(AP) -- It will be a day of goodbyes when Samford hosts Georgia Southern at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Samford will bid farewell to GSU, which is leaving the Southern Conference for the Sun Belt next year. The Bulldogs also will say so long to their home stadium for more than a month, since their next four games are on the road.
All of which makes this an important game in the Southern Conference standings for the Bulldogs (3-2, 1-0), since they begin their lengthy road trip against perennial conference power Appalachian State followed by current league-leader Wofford.
Georgia Southern (3-1, 1-1) also has traditionally been one of the top teams in the conference, as well as in the Football Championship Subdivision. The Eagles have advanced to the semifinals of the FCS playoffs each of the past three seasons.
"They've lost a couple of people on defense from a year ago, but Georgia Southern is for our league and our level a team that reloads every year," Samford coach Pat Sullivan said. "They're a very athletic team, very strong. We'll have a heck of a ballgame if we do our part."
The Eagles' option-oriented attack is led by the dual-quarterback threat of Jerick McKinnon and Kevin Ellison. McKinnon has rushed for 415 yards and four touchdowns and passed for 284 yards. Ellison has rushed for 217 yards and a score and thrown for 120 yards with three touchdowns.
Samford is coming off a 62-23 win over Western Carolina, the most points the Bulldogs have scored in a Southern Conference game since joining the league in 2008.