STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - The latest edition of the bitter rivalry between Georgia Southern and Appalachian State happens Thursday night in Statesboro in one of the more anticipated Eagle home football games in recent memory.
Both teams enter the game unbeaten in Sun Belt play, and the Mountaineers come to Statesboro ranked 25th in the latest AP Poll making them the first ranked opponent to visit Paulson Stadium.
“We know what this Thursday means for this team, for this program, and for this school,” says QB Shai Werts.
A win would help the Eagles in their quest for Sun Belt title. But it would also help shift the tide of this series recently.
Georgia Southern hasn’t beaten their arch rival since 2014, and has lost six of the last seven to the Mountaineers. Head coach Chad Lunsford knows getting a win over App would be an extra sweet result for many in the locker room.
“I actually asked the whole football team yesterday, and I knew the answer, to raise their hand if they’d ever beaten App State,” Lunsford says. “There’s not many out there that could do that, and I’m talking about staff included. So this is important to the program. We’re going to do our best job and take our best shot at it.”
It’ll be the second Thursday game in three weeks for the Eagles. Only this Thursday night affair won’t happen in a nearly empty stadium halfway across the country, it’ll happen in front of a packed home venue.
The win over Texas State two Thursdays ago could be described as sluggish. The Eagles know they can’t afford to have a word like that describe their play this Thursday night.
“We just have to get going faster," Werts says. “I feel like last short week, we kind of got going slow and I feel like it showed on the field.”
The Eagles and Mountaineers kick off at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night from Paulson Stadium in Statesboro.