For the third time in four games, Georgia Southern has a freshman with a weekly conference award.
Safety Deion Stanley and quarterback Ezayi Youyoute already have Southern Conference Freshman of the Week honors, and fullback Dominique Swope added his name to the list after rushing for 74 yards and a score and adding a 12-yard touchdown reception Saturday in a 41-14 win at Elon.
The run after catch for the score saw two Elon defensive backs bounce off in a failed attempt to tackle Swope, but the freshman was so focused, he didn’t recall the attempts to bring him down.
“I can’t even remember that,” Swope laughed after Monday’s practice. “I just remember catching the ball and getting to the end zone. I’ll have to watch tape to see what happened.”
For the second straight week, Swope and the No. 1-ranked Eagles (4-0, 3-0 SoCon) will face a team that’s well versed against the option. No. 24 Chattanooga saw a 24-point lead melt away in a 28-27 loss to The Citadel on Saturday.
Swope feels that the fact that UTC already has seen the option only can help the Eagles.
“That’s more tape for us to learn,” Swope said about the Mocs’ defense.
A bigger role
After a spinal injury to safety Derek Heyden, who is out for the season but rejoined the Eagles at a team meeting Thursday, Stanley stepped into the role. Stanley started opposite Heyden in the season opener at Samford.
He hasn’t felt any added pressure, during the game, anyway.
“To tell the truth, there’s more pressure on the practice field than in the game,” Stanley said. “We’ve got great coaches all the way.
They support me, I support them, and I’m glad to be a part of the program.”
Heyden received a standing ovation from the team when he returned Thursday, and Stanley and the rest of the Eagles still have him on their minds.
“He’s great player and a great person overall,” Stanley said. “A great team player.”
A hopeful return
Sophomore running back/backup quarterback Jerick McKinnon — who has rushed for four touchdowns, caught one and thrown for another this season — missed Saturday’s game with a fracture in his hand suffered away from the practice field last week.
He did not make the trip with the team.
Monken is hopeful he will be available Saturday when GSU hosts the Mocs.
Plenty to work on
Even after putting up 41 points in a road win over a conference opponent, the Eagles weren’t altogether happy with their performance.
“We can definitely play better,” quarterback Jaybo Shaw said. “We made mistakes, we put the ball on the ground and we had a turnover.”
“I think our guys are humble enough at this point that they don’t think they’re just going to line up every week and have a blowout,” Monken said.
Ready for battle
Chattanooga (2-3, 0-2) has been ranked as high as No. 15 this season, but the SoCon schedule has been rough.
The Mocs opened with a 14-12 loss to Appalachian State in which the Mountaineers didn’t score an offensive touchdown, and followed that by blowing a 24-point lead against The Citadel.
“I’m afraid they’re going to come in like a bunch of rattlesnakes, ticked off and playing hard,” Monken said about Saturday’s upcoming game against the Mocs. “I don’t think that (UTC coach Russ Huesman) is the kind of coach that won’t have his team ready to play the next game.”