File Photo Georgia State offensive lineman Ben Jacoby
Considering it was likely the last of his playing career, Ben Jacoby admits Georgia State's season-ending game against Campbell last Saturday at the Georgia Dome was more than just a game to him.
"It's been a really fun time," the Panthers' starting center said shortly after the game. "(Saturday) was pretty surreal. I fought a little emotion back on the bus ride (to the Georgia Dome). I almost came to tears a little bit just thinking about (how) I wouldn't have the opportunity to put that jersey on again after this game. I managed to fight that back and get focused on the game."
Jacoby and the GSU offense looked plenty focused Saturday.
The 6-foot-2, 275-pound redshirt senior and his cohorts on the line cleared a path for the Panthers to chalk up school records with 301 rushing yards and 514 total yards in breaking a three-game losing streak with a 42-35 win and ending the season on a high note.
"Definitely, it does feel pretty good. ... We were able to come in and get the job done on senior day and the seniors' final game," Jacoby said. "We've got four seniors on the offensive line and it's our last game playing, and that definitely showed through our leadership on the field and through our play throughout the game."
This has been a difficult season both for Jacoby, who missed two games in the middle of the campaign with a sprained knee, and GSU (3-8), which struggled through some serious growing pains in its second year as a program after a more successful (6-5) inaugural season in 2010.
So last Saturday's win was especially welcome for Jacoby and the other 19 seniors.
The Panthers are set to begin play in the difficult Colonial Athletic Association next year. Jacoby was just happy to help his teammates staying behind win to help build their confidence.
"It's definitely satisfying," Jacoby said. "The season hasn't gone quite the way we wanted, but being able to finish on a good note and springboard the rest of the team -- the younger guys who are coming back next year -- into the next season is something I wanted to get done."
The win also helps Jacoby and his fellow seniors feel better about the legacy they leave behind as GSU's first full senior class.
As one of GSU's first players when he transferred from Ball State a year before the Panthers took the field for their first game, Jacoby has plenty of memories as one of the building blocks of a fledgling program.
However, while he says he has entertained thoughts about continuing in football either as a player at the next level or perhaps in coaching, his thoughts are more focused on a different future -- namely a career in which he can use the degree he will earn when he completes his studies in Computer Information Systems next month.
"I have (thought about staying in football), but as of recently, it's kind of taken a backseat towards starting a career," Jacoby said. "That's something that's always interested me. I'm a big computer nerd off the field. So, I'm going to explore that interest a little bit.
"I'm graduating in December. Currently, I'm interning with Georgia-Pacific. I'm talking with someone over there (about a full-time job). Hopefully, that will work out. That would be a blessing. I would love to be able to join that great company and have the opportunity to stay here in metro Atlanta and work and be around the Georgia State Panthers and be able to come to all the games."
Just as important, staying in metro Atlanta would allow him to see games at his high school alma mater -- Buford.
But while Jacoby is hopeful to take in a game as the Wolves continue their quest for a unprecedented fifth straight state title, he is even more eagerly looking forward to get back to Tom Riden Stadium beginning next year for a more personal reason.
"My little brother (Tim Jacoby) is going to be a ninth-grader (at Buford next year)," Jacoby said. "So, he'll be going through the football wringer soon. ... So, he's definitely been one of my biggest supporters through my entire football career -- through Buford, through Ball State, through Georgia State. So, to be able to return that favor to him in high school is going to be something I'm going to really enjoy doing."
"It hasn't hit me quite yet (that this was really the last game)," Jacoby said just minutes after the completion of Saturday's game. "But I think a couple hours from now, I'll be experience that full force."