When Laron Scott was asked about playing the University of Alabama at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the Georgia Southern senior cornerback said, “We approach every game like it’s the Super Bowl.”
He then paused, grinned from ear to ear and said, “These will be the Green Bay Packers, I guess.”
GSU’s players probably will feel like they are playing the defending Super Bowl champion Packers when they face Alabama. The Eagles, who play in the Football Championship Subdivision, are 0-15 against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents. Since 1984, GSU has lost to East Carolina (twice), Florida (twice), Florida State (twice), Auburn, Georgia (three times), Miami (twice), Colorado State, North Carolina and Navy.
But GSU led in both games against East Carolina, and the Eagles had a 10-7 lead against FSU with 9 minutes to play in 1988.
GSU has never played Alabama. The game will be televised on ESPN3. It will be Alabama’s final home game before playing at Auburn on Nov. 26.
“It’s going to be a great game,” GSU freshman fullback Dominique Swope said. “Going over there and playing in front of that many people, we’re bound to have fun.”
Alabama is 9-1 overall, 6-1 in the Southeastern Conference and ranked third in the Bowl Championship Series standings, as well as in all major polls. The Crimson Tide are coming off a 24-7 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday.
GSU improved to 9-1 overall and 7-1 in the Southern Conference after beating Wofford, 31-10, to win the SoCon championship Saturday in Spartanburg, S.C. It was the Eagles’ ninth SoCon championship since joining the league in 1993, first since 2004 (shared it with Furman) and first outright since 2002.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban spoke with reporters Monday, and Crimson Tide beat writer Izzy Gould wrote on al.com that Saban said of GSU, “They do what they do extremely well. They run a flex-bone offense, sort of Georgia Tech-style offense. It’s like the wishbone offense. One of the best running teams in the country. This is a team that’s 9-1 for a reason. Teams like this beat Division I teams all the time.”
GSU gets AP vote
GSU on Sunday received a vote in the AP Top 25 Poll, becoming only the eighth FCS program to receive the honor since The Associated Press allowed votes to be cast on FCS teams in 2007.
Ray Ratto, a former San Francisco Chronicle columnist now with Comcast Sports Bay Area, voted GSU No. 25 in the AP poll.
“Frankly, I got tired of trying to parse all the three-loss teams with good losses and no good wins and was leaning toward North Dakota State before it lost Saturday,” Ratto told Michael Casagrande of dailybamablog.com. “Georgia Southern is next up on the FCS list to me.”
GSU moves up
GSU on Monday moved up a spot to No. 3 in the The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top 25 College Football Poll. The Eagles moved up a spot to No. 2 in the FCS Coaches Poll.
Montana State (9-1) moved up a spot to No. 1 in both polls. Former No. 1 North Dakota State (9-1) dropped to No. 5 in both polls after losing to Youngstown State on Saturday. Sam Houston State (10-0) is No. 2 in the TSN/Fathead.com Poll and No. 3 in the FCS Coaches Poll.
GSU fullback Dominique Swope on Monday was named SoCon Freshman of the Week after running for 165 yards on 27 carries, both career highs and an average of 6.1 yards per carry, in the Eagles’ 31-10 victory over Wofford.
“We just knew if we kept on working, kept on fighting, everything would come our way. Luckily, it did,” Swope said.
Swope was named SoCon Freshman of the Week for the second time. He won the award after running 15 times for 74 yards against Elon on Oct. 1.