They’re not big on nicknames at Georgia Southern. About the flashiest it gets is “AP” for Adrian Peterson.
Tracy Ham was, well, Tracy, and Jayson Foster was Jayson. When you say Tracy or Jayson to an Eagle fan you don’t have to explain.
About the best nickname hung on a Georgia Southern player belongs to Mark Williams who is considered the best offensive lineman in school history.
Williams, a dominant guard and two-time winner of the Jacobs Award which goes to the best blocker in the Southern Conference, was known as “Bus” which is pretty self-explanatory.
After a day in the trenches facing Williams defensive linemen felt as if they had been run over by a bus.
Eagles fullback Dominique Swope hasn’t yet earned nickname status, but after last Saturday’s fourth quarter performance against Wofford something like “Train” — as in “I just got run over by a train” — might be open for consideration.
In the 17-9 win over Wofford the 5-11, 221 pound sophomore racked up 137 yards, but more impressively he had 76 in the fourth quarter when he simply ran over a good Terrier defense.
Wofford entered the game allowing only 68.2 rushing yards per game, but was no match for the Eagle offense in the final 15 minutes.
Leading 10-6 Georgia Southern put together a back breaking nine-play 84-yard scoring drive on which Swope carried seven times for 64 yards breaking tackles and carrying Wofford players for extra yards.
With Jerick McKinnon out of the game due to an injury Swope carried the final four plays of the drive, and wound up scoring on a 3-yard run to give the Eagles an 11-point lead to make it all but impossible for the Terriers to catch up.
For that effort he was recognized as the SoCon’s offensive player of the week his first such honor although he was conference freshman of the week year three times last year.
Swope now has 662 yards rushing this season and 1,695 for his career going into Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. game at Furman. He has surpassed the 100-yard mark in five of the Eagles (5-1, 4-1) six games this season.
“I think he had a really good game, particularly the second half,” Coach Jeff Monken said. “He had some runs where he ran through some tackles, and carried some people with him. He made it tough on people to bring him down.”
“I was proud of his effort for that,” Monken said. “We needed that effort out of him to be able to win the football game. He’s a good player.”
Swope is not blessed with blazing speed although some people in Tuscaloosa, Ala., may disagree after watching him rip off a career long 82-yard touchdown run against national champion Alabama last year.
However, he’s not lacking in the power department, and that makes him a good fit for the Eagles’ triple option.
“He’s not a world class speedster,” Monken said. “But, he’s fast enough that he can get out there in the secondary and gain some extra yards. That’s what we need at that position.”
Swope said he was surprised at winning the SoCon honor, that winning the game was more important than any individual honors.
“We’re just trying to win ball games,” Swope said. “Anything else is a blessing. Our defense did a great job, and to hold Wofford to three field goals after they got inside the 10-yard line is outstanding … they came up with some great plays.”
The Eagles have now won four straight games since losing at The Citadel, and they simply took charge of the game in the fourth quarter against the Terriers.
“Everyone was adjusting to the game, and we got in a groove,” Swope said. “We had confidence, and were motivated to win the game. We had to put together because now we control our own destiny.
“We’re just focusing on one game at a time. The way we’re playing we feel the only thing that can beat us is us.”
Swope has now scorched the Terriers for 302 yards in two meetings, having gained 165 against them last year.
He has also scored a touchdown in seven straight games dating back to last season’s loss to North Dakota State in the FCS semifinals.