Georgia Southern’s fans do not take losing well. That goes without saying. It is part of what sets us apart from other programs in the G5. It’s why Georgia Southern’s win percentage ranks 17th among FBS schools. The pressure has created several diamonds (and rings) over the years. There is a fierce urgency to succeed at all times, no matter what the circumstances. Success breeds expectations. The pressure is always on.
That is what made the losses to ULM and Troy so painful. When the Eagles lose, Eagle Nation becomes a beehive of negativity. It doesn’t take long before the fringes of the fan base call for someone to lose their job. Coaches that had been praised as saviors after beating App State, are derided as liabilities only two weeks later.
Georgia Southern’s fans have an SEC mentality packed into a smaller size. For the uninitiated, the fervor is something closer to the Philadelphia Eagles than it is their conference counterparts. Any other Sun Belt team coming off a 2-10 season would be ecstatic over a turnaround like we’ve seen this season. If Chad Lunsford had pulled this off at South Alabama, they’d be erecting statues in his honor. But Georgia Southern is not South Alabama.
That’s what made the win over Coastal Carolina so important.
Georgia Southern beats Coastal Carolina 41-17
Last night, Chad Lunsford and the gang righted the ship. They beat Coastal Carolina handily, their most impressive road victory of the season. The offense produced 400 rushing yards for the first time in nearly three seasons. The defense gave up a touchdown on Coastal’s opening drive and not much else the rest of the way. The Eagle D held the Chanticleers to only 189 total yards. Jamey Chadwell’s salt over not being hired as Georgia Southern’s head coach in 2015, did not work this time.
Wesley Fields led the way for the Eagles. Running for 148 yards on 20 carries and 2 TDs. For all the criticism he’s received from fans over “losing a step” since his freshman season, he has 1,042 all purpose yards, 9 touchdowns, and leads the team in rushing and receiving yards. Fields has 808 rushing yards on the season, the 1,000 yard mark is reachable with two games left in the season.
It’s good to enter Thanksgiving and Georgia State Hate Week on a positive note. But before we shift gears to the matchup with the Inner City Kitties next Saturday, let’s pause and count our blessings. Being a Georgia Southern Eagle is a blessed existence, it’s important to give thanks, especially during a season as good as this one.
I’m thankful for Chad Lunsford and this coaching staff
Chad Lunsford wasn’t a lot of people’s first choice for the job last December, but he has proven himself more than worthy of the promotion. He’s brought a sense of pride and dignity back to the program one people’s elbow at a time. Bob DeBesse and Scot Sloan have taken their fair share of criticism after the ULM and Troy losses, but they are miles better than Rance Gillespie, David Dean, Bryan Cook, and Lorenzo Costantini. Lunsford slapped together the best recruiting class in Georgia Southern history (on paper) after a 2-10 season, imagine what he can do now? A 10-win season and the largest single-season turnaround in college football history is within reach, that’s simply remarkable.
I’m thankful for this senior class
Wesley Fields, Ellis Richardson, Joshua Moon, Tomarcio Reese, Monteo Garrett, Logan Hunt, Jeremiah Culbreth, Curtis Rainey, Sean Freeman, LaBaron Anthony, Kado Brown, Deshon Cooper, Drake Grall, and Ian Bush. Thank you. Thank you for thinking around through the tough times and bringing us back from the depths. 2016 and 2017 was not what you were promised when you signed here, but you did not quit, you worked hard, and you restored Georgia Southern football to it’s rightful place in the college football pantheon. Eagle Nation is forever grateful.
I’m thankful for Greg Parker
The CEO of Parker’s convenience stores donated $5 million dollars to the College of Business, now named the Greg Parker College of Business. Anyone who’s ever spent any stretch of time in Statesboro (or anywhere in the lowcountry for that matter) has stopped at a Parker’s for gas, or beer, or a slush and a bag of chips. I used to get a slushie from Parker’s and spike it with Everclear, fun times. For as much money as the average Georgia Southern student spends at Parker’s, it’s good to see them give back in such a big way. This is the single-largest gift in the university’s history.
I’m thankful for the talented underclassmen we have on the roster
Shai Werts, Wes Kennedy, Darion Anderson, Chris Harris, Raymond Johnson, and Traver Vliem are only sophomores. Logan Wright, Matt LaRoche, Grant Walker, Najee Thompson, Justin Birdsong, Brandon Cross, Brian Miller, CJ Wright, and Kenderick Duncan are still freshmen. There are others like Quin Williams and Parker Devine that are waiting in the wings. This is before Chad Lunsford hauls in what’s likely to be another stellar recruiting class. The cupboard isn’t bare Eagle Nation, the next few seasons could be really entertaining. The sky is the limit.
I’m thankful for our rich, vibrant tradition and world class fans
Beautiful Eagle Creek, the signing “Down in the Valley” on yellow school buses, GATA, Hail Southern, Freedom’s Flight, One More Time; you name the tradition and we got it. I’m working on theories as to why Georgia Southern has such an active online presence compared to their peers. Georgia Southern Twitter can be just as entertaining as the games themselves. Take Appalachian State for instance, they are similar-sized institution and just as successful (recently) yet our hate week was like poking a dead body. Has the internet made it to Boone yet? Can someone check on them? Anyways, it’s fun to have a fan base that gives a shit. It’s why I like to write even after a long day of teaching. We have the best fans in the world, I’m incredibly thankful for that.
I’m thankful Georgia Southern’s beautiful campus
Just two weeks ago I attended a conference on Georgia State’s campus for work. Let’s just say, it doesn’t hold a candle to the well-manicured grounds of Georgia Southern’s campus. Something about the homeless camps in Hurt Park and the endless labyrinth of parking garages sets a certain mood. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a critique of Atlanta. I love Atlanta, it’s where I was raised and where I currently call home. Georgia Tech, Emory, Morehouse, Spellman, and Clark Atlanta have beautiful campuses, all within city limits. Georgia State is a collection of office buildings downtown, satellite campuses strewn around the metro area, and Turner Field. It is and will always be a commuter school, no matter how much they goose up their admissions numbers illegally. You step on Georgia Southern’s campus and it feels like a classic American college campus. You step on Georgia State’s and it feels like an episode of Community.
With that, let Hate Week commence and have a Happy Thanksgiving!