With Georgia Southern off this weekend, I wanted to save this recap until later so that Eagles fans could have something to read about around this weekend while watching the other games.
OK, that's a lie. I've been swamped at work planning a field exercise that's going off this weekend, and late Thursday night is the first time I've been able to sit down and write anything. I'm sorry. I can't promise it won't happen again before the season is up, but things should run smoothly from here on in.
So, Georgia Southern travelled to Boone for their first Thursday night road game since joining the Sun Belt. It did not end well. They returned home to face a Texas State team playing on short rest. That ended much better.
So what can we take away from those games? Let's take a look.
Stop the run. Stop the Eagles. It's as simple as that. Appalachian State - after getting gashed on the first offensive drive by Georgia Southern, the Mountaineers hunkered down and were able to force Georgia Southern to attempt to throw the football. The Eagles couldn't do it. The results were similar to the previous Mountaineer game Georgia Southern played: interceptions.
The Rotation Isn't The Greatest Idea. I get it, it's the way the Eagles have done business ever since Willie Fritz took over, but sometimes you have to break away from the game plan. If they were willing to get away from the running game and try to throw the football, they should have been willing to leave in the QB with the best completion percentage. Favian Upshaw didn't throw it much, but he was still called upon to throw it on one of his drives he was in the game, and it did not go well.
That's really all I can say about that game. Perhaps it's just faded too much from my memory at this point, but there's just not much I remember worth saying. App State did an excellent job of taking away Georgia Southern's game plan and wearing the Eagles' defense down by putting them back on the field constantly. They more than deserved to win that game, and they did.
Less Than 100% Breida Is Still Better Than Most Backs. There were rumors prior to the App State game that Breida was banged up. I don't know how true those were, then. After his first touchdown run against Texas State, though, Breida did hobble off the field. On one of his later runs he definitely looked slower than normal. However, he still ran for 205 yards on the night. That's insane. That's #JustBreidaThings
Wesley Fields Needs The Ball. I've praised Fields all season long, but now I'm going to say something I didn't think I would have said a few weeks ago: he needs to be the #2 back. LA Ramsby is an excellent back, especially as a 3rd down, short-yardage back. If it's an early down situation and Breida isn't on the field? It needs to be Wesley Fields getting the ball. He has great moves and great speed. He showed it against the Bobcats by averaging 17 yards per carry.
Field Goals. Younghue Koo was 3-3 with a long of 44. That was very nice to see. Alex Hanks has not done bad this season, but he's had a few misses. Overall I'd say I've been happy with where Georgia Southern has been at on FG kicking this year.
Turnover Luck Has Flipped Again. The Eagles turned the ball over a lot against West Virginia, but then the turnover numbers were heavily in the Eagles favor. Against App State and then against Texas State, things flipped around, especially in the first half against the Bobcats. The Eagles had three crucial fumbles that allowed the Bobcats to keep the game very close at the half. Thankfully, the Eagles defense was able to limit the damage on those turnovers, but ball security is something that definite needs to be worked on prior to next Saturday's game at Troy.
Antonio Glover Is Very Good. There are still a few games to go, and Glover has already tied the Georgia Southern record for interceptions in a season with six. That's greatly aided by his hat trick earlier in the year against Western Michigan, but it's still very impressive.
BOWL. ELIGIBLE. In their first year of eligibility, the Eagles should go bowling. Just where they'll be headed is unknown, but it's highly likely that they'll get one of the Sun Belt's four tie-ins and go to the first bowl game in school history. I'm personally hoping for The Cure Bowl in Orlando (even though I'll be nauseous with all the pink) because that's more of a destination city to me, but I know I'm going to be there, wherever it is. I was present at four of Georgia Southern's six national championships at the FCS level, and I'm not going to miss their first bowl game.
Right now, it's going to take a miracle for the Eagles to be able to hold a share of the Sun Belt title for this season, as Arkansas State is in the driver's seat with games against Louisiana Monroe, New Mexico State, and Texas State remaining, while the Eagles must still face Troy, South Alabama, and Georgia State in conference play. There's still football to be played, though, and anything can happen.