What a ride it has been. My college career has finally come to a close, and after exhausting my
final redshirt year, I am blessed to have graduate from the greatest university in America
with thank the Lord honors. I have had the fortune to experience some exciting times at Georgia Southern, all of which encompassed our tenure in the Sun Belt. So, I felt it fitting to take this time to count down my personal top 8 Georgia Southern Athletics moments as a student.
8. Georgia Southern vs. Georgia State (2014)
The first ever matchup between the two GSU’s was an absolute blast for an Eagle fan.
Eagle Nation commandeered the Georgia Dome as the traditional away game white out was
prominently featured, comprising no less than 80 percent of the crowd in the Dome. The Eagles on the field took care of business themselves, pounding out 660 yards of offense and hanging 69 points on the Panthers. It was complete domination, as the tone was set for the rivalry that
always produces a dogfight.
7. Georgia Southern vs. App State (Football 2019)
The only reason this game was not higher was because the game took place in Boone.
Personally, I was nervous for this game, as Georgia Southern hadn’t won in Boone in 12 years.
But the build-up was legendary, with Halloween night being the date in which the annual
hate-filled battle was slated. Coach Lunsford did what not even Coach Monken or Fritz
did, and that was winning in Boone. Statesboro was electric that night following the game,
parties were rocking until 3-4 AM celebrating the second straight victory.
6. Georgia Southern vs. App State (Football 2018)
At no point in the Georgia Southern-App State rivalry had a side won four straight regular
season matchups, giving a player an undefeated record versus the other team. That was in
jeopardy on a rainy night in October, as the Mountaineers had taken three straight games. But
the Mountaineers, ranked No. 25 in the nation, came into Paulson and were punched in the
mouth by the Eagles.
5. Georgia Southern vs. App State (Football 2014)
My freshman year was filled with some fantastic sports moments (three on this list), but
my first App State game was one I will never forget. National television, two teams brand new to
the FBS level, and a rivalry that had built up over 20 years. The rain was pouring, and the
students tailgated all day long. This was the game that I was first introduced to GATA Row. This was the infamous disc game, where the university handed out thousands of plastic Georgia Southern eagle head discs in hopes it would stick out on ESPN. Upon scoring the first touchdown of the game, the students let these discs go flying onto the App State sideline and the field. After a full commercial break, the discs were still flying onto the field, and was bad enough to warrant a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. That was no matter though, as the Eagles still defeated App State 34-14.
4. Georgia Southern vs. Monroe (Basketball 2019)
This game is probably one of the lesser of the memorable moments, but it for me was
probably the most fun I have had at a basketball game. Georgia Southern was hanging around
the top of the Sun Belt standings, with a crucial homestand beginning. Monroe led the game for
over 38 of the 40 minutes, and even having a 14-point lead at the under-16 timeout in the
second half. But the Eagles chipped away at the lead every chance they could, finding
themselves down 2 with only a handful of seconds left. Tookie Brown took off up court after
receiving the inbound pass, zipping a pass to the nearside corner in relation to the team bench
and allowed Quan Jackson a one-time shot which was all net, giving the Eagles the most
dramatic win in Hanner Fieldhouse in quite some time.
3. Sun Belt Baseball Tournament (2017)
Mother Nature tried her hardest to be the star of the show, as the double elimination
conference tournament was held in Statesboro for the first time, and was being hindered by
rain. Eventually, the Sun Belt had no choice but to make the tournament single elimination. This
was the first year Coastal Carolina was a member of the Sun Belt, coming off their national
championship, so the conference was stacked quite deep in terms of talented teams. But single
elimination is a weird thing, as the top team in the Chanticleers were bounced in the first round.
Georgia Southern found themselves on the ropes in the first round, down 3 in the bottom of the
ninth inning. But Logan Baldwin saved the day with a grand slam over the newly installed Blue
Monster wall in right field. The Eagles would go on to make a run to the championship game, falling in the championship game to South Alabama.
2. Georgia Southern vs Monroe (Football 2014)
Again in our first year in the Sun Belt, thanks to the NCAA’s weird rules regarding the
transition to the FBS, the Eagles were ineligible for postseason play. Thankfully though, since
the Sun Belt did not have a championship game at the time, the champion was crowned based
off regular season standings. The situation presented itself on Thanksgiving weekend for the
Eagles to already have claimed a share of the Sun Belt title, with a win versus
Louisiana-Monroe, clinching the title outright. The slugfest was one to remember, and with 7 seconds left Matt Dobson laid a hit on a would-be receiver that will be remembered by many, as a Monroe touchdown looked all but secured as the ball was flying through the air. Leaving time for one play, Monroe scrambled but could not find anything and the pass fell incomplete, and the Eagle fans flooded the field, celebrating the Sun Belt title in the first year competing in the conference.
1. Camellia Bowl
I have written about this game numerous times, and with good reason, it will be one of
the top moments in my time as a Georgia Southern fan. Everything from drinking the Aviator Bar
dry, the food at Dreamland BBQ, the Eagle Walk that was half a mile long, and of course the
game itself. I still get chills thinking about and watching replays of Shai Werts’ scramble, Tyler
Bass’ kick, and the celebration that ensued on the field afterwards. The journey that took the
football program through some dark times ended on a bright spot to be proud of, and the mark
made on all the fans will last a lifetime. But that’s what makes this game so memorable.
So there is my top 8 moments as a Georgia Southern fan. My hope is that I was able to bring
back some fun times based off my list, and hopefully jog your memory for some other great
moments in Georgia Southern history. Since I have graduated, I still will be following Georgia
Southern quite avidly, but as I move into my professional career, I have decided it is time to
focus more on that.
As a result, this will be my last column with Discovering Bulloch. I will miss
writing my opinions and thoughts, and I want to thank everyone with Discovering Bulloch for
giving me a platform to articulate my thoughts. Everyone that has been a reader, I thank you for
taking the time to support this publication, and my wish is that you will continue to do so!