Central Arkansas vs. Georgia Southern: Eagles hope to lean on past experience

Mike Zarrilli

The Georgia Southern Eagles are in the FCS playoffs for the third straight year. Can their past experience in the playoffs lead to a National Championship?

The Georgia Southern Eagles will be playing their eighth postseason game in the last three seasons on Saturday when they face the Central Arkansas Bears in the second round of the FCS playoffs. Eagles head coach Jeff Monken hopes that prior experience will give the advantage to the Eagles:

"Once you've been in that cycle and been part of the playoffs year after year, the kids learn what it's all about and how to handle the business part of it,. There's a game to be won and it's serious business. I think our kids have the right attitude. They're working hard and our staff is too."

Monken was a part of former head coach Paul Johnson's staff that won national championships in 1999 and 2000. When he took over the team in 2010, they had not been to the playoffs for four seasons. Now that they are back in the playoffs, Monken has seen the change occur from just making the playoffs to wanting to win in the playoffs:

"The next year, because they had been to the semifinals, there was more of a determination. (The players thought) we have to find a way to get back to that game and win it. We didn't do that, but we had more of a veteran-type attitude. I think it's the same this year."

Some of the Eagles players, like quarterback Jerick McKinnon, think that there is an increase in confidence for the team because of making the playoffs the last two seasons:

"It's a different team this year, and different players are playing different roles," McKinnon said. "We had great teams the last two years, great leaders, but we're confident in the abilities we have this year."

The Eagles play the Bears at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Ga. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET and the game will be streamed live on ESPN3 with radio coverage provided by WZAT 102.1 FM in Savannah and WBMZ 103.7 FM in Statesboro.

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