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GSU Notebook: Loss toughest for Seniors
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Georgia Southern running back Dusty Reddick (34) hauls in a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jayson Foster to help bring the Eagles to within two points of Furman in the fourth quarter Saturday at Paulson Stadium.
    This one was a little harder swallow than most.
    Especially for Georgia Southern’s solid senior class, which likely played its final game in Paulson Stadium Saturday.
    “It’s real tough,” senior running back Dusty Reddick said following the team’s 24-22 loss to rival Furman. “We had it in our minds the whole night we were going to win, and we just came up a little short.”
    The Eagles would have locked up the Southern Conference title and an automatic bid to the playoffs with a win, but Jesse Hartley’s 33-yard field goal try as time expired sailed wide right. The third largest crowd in Paulson Stadium history (23,373) was on hand for the Senior Day upset.
    “We just kind of feel like we let down the fans tonight,” senior offensive lineman Russell Orr said. “We had a great crowd supporting us, and we just couldn’t pull it off there at the end.”
    Senior quarterback Jayson Foster, who set the NCAA single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,649) Saturday, said the atmosphere at Paulson will always stay with him,
    “They are probably the best fans anywhere in (FCS) football,” Foster said. “You never want to leave with a loss, but it happened to us. Hopefully we’ll get another win and get into the playoffs.”

Erk Russell Athletic Park
    Georgia Southern officially dedicated Erk Russell Athletic Park and unveiled signs naming it at halftime Saturday. Along with Paulson Stadium, the park will include the new Gene Bishop Fieldhouse, the soccer and track facility and the Troy A. and Mozelle Cowart Building, which houses Southern Boosters and the ticket office.
In the early 1980s, Russell spearheaded a success story unlike any in college sports since when he resurrected a GSU football program that had been dormant since World War II. Under the bald-headed legend, the Eagles enjoyed a meteoric rise to the top of then Division I-AA, winning three national championships in 1985, ‘86 and ‘89. Russell died last September at the age of 80.

This and That
    Freshman defensive end Austin Watts had his first career reception early in the second quarter when Foster found him on a two-point conversion – a successful fake extra point - following GSU’s first touchdown.…Sophomore cornerback Carson Hill is out for the season with a knee injury suffered against Appalachian State. Hill had previously hoped to make a return this year…Saturday was the fourth time in his career Foster has thrown for two touchdowns in a game…Freshman linebacker E.J. Webb left the game in the fourth quarter with a right ankle injury and was on the sidelines on crutches. After the game he said he was feeling OK and hopes to play next week…Hartley set the school record for most consecutive successful extra points made (43).
    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.