Delaware and Georgia Southern Square Off in Semifinal
Georgia Southern travels to Delaware this weekend for a Saturday, December 18th, NCAA FCS Semifinal game against the fifth-ranked Blue Hens. The Eagles advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2002 with a 23-20 win over Wofford while Delaware defeated New Hampshire 16-3 to move into the semifinal round. UD last played in the semifinals in 2007 before facing Appalachian State in the national championship game.
Third-seeded Delaware and Georgia Southern square off for the first time since a Blue Hens win in the 2002 season opener, which was also K.C. Keeler's debut as the Hens' head coach. The two teams last met in the playoffs in 2000 when the Eagles won the semifinal game at Delaware Stadium en route to an unprecedented sixth national championship.
12:05 p.m. Eastern Time at Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium.
WHERE TO LISTEN
In his fifth year as the "Voice of the Eagles," Chris Blair will call all the action for Saturday's matchup on the 17-station Georgia Southern Radio Network. Eagle standout Terry Harvin provides the color commentary and Ryan Chambers brings the sideline experience to the broadcast. The game can be heard locally in Statesboro on 102.9 WPMX-FM or globally online at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/Eaglevision. A complete list of affiliates can be found at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/radionetwork. Eagle fans can listen to the Georgia Southern Radio Network broadcast inside Delaware Stadium by tuning into 91.9 FM.
WHERE TO WATCH
Georgia Southern fans and a national television audience will be able to view the Eagles-Blue Hens football game on ESPNU HD. Pam Ward will provide the play-by-play for the game with Danny Kannell handling the color analysis. The broadcast begins at 12 p.m. with kickoff at 12:05 p.m.
The Eagles celebrated three anniversaries during the 2010 season: the 25th anniversary of the first championship in 1985 (more than 50 members of the 1985 team returned for the Wofford game October 9th), the 20th anniversary of the 1990 championship and the 10th anniversary of the 2000 championship (both teams honored on November 6th).
In his first year as head coach at Georgia Southern, Jeff Monken guided the Eagles to their first playoff victory since 2002 with the 41-16 win over #11/12 South Carolina State. Georgia Southern followed up the first-round playoff win with a second-round triumph over fourth-ranked and second-seeded William & Mary 31-15 and quarterfinal win over Southern Conference foe Wofford, 23-21.
With 21 years of coaching experience, the Joliet, Ill., native has compiled a 10-4 overall record and recorded a 5-3 mark in Southern Conference play. In November, the Eagles defeated then-top-ranked and previously undefeated Appalachian State 21-14 in overtime at Paulson Stadium and picked up road wins at Western Carolina and Furman to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA FCS playoffs.
Monken served for five years as an assistant coach on Paul Johnson's staff at Georgia Southern from 1997-2001. During that time, the Eagles went 62 and 10, winning five straight SoCon championships and two national titles. He joined Johnson at Navy, helping the Midshipmen to five straight bowl appearances, and then at Georgia Tech, where the Yellow Jackets won an ACC title and earned an Orange Bowl berth in 2009.
K.C. Keeler is in his ninth season leading the Delaware program and 18th season overall as a head coach. A Delaware alum and standout linebacker for the Blue Hens' 1979 NCAA Division II national title team, Keeler owns a 10-2 mark in playoff action at UD and has a perfect 7-0 playoff record at Delaware Stadium.
A 2010 finalist for Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year, Keeler guided the Hens to a national championship in 2003 and national championship appearance in 2007. Delaware has won three conference titles under his tutelage (2003, 2004 and 2010) and has advanced to the NCAA FCS semifinals for the third time (2003, 2007 and 2010) in his career.
Keeler's tenure at Rowan College also produced numerous NCAA playoff appearances. In nine seasons Keeler and the Profs registered an 88-21-1 record with seven trips to the postseason, including five championship game appearances.
Delaware and Georgia Southern have met on four previous occasions with the two teams splitting the series evenly at 2-2 with a 1-1 mark in postseason play.
The last meeting between the two programs was the 2002 head coaching debut of Blue Hens Coach K.C. Keeler. Delaware won the Thursday, August 29, 2002 contest 22-19.
Georgia Southern and Delaware have met four previous times with Head Coach Jeff Monken serving as an assistant coach for the Eagles in three of those meetings (1997, 2000, 2001). Monken has also faced the Blue Hens as an assistant at the Naval Academy where the two teams played three times (2003, 2004, 2007).
Georgia Southern has played three games at Delaware Stadium with a 1-2 record in those games, but this Saturday's meeting at Delaware will be first time the Eagles will play at Tubby Raymond Field with its new FieldTurf. The new surface was installed following the Hens' 2009 season.
Delaware is the fifth opponent the Eagles will face this season coached by an alum of the institution. Georgia Southern met Russ Huesman's Chattanooga in October and then Bobby Lamb (Furman), Oliver "Buddy" Pough (South Carolina State) and Jimmye Laycock (William & Mary) in consecutive games.
LAST ONE STANDING FROM SOCON
Three Southern Conference teams advanced to the FCS quarterfinals for the first time since 2001 with Georgia Southern now the last SoCon team remaining in postseason play. The Eagles, with their last appearance in the semfinals in 2002, were picked to finish seventh in the league by both the coaches and media in the 2010 preseason polls.
STILL THE ONE
Georgia Southern ranks FIRST ALL-TIME with 41 playoff wins and six National Championships. Georgia Southern currently stands fourth all-time in most NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoff appearances.
Team (Appearances - Last)........... Record
Georgia Southern (17 - 2010)........... 41-10
Montana (20 - 2009)......................... 30-18
Youngstown State (11 - 2006)............. 25-7
Appalachian State (18 - 2010).......... 24-14
Delaware (15 - 2010)......................... 19-13
Northern Iowa (15 - 2010).................. 18-15
Furman (15 - 2006)........................... 17-14
Eastern Kentucky (19 - 2008)............ 16-17
McNeese St. (14 - 2007)................... 11-14
Eastern Illinois (13 - 2009).................. 3-13
Jackson State (12 - 1997)................... 0-12
After ending Appalachian State's 26-game Southern Conference win streak at the beginning of November, the Eagles came back to win 31-15 at William & Mary's Zable Field and break the Tribe's 11-game home winning streak. Georgia Southern also ruined Wofford's perfect 5-0 mark at Gibbs Stadium.
FROST ON THE PUMPKIN
One of Coach Erk Russell's well-known sayings reminded everyone that the Eagles needed to be playing well when the "frost was on the pumpkin," referencing cooler temperatures later in the year. Georgia Southern posted a 4-0 record in November for the first time since 2005 and has a 2-0 mark in December for the first time since 2001.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The Eagles make their third straight road trip and head to Delaware this weekend. Georgia Southern has played five of its last six games away from Paulson Stadium and is 6-2 away from home this season.
POSTSEASON ADDS TO STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE
Following last weekend's playoff game, Georgia Southern's schedule is now ranked ninth-toughest in the nation among FCS teams, according to the NCAA. Eagle opponents have totalled 78 wins, the third-highest total among FCS teams, against 61 losses, for a 56.1 winning percentage.
WINS OVER NUMBER ONE
Georgia Southern has notched wins over the number-one team in the country twice in the last six seasons, both at Paulson Stadium. The Eagles defeated top-ranked Furman 27-24 in 2005 and knocked the Mountaineers out of the top spot in the polls with a 21-14 overtime victory November 6th.
WINS OVER RANKED TEAMS
In addition to the win over top-ranked Appalachian State in November, the Eagles have picked up wins against four other top-25 teams this season. Georgia Southern also defeated #10/11 Elon and then picked up wins over #11/12 South Carolina State, #4 William & Mary and #6/7 Wofford in the playoffs. Wofford, ranked #25/21 at the time of the first meeting, is one of the Eagles' losses.
The Eagle defense held the William & Mary without an offensive touchdown and kept it scoreless in the second half. Georgia Southern kept Wofford without points in the first quarter and without a touchdown in the first half of last week's quarterfinal game. Georgia Southern has held its opponents scoreless for 26 quarters this year with six teams blanked in a half, including the shutout of The Citadel.
The Eagle D recorded second-half shutouts of Navy, The Citadel, Appalachian State, Western Carolina and William & Mary and kept Savannah State and The Citadel from scoring in the first half.
One of the 20 finalists for the Buck Buchanan Award for the top defensive player in the FCS, Brent Russell (Comer, Ga.) was selected as a Walter Camp Football Foundation All-American and to the Associated Press All-America First Team Defense. Russell was also named November student-athlete of the month for the Southern Conference, representing the defensive football players in the league.
Russell helped lead the Eagles to a 4-0 month of November which included wins over then-top-ranked and previously undefeated Appalachian State and 11th-ranked South Carolina State in the first round of the NCAA FCS playoffs. The Eagle defense held the Mountaineers to 114 yards on the ground and a season low 323 yards of total offense in a 21-14 overtime win on Nov. 6. Russell shared the team lead for tackles in that game with six, including 2.5 tackles for loss for 12 yards.
The First-Team All-SoCon selection recorded seven tackles in Eagles' win at Western Carolina with 3.5 tackles for loss for a total of 22 yards. He also registered four assisted tackles in comeback victory at Furman and helped keep the Paladins scoreless in the fourth quarter. In the FCS playoff game against the Bulldogs, he tallied four tackles with one tackle for a loss of nine yards. Russell forced a fumble that led to an Eagle recovery and return for touchdown. For the month, he recorded 22 tackles, eight tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
SCOTT SCAMPERS FOR RECORD
Junior kickoff return specialist Laron Scott (Warner Robins, Ga.) broke Andre Weathers' single-game record (167) for most kickoff return yards in a single game with his 173 yards against Wofford and tied the record for returns with 6 with former Eagles Darrell Pasco (vs. Furman, 2009) and Marvin Bell (Bethune-Cookman, 1984) in the same game. Scott now owns the single-season record for kickoff returns, at 38, and counting.
Scott surpassed Young and his 1986 season-record 715 yards on kickoff returns in the Furman game. Scott currently has 1,027 yards on 38 returns in 2010.
EVEN MORE FOR MORA
With two PATs against Wofford, junior kicker Adrian Mora (Dalton, Ga.) tied and then set the Georgia Southern career record for consecutive PATs made, currently standing at 94. Mora has been perfect in PATs in his career, 94-94 (31 in 2008, 19 in 2009, and 44 straight so far in 2010). Mora, who was one of 10 finalists for the Fred Mitchell Place Kicker Award, has accounted for at least one point in every game in which he has played.
FOUR NAMED TO AP ALL-AMERICA LIST
Sophomore nose tackle Brent Russell (Comer, Ga.) highlighted a list of four Georgia Southern Eagles honored with Associated Press (AP) NCAA Division I FCS All-America honors, announced by the AP Wednesday. With a total of four players, Georgia Southern tied Stephen F. Austin and Appalachian State for the most All-America selections in 2010.
Russell, a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, was named a first-team AP-All-American, adding to an impressive list of 2010 accolades.
Junior offensive tackle Brett Moore (Warner Robins, Ga.), junior place kicker Adrian Mora (Dalton, Ga.) and junior defensive back, Laron Scott (Warner Robins, Ga.) earned third-team All-America honors for their efforts this season.
RUSSELL ONE OF 26 SELECTED WALTER CAMP ALL-AMERICAN
Brent Russell was named a 2010 Walter Camp Football Foundation All-American, one of 26 selected for the prestigious honor. The team was selected by the head coaches and sports information directors of the Football Championship Subdivision schools and certified by the accounting and auditing firm, Marcum LLP.
The 2010 Walter Camp All-America defensive squad includes 10 players who are candidates for the Buck Buchanan Award, presented annually to the top defensive player in the Football Championship Subdivision. Russell, a first-team All-Southern Conference pick on defense, is tied for 32nd nationally in tackles for loss with 17.5 for 88 yards and ranked 42nd nationally with seven sacks. Russell leads the 10-4 Eagles in both categories.
In all, players from 12 different conferences and 24 institutions were represented on the 2010 Walter Camp FCS All-America team. The Big Sky and Southern Conferences had the most selections with four selections each. The Colonial Athletic Association and Missouri Valley Conference each had three.
- Category: Football
- Published on Friday, 17 December 2010 04:54