Andrew Mathewson, Henry Robinson, Isaac Johnson, Colin Robinson, Sims Miller, Spencer Demink, Susie Clements, Rane Dixon, Kasey-Lee Neal, Megan Evans, Naomi Mason, Andrea Baxter and Chris Manning with other students at the Georgia Southern soccer tailgate on Oct. 1. All photos by Kee’Ara Smith.
Eagles hoping to use momentum from 2018 to advantage in 2019 football season
By Kaitlin Sells, The George-Anne Statesboro Managing Sports Editor
Last season was momentous for the Georgia Southern football team as they showed Eagle Nation that it is possible to make a historic comeback.
The 2017 season for the Eagles was abysmal, resulting in a 2-10 season and a fired head coach. Following the disappointing season, newly hired Head Coach Chad Lunsford showed everyone what a turnaround looks like as he lead the Eagles to a 10 win season as well as claiming the school’s second bowl win.
This 2019 season will be a long fight for the Eagles, starting on day one. GS will begin play in Tiger Stadium, as they take on SEC opponent Louisiana State University.
Along with facing difficult opponent LSU on the road, the Eagles will also be traveling to play Minnesota, South Alabama, Appalachian State, Troy and Arkansas State. One could argue that these road games will be the most challenging for the Eagles.
As far as tough games go, App State is a given. The “rivalry deeper than hate” was taken to another level last season when the Eagles beat the then-ranked Mountaineers at Paulson 34-14. App State will most definitely be on the prowl for redemption while defending their honor on their home turf on Halloween.
The Eagles overall have looked good as a team during preseason play.
“By the end of spring ball everyone wanted to play a football game,” Lunsford said.
While there are obvious strong returners in redshirt-senior kicker Tyler Bass, senior cornerback Kindle Vildor and redshirt-junior quarterback Shai Werts, there are some newcomers that have shown potential during the offseason.
Bass is coming off a big season high after helping the Eagles land their second bowl win after kicking a last-second field goal to win the game. Bass went 19-21 in field goals, good for a 90.48 kicking percentage.
Vildor is another big returner to the Eagle roster after his impressive defensive performance last season. The cornerback logged 31 solo tackles in the 31 games he played as well as notching four interceptions on the season.
Werts also ended last season on a high after his incredible fourth down conversion where he rushed 29 yards on a 4th and 10 in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl. That conversion put the Eagles inside field goal range, allowing Bass to come in and seal the win for GS. Overall, Werts rushed a total of 908 yards on the 2018 season as well as passing for 987 yards. The now redshirt-junior also collected 15 rushing touchdowns last season.
For the newcomers, redshirt-sophomore inside linebacker Reynard Ellis is a name that was dropped for upcoming players. Ellis transferred in from Furman and had to sit out the 2018-19 season per NCAA transfer rules, utilizing that season as a redshirt year. The ILB from Birmingham, AL. will hopefully step into a leading role on the defensive side of the ball.
Another transfer expected to make an impact is redshirt-sophomore defensive end Justin Ellis, who comes to GS from Syracuse. In two games for the Orange, Ellis had only one tackle, but his size and elusiveness in camp has caught the eye of coaches and media.
The Eagles are set to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. on August 31 in Baton Rouge, LA. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.
Memorial Stadium holds a rich history and tradition for the GSU football team. 35 years ago, they played their first NCAA football game at the stadium.
On Aug. 23, Georgia Southern Athletics will host its annual Fan Fest at the stadium here in Savannah at 6 p.m.
The team will host a practice then conclude with autographs from the players and free t-shirt giveaways while supplies last.
Two freshmen Ragan Revenew and Radhi Patel, were not aware of Fan Fest, “most sport-related events aren’t heavily advertised on campus.”
Once they were fully informed, they said they were looking forward to it. “My parents are big on college football, so I would love to get involved,” said Revenew.
Students like junior Derrick Murray and sophomore True Gane said they would like to see other sports like “soccer, rugby, and baseball” come to Savannah.
“Football games are a ‘Don’t Miss Out’ event. And a huge part of the Georgia Southern Tradition,” according to Daniel Adams the Assistant Athletics Director. “Freshmen are encouraged to be apart of the tradition.”
There will be free transportation to and from the campuses for all home games and students are eligible to sign up here.
“People feel like family when they’re all cheering together for the Eagles on the gridiron,” said Adams.
Join Georgia Southern alumni, students, faculty and fans for the Georgia Southern Coaches Caravan to see what’s new in Georgia Southern athletics.
The Coaches Caravan is an annual road trip for GSU athletic coaches and staff to present what is coming in the future for their respective athletic programs and reflecting on past endeavors ahead of their upcoming seasons.
For Savannah, head football coach Chad Lunsford will be in attendance after leading the Eagles to a 10-3 record and a Camellia Bowl victory over Eastern Michigan.
GSU football is looking to use that success to springboard another strong season that kicks off against SEC powerhouse LSU and also includes a road trip to Minnesota.
Willie Powers, the Director of Player Development for Men’s Basketball, will also be in attendance.
Powers is a 2012 GSU graduate and played for the Eagles, finishing his career with 1,321 points, 460 assists and 359 rebounds. He played professional basketball in Slovakia before returning to GSU to be on the coaching staff.
GSU basketball is coming off of a 21-12 season that saw another exit in the Sun Belt Tournament, losing to UT Arlington in the Semifinals.
The Eagles are losing star seniors Tookie Brown, Ike Smith and Montae Glenn, so Powers has a huge role in developing the next crop of players for head coach Mark Byington.
Women’s tennis coach Sean McCaffrey, rifle head coach Sandra Worman and swimming and diving head coach Amanda Caldwell will also be in attendance following successful campaigns in their respective sports.
Attendance for the event costs $20 online and $25 at the door of the event. Attendees have a chance to buy season tickets for the upcoming seasons and also are immediately put in raffles for fun prizes.
Children are admitted into the event for free.
The Coaches Caravan in Savannah will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 26 at B&D Burgers on 209 West Congress Street in downtown Savannah.
It’s March, so any general sports fan knows that we are in the thick of the NCAA Tournament, also known as March Madness, for collegiate Men’s College Basketball.
For those who don’t know, millions of people fill out what they think will be a perfect bracket from a field of 64 teams(68 with play-in games, but they are not used) every year.
Fun fact, a perfect bracket has never been filled out since the current tournament system began in 1985, so that is a lot of misses at one of sports’ most prized phenomenon.
The general odds of filling out a bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Just to see how big that number actually is, I’ll show you. 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. That is a pretty big number right?
That number is based off of a purely coin-flipping method, but some teams, for example Duke and North Dakota State, do not have the same level of talent to be placed in a 50/50 metric. I am probably boring you with math, but my point is the idea of a perfect bracket is pretty darn hard.
At the time of writing, a bracket called “Center Road”, created by Gregg Nigl in Columbus, Ohio, miraculously stands 48-out-of-48 so far, surpassing 39 straight correct perfect picks for the record. The odds of that happening stand at 1 in 281,474,976,710,656, so let’s just say Nigl is doing well.
With all that said and the tournament still awaiting a conclusion, what things can happen before you fill out a perfect bracket, by the odds?
These odds were found on funny2.com/odds, so check out everything on that page, but I chose some funny and interesting ones.
I’ll start small, and ironically, it is about a newspaper. The odds of a person between the ages of 18-29 not reading a newspaper regularly is 3 to 1, come on now.
Anyways, to continue, the odds of being a twin in North America stand at 90 to 1, so shout out to all the twins out there.
For all us guys out there, the odds of dating a supermodel currently sit at 88,000 to 1, so there is a chance.
As we start getting into bigger numbers, so of the events become drastically specific, just a fair warning.
The odds of getting a royal flush in poker, which consists of an ace, king, queen, jack and ten all in the same suit, on the first five cards dealt is 649,740 to 1.
The odds of becoming President of the United States sit at 13,000,000 to 1, get your acceptance speech ready.
The chances a human has of contracting mad cow disease sit at 1 in 40,000,000, interesting.
Here are some smaller ones to conclude before the most surprising thing that can happen, by the odds, before you fill out a perfect bracket.
Odds of injury from shaving? 6,585 to 1.
Odds of injury from mowing the lawn? 3,623 to 1.
Odds of getting away with murder(insert Viola Davis voice)? 2 to 1.
Odds that a celebrity marriage will last a lifetime? 3 to 1.
And finally, this event can happen before you fill out a perfect NCAA March Madness bracket.
By the odds, a meteor has a better chance of striking your home, sitting at 182,138,880,000,000 to 1. So Nigl had a better chance by the odds of his home being struck by a meteor than where he currently stands right now with 48 correct picks.
To make that number sound really tiny, your house could be struck by a meteor six times before you were to fill out a perfect bracket through a purely coin-flipping method.
In conclusion, filling out a perfect bracket has no strategy and you have better odds of doing other things, but who says you can’t try. Everyone is rooting for Nigl as he sits just 15 games away, and even those odds aren’t in his favor.