Football Home for Saturday's 2012 Season Opener
STATESBORO, Ga. - After opening on the road a year ago, the Georgia Southern Eagles host Jacksonville at Allen E. Paulson Stadium to kick off the 2012 season. Year three of the Jeff Monken era gets underway at 6 p.m. Saturday with Briggs and Stratton Fireworks to follow after the game.
“I'm looking forward to the season starting. It's always an exciting time for everybody,” Monken stated on Tuesday's SoCon teleconference.
The first of six regular season home games, Saturday's season opener is the first of three September contests at Paulson Stadium. The preseason Southern Conference favorite, Georgia Southern, returns eight starters on both sides of the ball from last year's conference championship squad. A 31-10 win over #9 Wofford capped off a 7-1 conference schedule and the Eagles' ninth SoCon title.
Monken addressed the replacement for quarterback Jaybo Shaw, who was under center for the past two seasons.
“The starting quarterback is the same guy as the backup quarterback,” Monken said about sophomore Ezayi Youyoute and junior Jerick McKinnon. “Those two guys are going to be our quarterback. I don't which one is going to be the first one to trot out there, but I imagine whichever one is the quarterback the first play the other one will play another position.”
The Eagles open at home for the 18th time, where they are 14-3 all-time in season openers. Overall GSU is 19-10 all-time in season openers. In his first two seasons, coach Monken has led the Eagles to a 48-3 win over Savannah State in the 2010 opener and a 31-17 victory at Samford in 2011.
Georgia Southern returns one of the FCS' premier defensive tackles in Brent Russell and Co-Freshman of the Year Dominique Swope. Added to both the Buck Buchanan and Senior Bowl Watch Lists before the season, Russell won the 2011 SoCon Defensive Player of the Year award after leading the team in both tackles for loss and sacks. Swope became the second-straight freshman to rush for over 1,000 yards in just six starts last season.
The first of three non-conference opponents, Jacksonville is one of the top teams in the passing-heavy Pioneer Football League. A year ago the league boasted five quarterbacks who tossed 20 or more touchdowns. In 2010 the Dolphins, who won their second PFL title in three seasons that year, led the FCS in total offense with almost 500 yards per game.
Picked third in the yearly conference coaches poll, Jacksonville has to replace nearly all of their offensive starters from a year ago but returns eight starters on defense. The lone returners on offense, tight end Quintin Davis and wide receiver Arian Riley, look to provide leadership in the passing game for quarterbacks freshman Kade Bell or sophomore Trevius Folston.
The Eagles plan to honor former Snooky's owner Bruce Yawn during halftime. After 41 years of serving Georgia Southern and the Statesboro community, Yawn decided to retire. Snooky's served its last meal on February 18, 2011. GSU will also welcome back a number of former basketball alumni.
Single game tickets as well as season tickets are sale through the Georgia Southern Athletic Ticket Office by ordering online at gseagles.com. Junior Eagle Club will members receive free admission to the Jacksonville game.
Fans can follow their Eagles at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com or receive short updates at facebook.com/GSAthletics, twitter.com/GSAthletics or on Google+ at gplus.to/GSAthletics.
- Category: Football
- Published on Tuesday, 28 August 2012 09:34