Eagles latest run adds to program's history

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It's a question that comes up at least once a week. And surprisingly for Georgia Southern, it hasn't gone away during the past four weeks.

So Jeff Monken ponders a different way to express what he's been saying all along when asked about the Eagles' instant success in his first year as head coach, a success quickly becoming another chapter in the school's storied football lore.

"You set the bar to have the expectation to win," Monken said. "We were hoping we could improve as a football team. We're still hoping we can improve."

Georgia Southern (10-4) has met that bar for the past six weeks and now meets third-seeded Delaware at noon today in the semifinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs at Delaware Stadium.

The winner advances to play for the FCS national championship against Eastern Washington on Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas. It defeated Villanova 41-31 on Friday night.

This season is a deviation from the years when offensive juggernauts assembled at Georgia Southern.

This year's version relies on a staunch defense, led by nose guard Brent Russell, and solid special teams play. And when quarterback Jaybo Shaw has the triple option clicking, the Eagles can be as good as anyone in the country.

"When you're watching (Georgia Southern) early in the season, it's just an average football team," Delaware coach K.C. Keeler said.

"Now you watch them this point in the year, there's a reason why they're one of four teams left."

Delaware (11-2) has several ways to beat you. The Blue Hens led the nation in scoring defense, allowing 11.6 points a game, and ranked in the top 10 of most of the other defensive statistics including rushing defense.

"This isn't a team made of stars," Keeler said. "This is a team made of players who play hard all the time and play together. This team is very mature."

Today's game

WHO: Georgia Southern (10-4) at Delaware (11-2)

WHERE: Delaware Stadium, Newark, Del.

WHEN: Noon (ESPNU)


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