The Georgia Southern Eagles football team plays in Appalachian State on Saturday

STATESBORO — The newcomers to Georgia Southern’s football program are quick studies when it comes to “Hate Week.”

They have to be as the Eagles host their biggest rival, Appalachian State, in Saturday’s regular-season finals at 6 p.m. at Paulson Stadium (ESPN+).

“I can definitely say that it means a lot to all the players here,” said defenseman Wylan Free, a sixth-year player who transferred from Fresno State this season.

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While California native Free came to Statesboro from the West Coast, quarterback Kyle Vantrease was a sophomore growing up in Ohio in the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry and a three-year starter at the University of Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference, before moving January to GS.