Phoenix and Eagles Match Up for SoCon Opener Saturday
STATESBORO, Ga. - Georgia Southern (2-1) returns to Paulson Stadium after two straight road games to open its 2010 Southern Conference season with #10/11 Elon (1-2).
KICKOFF: 6:05 p.m. at Paulson Stadium (capacity 18,000)
PROMOTIONS: Georgia Southern's fifth annual "Cheerleader for a Day" camp begins at 12 p.m. Saturday at Hanner Fieldhouse. After learning cheers and chants, participants will be able to join the Eagle cheerleaders at Paulson Stadium and form the pre-game tunnel for the football team to run through. Parents can register their children Saturday at 12 p.m. The cost for the camp is $35. Children must wear athletic attire including tennis shoes and socks.
Prior to the game, McDonald's of Statesboro will be handing out free fruit smoothies and frappes and Verizon Wireless will distribute free promotional items inside the Eagle Fun Zone located near Gate 4.
SOCON SATURDAY IN STATESBORO: The 2010 SoCon opener for both Georgia Southern and Elon will be featured on SportSouth's "SoCon Saturday" with the broadcast beginning at 6 p.m. local time in Statesboro. Tom Werme will handle play-by-play duties and Sam Wyche the analysis.
WHERE TO LISTEN: The 17-affiliate Georgia Southern Radio Network will carry the game locally in Statesboro on 102.9 FM WPMX with free audio available globally on GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/Eaglevision. Fans in Paulson Stadium can listen to the Eagles broadcast on 88.1 FM. "Voice of the Eagles" Chris Blair, Eagle standout punter Terry Harvin and sideline reporter Ryan Chambers bring fans the Citizens Bank pre-game show beginning at 4 p.m. ET.
THE SERIES: Today's game marks the 11th meeting between the Phoenix and the Eagles with Georgia Southern holding a 7-3 advantage. Georgia Southern won the first-ever meeting in 1998 31-17 and the two teams have played every year since 2003 when Elon joined the Southern Conference. Elon has won the last three meetings, but Georgia Southern owns a 4-1 record over Elon in Paulson Stadium.
CONFERENCE OPENERS: The Eagles are 8-9 in Southern Conference openers dating back to the 1993 season. Georgia Southern's last league opener against a ranked opponent was versus #17 Elon on September 20, 2008 (22-20 Phoenix win at Paulson Stadium). The highest ranked opponent to fall to Georgia Southern in a SoCon season opener was third-ranked Wofford in 58-14 loss on Sept. 18, 2003.
This is the second time Elon has been Georgia Southern's SoCon season opener, both times at Paulson Stadium.
COACH TO CURE MD CELEBRATES THIRD SEASON WITH SIDELINE PATCHES: Georgia Southern's coaches will join college football coaches nationwide in support of the Coach to Cure MD program, which will be held during Saturday's games. The rapidly growing annual effort has raised more than half a million dollars to battle Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
On September 25th, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) members will wear a Coach to Cure MD logo patch on the sidelines and college football fans will be asked to donate to research projects supported by Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, the largest nonprofit organization in the U.S. focused entirely on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Football fans can donate to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research by either going online to www.CoachtoCureMD.org or by texting the word CURE to 90999 (a $5 donation will automatically be added to your next phone bill).
FIRST AT WOMACK FIELD: On September 25, 1982, Georgia Southern played its first home football game at Statesboro High School's Womack Field. The Eagles played the first two games of their inaugural season in Jacksonville and Savannah before returning home to play host to Valdosta State.
THE RANKINGS: The Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Coaches voted Georgia Southern 24th in the rankings released on Monday after the Eagles received votes in the polls in the preseason and after their first two games. Elon dropped from its number-seven ranking last week in the FCS Coaches poll to 11th after a 21-27 overtime loss at ninth-ranked Richmond. The Phoenix is still ranked in the top 10 at 10th in the Sports Network/Fathead.com poll.
THE COACHES: Jeff Monken, with 21 years of coaching experience, is in his first year as head coach of the Eagles. Monken served for five years as an assistant coach on Paul Johnson's staff at Georgia Southern from 1997-2001. During that time, 62 victories were recorded against only 10 losses. The Eagles won five straight SoCon championships and won two national championships during that stretch.
In his fifth year as head coach of Elon, Pete Lembo has guided the Phoenix from the bottom of the SoCon standings to a first-ever playoff berth last season. Lembo spent eight years at Lehigh where all eight of his teams finished the year with a top-25 ranking and with at least eight games won. He served as the Mountain Hawks assistant coach for three seasons before becoming head coach in 2001.
NEW TO THE LINEUP: In the first three games of the 2010 season, 29 players have made their first-game appearances in a Georgia Southern uniform: True freshmen (16): Robert Brown, Tray Butler, Dorian Byrd, Carlos Cave, Josh Gebhardt, Miguel Gilmore, Lester Green, Zach Lonas, Javonte Martin, Jerick McKinnon, Blake Riley, Darries Robinson, Kentrellis Showers, Michael Spaulding, Lavelle Westbrooks and Ezayi Youyoute Sophomores (8): Hunter Baldwin, Ryan Byrne, Brandon Lane, Bryant Meeks, Javon Mention, Kyle Oehlbeck, Boyd Sasser and Garrett Smith Juniors (4): Michael Butler, John Douglas, Billy Greer and Jaybo Shaw Senior (1): Paul Gourdeau
MORE FOR MORA: Junior kicker Adrian Mora (Dalton, Ga.), thankfully not one for superstitions, nears the record for career consecutive PATs made currently held by Reed Haley (67 from 1992-1994). Mora has been perfect in PATs in his career, 61-61 (31 in 2008, 19 in 2009, 11 so far in 2010).
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Holding bowl participant Navy to an uncharacteristic 13 points, the lowest point total allowed to an FBS opponent in Georgia Southern history, the Eagles were the top ranked defensive team nationally last week. Georgia Southern is still the top-ranked team in the SoCon in both scoring defense and total defense and will face the league's top team in pass offense with 309 yards per game in Elon. The Phoenix is second in the SoCon in scoring offense, averaging 34.3 points per contest.
SUPPORTING THE GULF COAST: Southern Conference football teams will show their support for those being negatively impacted along the Gulf Coast by wearing helmet decals with the initials "GC" during the 2010 football season. More than 170 SoCon football players come from states that share a coastline being affected by the oil spill. The nine institutions that play SoCon football agreed to display the decals to express their support and encouragement for the people living in the region.
GAME UPDATES: Live stats can be followed on GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com website by scrolling to the schedule at the bottom of the home page and clicking on the "Live Stats" link. Score and quarter updates will also be available on twitter.com/GSScores.
- Category: Football
- Published on Saturday, 25 September 2010 00:13