One week ago Georgia Southern survived a scare from UT-Chattanooga, needing to turn away a 2-pt conversion attempt and then recover an onside kick to edge the Mocs 28-27. Georgia Southern was paced its victory by a powerful running game and three different Eagles scored in the victory. Jaybo Shaw ran for two scores and passed for another. Robert Brown (169 yards against UTC) and Dominique Swope are the two main backs that eat up yardage for Georgia Southern. The offense entered the Chattanooga game averaging 498 yards per game but were held to just 383 by the Mocs. Now No. 1 Georgia Southern will welcome to Paulson Stadium the Paladins of Furman. The Paladins enter the game on a bit of downer, having just lost to Samford 26-21, its first loss to the Bulldogs since 1969.
Georgia Southern’s Laron Scott came up with a huge interception one week ago against Chattanooga, ending a drive at the three yard line, and Scott continues to rack up return yardage on kickoffs. This season Scott has 364 return yards on 10 returns including a 99-yard return for a score. If Furman plans to kick away from Scott, Darrieon Robinson is averaging nearly twenty yards per return.
Furman’s QB Chris Forcier is a dangerous passer, having set the school’s single game passing record with 356 yards in that Samford game. Furman will throw the ball around the yard and Forcier is usually accurate though he did turn it over Saturday. He registered three picks against the Samford defense, his first of the year. Forcier has competed 70% of his passes this year for 1027 yards and 15 touchdowns. The senior quarterback will look to targets Tersoo Uhaa, Tyler Maples and the team’s leader in receptions, tight end Colin Anderson. Anderson has 22 catches on the year to go with four scores, also tops on the team. Maples is right on Anderson’s heels, hauling in 21 receptions for 359 yards and three scores. He averages nearly 72 yards per game. Jerodis Williams, the junior running back from Prattville, AL, leads the team with 111 rushing yards per game and has 572 yards and four scores, though he isn’t much of a receiving threat out of the backfield with just five catches for 19 yards.
The Paladin defense is anchored by Josh Lynn and his three sacks up front. Shawn Boone has gotten to the opponent’s quarterbacks twice this season. Mitch McGrath has six tackles for loss to lead the team to go with his two interceptions. Greg Worthy also has two picks on the year.
If the game comes down to a kick on a field goal or extra point, the Eagles may feel better about their chances as Adrian Mora is a perfect 6-6 on field goals and 28-28 on PATs (123-123 for his career). Mora broke the GSU career field goal record earlier this year. Furman’s kickers missed two field goals in its five-point loss and Chas Short is just 4-7 this year while Ray Early is 0-1. The two have combined to make 19-22 PATs.
Fletcher Proctor is Assistant Managing Director at Score Atlanta, a full service Atlanta-based sports marketing company and media partner with GPB Sports