“Revenge” might be a little harsh. Then again, in some cases, not harsh enough. With the start of a new Sun Belt season around the corner, we will take a look at the Top 5 contests where one team is looking for redemption from the traumatic heartbreak of last year’s matchup.
#5 Georgia Southern vs. Georgia State
Last year’s score: Georgia State 21, Georgia Southern 17
Chance for Redemption comes: November 24 at Georgia State Stadium AKA Turner Field
Redemption story: Daylight closed fast on Georgia Southern quarterback Shai Werts as he was slung down just 17 yards away from a game-winning touchdown. For a moment, it looked as if there might be enough daylight for him to scramble forward and make a play for the end zone.
It would have meant Georgia Southern finally found their elusive first win (they eventually found two). Instead, Georgia State stayed in the Sun Belt championship conversation.
The final play ended a second half filled with opportunities for the Eagles to create separation with their cross-state rival. The Eagles lead by 10 late in the third quarter. In the final half, Georgia State missed two field goals and threw a fourth quarter interception that had the Eagles deep in Panther territory, up three.
The two turnovers, however, lead to zero points. Not to be outdone, Georgia Southern fumbled twice in the fourth. The second fumble lead to Georgia State quarterback Conner Manning hitting WR Penny Hart for a touchdown to take the lead. The Eagles’ final drive simply ran out of time.
All this coming after a dominant effort by the Eagle defense in the first half. Georgia Southern harassed Manning for much of the game, recording four sacks and holding the Panthers to only seven first half points.
The close losses that slipped away are always the most painful.
It was the third straight win for the Panthers over Georgia Southern that many in the Peach State are hoping will become a natural rivalry (Southern fans are still reluctant to recognize State as a rival). They are calling it “Modern Day Hate”.
The baby-faced rivalry would be well-served with the Eagles returning the favor. It is an obvious geographic fit. You’d hardly call four games actual “hate”. More like Modern Day Excessive Bitterness.
However, more high drama games such as this, and maybe bitterness can turn to spite, and eventually, in turn, hate in short order.
No matter what you call it this year, the Eagles will have Nov. 24 circled a little bolder than most 2018 tilts and last year’s gut wrenching lost is a big reason why.