1. Freedom Flight
Before kickoff, Georgia Southern’s live eagle mascot Freedom flies over the crowd. This gets the crowd and players pumped to take on the opposition. The tradition is in fact so popular that a Freedom Flight has even been added to the graduate ceremony in recent years. If you love animals, then you’ll love the Freedom Flight at Georgia Southern.
2. The Arrival
The Eagles’ arrive at every game via yellow school buses. The team boards the buses early in the morning and are given a police escort to the stadium, while en route the locals cheer on the buses as they pass by. The tradition originated in 1981 when the program first started and needed to provide transportation for the team on a tight budget and has continued ever since. Look for the yellow school buses on your way to the game for your chance to catch a glimpse of the team.
3. Fire Up Those Smokers
Despite its small size, Georgia Southern can still throw a tailgate party that rivals the largest SEC schools. The fans here takes full advantage of the tailgate lots here, which they pack to the brim on game days. You’ll find a wide variety of grills and smokers accompanied by the mouth-watering aromas of ribs, brisket, or pulled pork sandwiches. Grab some barbecue and join in the amazing experience that is a GSU tailgate.
4. Erk Russell Bust
Make sure to stop and check out the Erk Russell Bust before the game. Russell served as the Eagles head coach from 1982 to 1989 and is the most decorated coach in program history leading the team to three of its six national championships.
5. Ted Smith Family Football Center
If you want to see what goes on behind the magic, then make a trip to the Ted Smith Family Football Center. The Football Center is the home of the team offices, weight room, and Georgia Southern Football Hall of Fame, so make sure to stop by and check it out.
6. Gus the Eagle
Gus the Eagle is a prominent part of the Georgia Southern game day experience. Not only can this mascot be seen on the sideline during the game he also can be seen around campus and the tailgate lots before the game. Before each game, the Gus leads the team onto the field as the crowd erupts into a frenzy as their team runs out of the tunnel. Join Gus and the rest of the GSU fans in cheering on the Eagles this season.
7. Appalachian State Rivalry
The Appalachian State – Georgia Southern rivalry stems from similarities rather than differences. Not only do the two schools have similar academic histories as they both were formerly teacher colleges, but they also have similar records on the Gridiron. Both joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2013 after building up a strong championship pedigree in the FCS. The two schools have met every year since 1993 with the Mountaineers holding a 16-13-1 advantage. Georgia Southern hopes to narrow that gap this year with a victory over the hated Mountaineers.
8. Field of Dreams
In front of the Ted Smith Family Football Center is the Field of Dreams where kids can play football throughout the game. The field is a great way for kids to get their energy out during the game, so if you’re bringing the kids to the game stop by The Field of Dreams.
9. Modern Day Hate/ The Battle for GSU
Despite the fact that Georgia Southern and Georgia State have only met on the gridiron once there is still a strong rivalry between the two schools that dates back to 1980s. The rivalry began on the hardcourt when both teams competed in the Atlantic Sun Conference from 1983 to 1992 and since then has flourished over the fact both schools want to lay claim to the GSU moniker. Georgia Southern has won the only meeting so far 69-31 and hopes to continue that trend in the coming years.
10. Beautiful Eagle Creek
Before every game, the team sprinkles a jug of water from a small ditch located near the practice field onto the field. This tradition began in 1985 when legendary football coach Erk Russell sprinkled some water from the same ditch on the field before a playoff game at Northern Iowa. That season the Eagles went on to win the national championship, and the tradition has stuck ever since.