STATESBORO, Ga. -- Georgia Southern worked all season to earn the homefield advantage in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.
Now, the Eagles hope to take advantage of it.
Top-seeded Southern (11-0) begins the quest for its fifth national title -- but the first since 1990 -- by playing No. 16 seed Colgate (8-3) Saturday at Paulson Stadium.
"That's what we played hard for all year -- the chance to play at home," said coach Paul Johnson, who guided the Eagles to their second straight Southern Conference title. "History has shown that (Paulson Stadium) has been very good to us."
The Eagles have a home playoff record of 17-0, but Johnson is leaving nothing to chance.
"It's down to a one-game season, and we've got to be ready to play," he said.
Georgia Southern gained its 10th playoff appearance behind a potent 1-2 offensive punch.
Fullback Adrian Peterson became the most prolific freshman runner in NCAA Division I history with 1,932 yards. The 5-foot-10, 207-pounder also set a national freshman record by scoring 25 touchdowns.
"All I try to do is go all out and help us win," Peterson said. "This is a nice honor (setting the individual records), but I just want to help us go 15-0 and win the national championship."
The Eagles also have junior quarterback Greg Hill, who rushed for 1,061 yards and 16 touchdowns. He completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 108 yards per game, keeping defenses from stacking everyone at the line.
Colgate, which averaged 35.5 points and 477.5 yards per game as a member of the Patriot League, is led by quarterback Ryan Vena and receiver Corey Hill, a combination that could challenge the shaky Eagles secondary.
Two years ago, Colgate was about to lose its 16th straight game when Vena was inserted at quarterback. Things haven't been the same since.
The Red Raiders have won 21 of 30 games with Vena directing the offense. This season, he is 134-of-230 for 2,298 yards and 16 touchdowns passing and has rushed for 736 yards and 11 TDs.
Vena's favorite receiver is Hill, who has 71 catches for 1,267 yards and 11 touchdowns.
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