TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 19: A bald eagle sits on the sidelines during the game between the Georgia Southern Eagles and the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Georgia Southern finished a game shy of the FBS national title game last season, but with 16 returning starters looks for its first national title since 2000.
Georgia Southern opens the 2012 season looking to erase the memory of a bitter loss in the NCAA semifinals against eventual champ North Dakota State and make another run at a FBS national championship, starting with Jacksonville on Saturday.
The Eagles open the year ranked third in the FCS Coaches poll, behind NDSU and Sam Houston State, and return 16 starters (eight on each side of the ball). Quarterback Jaybo Shaw is gone, but there's a heated race for the spot between sophomore Ezayi Youyoute and junior Jerick McKinnon. As of Monday, a starter has still not been named for Saturday's game against Jacksonville.
The most notable returning starter for the Eagles is most certainly B-back Dominique Swope, the Southern Conference's freshman of the year and the team's leading rusher in 2011 (1,023 yards, seven touchdowns).
Date / Time: 6 p.m. ET, Saturday, Sept. 1
Location: Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, Georgia
Streaming: SoCon TV
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