STATESBORO, Ga. — The strategy is simple this time of year – just do whatever it takes.
Georgia Southern and Maine will try to do just that and advance in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Forget about style points. Staying alive is all that matters in this quarterfinal clash at Paulson Stadium.
“Every team in the playoffs has the same goal,” Georgia Southern running back Robert Brown said.
The ultimate goal is a national championship. The third-seeded Eagles (10-2) are seeking their seventh title and first since 2000.
The Black Bears hope to advance to the semifinals for the first time.
Today’s winner heads to the semifinals either Friday or next Saturday against the winner of North Dakota State and Lehigh.
The title game will be played in Frisco, Texas, on Jan. 7.
Georgia Southern was ranked No. 1 for seven weeks during the regular season and won its first Southern Conference championship since 2004.
The Eagles had an abundance of mistakes in their first playoff game against Old Dominion but held on to beat the Monarchs, 55-48.
Maine, another Colonial Athletic Conference foe, will try to beat Georgia Southern at Paulson Stadium, where the Eagles are 31-3 all-time in the playoffs. The Black Bears stunned Appalachian State, 34-12, in Boone, N.C., last Saturday.
“This is a heck of a tournament, one that brings out the best in everybody,” Maine coach Jack Cosgrove said. “I think maybe our best showed up on Saturday as opposed to Appalachian’s best. We feel privileged and honored to be moving on.”
The Black Bears’ performance is good reason for concern. Georgia Southern lost to Appalachian State, 24-17, during the regular season.
“There’s a reason why they’re in the quarterfinals,” Eagles coach Jeff Monken said. “They’re a great team.”
Despite being picked to finish ninth in the 11-team CAA, Maine proved to be a contender early by winning seven of its first eight games.