GREENVILLE, S.C. -- It's Furman versus Georgia Southern this Saturday. Need anything else be said?
Well, let's fill in a few details.
Saturday's 1:30 p.m. clash at Paladin Stadium will highlight Homecoming Weekend at Furman and pit the Paladins (2-5, 1-3 SoCon) against the SoCon front-running Eagles (5-1, 4-1 SoCon), the consensus third-ranked team in this week's Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) polls.
The game will be broadcast over Furman Sports Network Greenville flagship station WOLT-FM 103.3, Upstate affiliate WGOG-FM 96.3, as well as stadium transmitter at FM 105.9. Live stream video and audio will be presented online by StretchAudio through Furman All-Access at www.FurmanPaladins.com. Live stats will also be provided through www.furmanpaladins.com and in-game twitter updates available at twitter.com/FurmanPaladins
The Paladins and Eagles have been football antagonists since 1985 when the two first met on the gridiron in Tacoma, Wash., to decide the I-AA (FCS) national championship. Georgia Southern won that inaugural meeting, 44-42, but just three years later Furman gained revenge by taking down the Eagles, 17-12, in Pocatello, Idaho, to claim the 1988 national crown — the first ever by a SoCon member school. The game will mark the 24th meeting between the two schools. Georgia Southern holds a 15-8 series advantage and has won the last two encounters, including a 50-20 triumph last year in Statesboro — the largest margin of victory by either team in series history.
Furman will need a Herculean effort to turn back Georgia Southern and notch its first win in the series since 2009. After fumbling their way to a 23-21 loss at The Citadel on Sept.8, the Eagles have won four straight, the latest being a 17-9 home triumph over sixth-ranked Wofford last Saturday.
GSU sports its usual high octane double slot ground attack that averages an impressive 408.3 yards per game. The effective ball control offense is complimented significantly by an veteran Eagle stop unit that tops the SoCon in scoring defense (14.0 ppg) and total defense (266.5 ypg).
The Paladins, coming off a disappointing 31-10 home loss to Chattanooga last Saturday, need a victory to avoid suffering their second losing season in the last three years. Jump starting its ground attack, which was limited to just 39 yards by the Mocs, will be a tall order behind an young offensive line, but Furman has a proven weapon in senior running back Jerodis Williams, who enters the game ranked second in the SoCon in rushing with 815 yards and seven touchdowns.
While Georgia Southern could devote significant defensive attention against a more one-dimensional Wofford offensive attack, the Eagles won't have that luxury against the Paladins, who will also employ a passing game headed up by freshman quarterback Reese Hannon (215.2 ypg), senior wide receiver Will King (34 rec., 541 yds., 3 TDs), and senior All-America tight end Colin Anderson (21 rec., 356 yds.). Furman's ability to operate effectively through the air will depend heavily on its ability to protect Hannon in the face of a GSU pass rush that tops the SoCon with 17 sacks.
Furman, which beat fifth-ranked Wofford (26-21) and third-ranked Appalachian State (20-10) last year in Paladin Stadium, has won three of its last four home clashes with FCS Top 10-ranked teams.