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Arkansas State begins their quest for another Sun Belt title with a trip to Georgia Southern

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Both teams will look to pick up conference wins to start play in the Sun Belt.

NCAA Football: R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl-Arkansas State vs Louisiana Tech Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Start Time: 8 p.m. ET, Oct. 4

Location: Allen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, Georgia

TV: ESPN2

Streaming: Watch ESPN

Records: Georgia Southern (0-3, 0-0 Sun Belt), Arkansas State (1-2, 0-0 Sun Belt)

Weather: 72 degrees at kickoff. 70 percent humidity. 2 mph winds.

Betting Line: Arkansas State -7. Over/Under of 55.


Georgia Southern Outlook

Georgia Southern comes into this one after racking up three consecutive losses to kick off its season.

After being on the wrong end of a 52-17 shellacking at the hands of Indiana on Sept. 23, the Eagles will somehow look to show they’ve made progress in its week off leading up to this game.

To say the Eagles’ offense has been stagnant up to this point would putting it mildly. Georgia Southern is somehow only averaging 12 points per game this season, which would have seemed like a bad joke in the Willie Fritz era, but here we are.

After a turbulent week that saw Forgotten5.com leak audio from Fritz’s departure to Tom Kleinlein calling Southern fans delusional for expecting the Eagles not to lose to an FCS team, it has been terrible all around this season.

The biggest fault of first-year offensive coordinator Bryan Cook is that it looks as if the team has no real urgency and the Eagles show it both on paper and on film.

I was in the stands for most of the game against Indiana, and none of the Eagle linemen look like they believe in what they are doing, and the running game has greatly suffered as a result.

Arkansas State Outlook

Never have so many worried about one man’s back. QB Justice Hansen left the game in the first half of ASU’s 44-21 loss to SMU after taking a knee to the back on an ill fated scramble. This left backup redshirt freshman Logan Bonner to come in and take the reins. After a rough first game appearance (7-17, 50 yds), the Red Wolves obviously need a healthy enough Justice Hansen to come back to direct the nation’s #9 passing attack at a stout 351 yards per game pace. Head Coach Blake Anderson has said Hansen is day-to-day and could be a game day decision.

The defense has plenty to correct after giving up 580 yards to SMU last week and most involved in this game remember that this game last year was the turning point for ASU’s defense to get on track as they only allowed the Eagles 365 yards of offense last year and just 3.6 yards per carry rushing. The question remains — is this going to be that game for the 2017 season and the Red Wolves find their defensive mojo?

ASU fans are watching this game expecting to see some progress forward on both sides of the ball, especially the run game and the secondary not giving up big plays. There is much grumbling in the stands about the performance at SMU, so a big conference road win over Georgia Southern will help calm the restless.

Prediction

Brian: Mine is pretty cut and dry. People in Arkansas State circles may give grief to Blake Anderson for failing to capitalize on games outside of conference play, but the Red Wolves domination of most of the Sun Belt cannot be ignored. I think ASU plays a great deal cleaner than it did last season when it attempted to gift Georgia Southern a win with five turnovers, and Arkansas State wins this one handily.

Martin: The monsters of the midweek will need a healthy Justice Hansen to dominate this game but even without may have enough muscle upfront on both sides to control it. ASU is 18-2 in their last 20 games played in October and this one could be close if Hansen doesn't play. Lets assume he does and there is plenty of yards to show for it. ASU 37 Georgia Southern 17