams team that’s won just one game this year and five in the last two seasons. Despite their 1-9 record, Eagle coach Chris Hatcher thinks Colorado State is the best team GSU will play this season. Hatcher’s talked with coaches who have played against CSU this year, and most were surprised the Rams’ record isn’t better.
“It’s going to be a tough task,” Hatcher said. “They’re having a rough season, but they’ve still got a pretty good football team. All of their games have been close except for a couple. It’s going to be a good trip for us. Our guys get to test their skills against the top level of college football, so we are looking forward to it.”
The Eagles are hoping they can sneak up on the Rams, who already know GSU won’t be a pushover.
“We're playing a darn good football team this weekend,” Rams coach Sonny Lubick said. “I don’t know 100 percent about them, other than back in the old days — I say ‘old’ but I mean the 80s and 90s — it seemed like every other year they were winning the national championship. They’re still a good football team. Their quarterback gives everybody trouble.”
Eagles fall to 16th
Georgia Southern dropped five spots to No. 16 in the Sports Network poll and six notches to No. 17 in the FCS coaches poll. The Eagles have knocked off two higher-ranked teams, No. 6 Appalachian State and 13th-ranked Wofford.
Linebacker E.J Webb, defensive tackle Damon Suggs and wide receiver Joe Haynie are questionable for Saturday’s game, Hatcher said Monday. GSU doesn’t release injuries.
Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.