ATLANTA — Georgia Southern travels to Atlanta this Saturday for a highly anticipated showdown with new conference foe Georgia State.
While the two schools have faced off in other sports when they were part of the Trans America Athletic Conference, the Saturday showdown marks the first time the two schools will play in football. In anticipation, Georgia Southern has called for a “white out” at the Georgia Dome, a stadium Georgia State shares with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
The matchup between Southern and State makes great headlines given the many obvious storylines. But, this in-state contest is likely to have conference implications for years to come as both schools compete in the Sun Belt Conference.
“We are excited this week to play the team from the south part of Georgia,” Georgia State head coach Trent Miles said at his weekly press conference. “Our kids are excited and they are dialed in. We need a great week of preparation to have a chance to play with them. They’re an outstanding football team. We look forward to Saturday.”
Added Miles: “Rivalries are things that are established over years and history. So this is the start of one because it’s natural, we’re in the same conference and the same state. Hopefully in years to come they’ll be talking about what a great rivalry it is.”
For Georgia Southern (5-2, 4-0 Sun Belt), Saturday marks the second first-time game of the season against an in-state team. Last month, the Eagles nearly knocked off Georgia Tech in their first-ever meeting, but ultimately fell short by a 42-38 margin.
For Georgia State (1-6, 0-4 Sun Belt), Saturday marks the school’s fourth game against an in-state team. The Panthers defeated Shorter 41-7 in 2010 during the program’s first-ever game and defeated Savannah State 55-21 later that year; the Panthers opened the 2011 season with a 41-7 victory over Clark Atlanta.
Saturday’s contest will air on ESPN3 and the Grady Health System Georgia State Radio Network, which includes 1340 The Fan 3 and WRAS-FM 88.5 in Atlanta.
Great Peach State Pigskin Showdowns
The Georgia State-Georgia Southern is just one of several great in state showdowns. Others at all levels of play include:
- Division I FBS: Georgia vs. Georgia Tech: This is probably the most famous of all the in-state games, scheduled as the regular season closer for both schools. Both programs hate one another, and they can’t even agree on the series’ all-time record.
- Division I FCS/NAIA: Mercer vs. Reinhardt: While the two newbies to the college football scene have only played twice, both games have been nail-biters. Mercer holds a 2-0 margin.
- Division II: Clark Atlanta vs. Morehouse: This contest between a pair of historically black colleges located in Atlanta usually draws national attention. Morehouse won this year’s contest by a 20-7 margin.
- Division III: Berry vs. LaGrange: These two Division III programs have only played once (excluding a JV contest). But if the game earlier this year won by LaGrange in double overtime was any indication, this could be a fun one to watch for years.