Georgia Southern-Wofford: Triple option showdown
By Brandon A. Baylor, FCS Intern
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - When looking into a mirror, all you see is your reflection.
Seeing a copy of what they are is something Georgia Southern and Wofford can relate to every time they play each other. And with these two Southern Conference teams both running nearly the same triple option offense, it's going to be a challenge for both sides of the ball when they meet in the FCS quarterfinals on Saturday at Wofford.
Both teams will be kicking off with nearly identical offensive game plans that are extremely difficult for opposing defenses. Georgia Southern (9-4) and Wofford (10-2) met early in the regular season, showcasing their ability to run the unique triple option. Wofford escaped with a narrow victory, 33-31, thanks to its 302 rushing yards. Georgia Southern rushed for 243 yards in a losing effort.
According to Georgia Southern first-year head coach Jeff Monken, defense is key for this game once again. "They run similar plays that we do and run them well," he said. "Defense will help us with defending the option and help slow it down."
The Eagles are coming into this game with a juggernaut type of defense, allowing only 17.7 points a game. All-America nose tackle Brent Russell sets the physical tone, but the Eagles also feature junior safety Derek Heyden, who has a team-best 85 tackles, and junior cornerback Laron Scott, who has six interceptions.
Junior quarterback Jaybo Shaw said, "We have something to prove with our offense and we hope to do that. Since we played them already, they will be a little more prepared."
The Eagles and Terriers are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in rushing defense in the SoCon. However, Wofford may have a slight upper hand with its running game that is ranked No. 1 in the FCS, averaging 307.3 yards a game. Junior Eric Breitenstein, anything but the slow bruiser that is a typical fullback, is ranked fifth in the FCS with 128.1 rushing yards per game, and he's second nationally in scoring (22 touchdowns; 11 points per game).
Wofford veteran head coach Mike Ayers also understands that the option will be in full effect come Saturday. He said, "Our running game is key and so is theirs. We expect to see the option. It won't be easy to stop, but it's not supposed to be. It's the playoffs and you're going to see two good rushing teams go at it."
Wofford's talented junior quarterback Mike Allen added, "The game is going to be all about control and positive yards. I believe we have the leadership on this team to do so."
The Georgia Southern-Wofford winner will play either New Hampshire or Delaware in the FCS semifinals either Dec. 17 or 18.
12/08 10:09:59 ET