Start Time: Saturday, October 28th, 3:30 PM ET
Announcers: Matt Stewart (play-by-play) and Watson Brown (analyst)
Location: Veterans Memorial Stadium (30,000)
Series: Troy leads 10-6
Odds: Troy (-26) 50.5 total
Georgia Southern Outlook
It’s a new day for Georgia Southern as the team looks to take its season one game at a time now with the firing of head coach Tyson Summers last weekend.
Longtime position coach Chad Lunsford has taken over as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season, but like I said on Thursday’s Sun Belt pod, I feel that this is unfair to make this six-game stretch his job interview for the permanent head coaching spot.
Coming into this season everyone knew the Eagles were extremely young with just eight seniors on the roster, and we still don’t even know if there’s a quarterback on this roster that can put together four quarters without imploding.
Combine that with defensive coordinator Zo Constantini’s head-scratching defensive schemes that have left receivers running freely all over the field as the Eagles try and fail to bring pressure to no end, and you have a recipe for the defensive nightmare that has been this season.
Offensively, I hope Lunsford and offensive coordinator Bryan Cook sat down this week and cut out everything that has not been working. Enough of what Summers wanted or forced Cook to run, let’s get down to the plays that actually work and cut out all the crap that has completely failed this season.
If the Eagles can’t get up for this game and at least make it competitive under its longtime position coach, it might be that this season’s team just isn’t that talented.
The Trojans were embarrassed in their last home outing as South Alabama beat them in all three phases of the game. The Trojans had 10 days until their next game and they would go on the road to drop the hammer on Georgia State.
Brandon Silvers threw for 334 yards as the Trojans scored 30-plus points against an FBS team for the first time this season. After averaging less than six yards per attempt in his last two outings, Silvers averaged nearly 10 against GSU. The senior threw two touchdown passes to give him four for the season. If he gets going, this offense could take off.
Jordan Chunn missed this past week to due a leg laceration injury but he should be back in the lineup on Saturday. In his absence, Josh Anderson picked up the slack with 57 yards on 13 carries. However, this attack is much more dynamic with Chunn and I believe Troy should get rolling again on the ground against a poor Georgia Southern defense.
Deondre Douglas and Emanuel Thompson continue to pace this passing attack, but Damion Willis is the x-factor. Willis has emerged as the Troy deep threat and if Brandon Silvers can begin to strike up a connection with him it could be bad news for defenses around the Sun Belt.
On the other side of the football, Troy continues to play very well as they have proven to be the best defense in the Sun Belt this season. No one has scored more than 24 points against the Trojans.
Opponents are only rushing for 92 yards per game against Troy with a 2.8 yards per carry average. Only Boise State and LSU have ran for over 100 yards as this front seven has been phenomenal to start the season. Linebacker Sam Lebbie leads the way for this run defense as he has five non-sack tackles for loss.
The pass defense has been nearly as good as opponents are throwing for 226.6 yards on 33.9 passing attempts. The Trojans have come away with seven interceptions while giving up less than seven yards per attempt. Corner Blace Brown and safety Kris Weatherspoon lead the way with two interceptions each. Troy is doing all this without much of a pass rush as they’ve only produced 17 sacks on the year.
Special teams play has been a real rough patch for Troy all season, but moving punter Tyler Sumpter to kicker may be the solution. The freshman drilled two field goals and all of his extra points against Georgia State and he’ll be the man moving forward. Sumpter continues to be a very solid punter and Bratcher Underwood is doing a solid job on kickoffs. True freshman Marcus Jones remains a weapon as a returner.
Adam: I think your going to see an inspired effort from Georgia Southern on Saturday and the Eagles will play their best game of the season. The option will do some good things and the defense will fly around early. But as the game wears on, Troy’s talent will take over as Brandon Silvers throws for over 300 yards again. Troy pulls away late, but this is close game for three quarters.
Troy 34, Georgia Southern 17
Brian: I think this is a real make-or-break game for Georgia Southern and will be telling of whether the Eagles lay down and go 0-12 this season, or make the schedule competitive for the teams they still have to play. I’m willing to go with the latter.
Troy 31, Georgia Southern 28