Football Opens the 2011 Season at SoCon Foe Samford
STATESBORO, Ga. - For the first time in Georgia Southern Football history, the Eagles will play a Southern Conference game for its season opener when it travels to Birmingham, Ala. to open its 30th season of football with a 7 p.m. EDT kickoff against the Samford Bulldogs. GSU is traveling for its season opener for the first time since 2008 but will be wearing their home uniforms due to Samford's request.
The game can be heard live on the statewide Georgia Southern Radio Network, online on EagleVision and on 95.1 FM inside Seibert Stadium. The coverage starts two hours prior to kickoff with the Citizens Bank Tailgate Show. The "Voice of the Eagles" Chris Blair returns for his sixth season and is joined by former Eagle Terry Harvin in the booth and Ryan Chambers on the sidelines.
The Eagles will look to continue their momentum from a semifinal playoff run that included a streak of six-straight wins following a 4-4 start to the year when they open the 2011 season against the Bulldogs. GSU set the tone on their opening drives in the final 10 games of 2010, scoring on all but three of them and sparked their six-game win streak with a 21-14 upset win over #1 Appalachian State.
Georgia Southern returns all 11 starters on offense, nine on defense and three specialists, which combined with their 2010 finish, have buoyed the Eagles in the preseason polls. The FCS Coaches Poll and Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top-25 Poll both selected the Eagles in the top-5.
Included in the returners on offense is GSU's first 1,000 yard rusher since Jayson Foster in 2007 and a dual-threat option quarterback. Robert Brown (Macon, Ga.) ran for 1,004 yards and was one of five Eagle rushers with over 450 yards in 2010.
Quarterback Jaybo Shaw (Flowery Branch, Ga.) got the option offense off to a good start in its return to Statesboro, rushing for 514 yards while passing for 1,233 yards in 14 starts. The Eagles may be 5-0 all-time when posting zero passing yards in the option offense, but their 2010 total was just over 500 passing yards short of the 2009 air game. Shaw's primary target, J.J. Wilcox (Cairo, Ga.), averaged 25.0 yards per catch and reeled in 551 yards.
Georgia Southern and Samford have met only six times and three of those came before the Bulldogs joined the Southern Conference. The Bulldogs have held the edge in the series lately, winning all three SoCon meetings. Samford went 4-7 with a 2-6 SoCon record last season but returns seven offensive starters and four more on defense.
The Eagles return home next weekend for their home opener at Paulson Stadium. GSU faces Tusculum in a 6 p.m. kickoff. Season tickets as well as single-game tickets for all Georgia Southern Football games are on sale through the Georgia Southern Athletic Ticket Office. Orders can be placed by calling 1-800-478-9467 (GSU-WINS) or locally at 478-9467. For 24/7 convenience, tickets may also be purchased online at GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com/tickets.
Follow the Eagles on GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com and get short updates on twitter.com/GSAthletics, facebook.com/GSAthletics and Google+.
- Category: Football
- Published on Thursday, 01 September 2011 23:47