When we last saw the Georgia Southern football team on the field, they were sweating out a last second victory over the winless Warhawks of UL Monroe on October 3rd. The Eagles were scheduled to take on their Sun Belt rival Appalachian State Wednesday, but that game was postponed until December 12th due to COVID-19 issues with the Mountaineers.
Athletic Director Jared Benko worked quickly to come up with a game in order to help the Eagles avoid going three weeks between games. Last Thursday he announced the Eagles would be playing UMass this Saturday at 4:00.
“It's been a whirlwind week or so for us,” said Georgia Southern Coach Chad Lunsford. “We were prepared to have a few days off, assuming we were playing Appalachian State on Wednesday. Then you get that game cancelled, and it looks like we have another bye week, and the very next day we find out we are playing UMass.”
“Hats off to our guys and our coaching staff for locking in to something that is very abnormal,” said Lunsford. “The guys have done a great job getting themselves prepared. We are very excited for our guys, and Eagle Nation to get this chance at an additional home game.”
Lunsford admits it was a challenge to have an extra game added in the middle of the season, but is thankful the Eagles will be able to avoid going three weeks between games.
“With this year being so unpredictable I think you really don’t want to get out of rhythm,” said Lunsford. “Three weeks off between games would not have been good for us. We could have handled it, but I think being able to get on the field and play a game and not have that gap is very important.”
The Eagles players felt it was important to get back on the field this weekend as well.
“I think it is very important to keep things as normal as possible through the pandemic,” said Eagle defensive lineman Raymond Johnson. “In a normal season you play game after game, but in the pandemic, you don’t know if you will play two games in a row, or have a big gap. It’s also good for us mentally. You don’t want to take too much time off in the middle of a season.”
“With what we are going through you just have to be ready for anything,” said Eagle quarterback Shai Werts. “It feels good to prepare for a game this week. We were supposed to play on Wednesday, instead it will be Saturday which isn’t a problem.”
While the Eagles were unable to celebrate a potential win over Appalachian State, the switch in the schedule allowed the Lunsford family to celebrate a couple of birthdays.
“The good thing about not having that Wednesday night game is we had a couple birthdays in our family, and we were able to celebrate that,” said Lunsford. “We still had to get some work in though, because we need to be ready for Saturday.”
“We know that capacity is limited for this game, but we are encouraging everyone to try and get a ticket,” said Lunsofrd. “If we can get everyone in the seats that we're allowed to, we would love to have them. We are just happy to be able to play another home game.”
The Eagles and Minutemen are scheduled for a 4:00 start Saturday at Paulson Stadium.