Start Time: 3 p.m. EST, Nov. 4
Location: Allen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, Ga.
Records: Georgia Southern (0-7, 0-3 Sun Belt), Georgia State (4-3, 3-1 Sun Belt)
Weather: 84 degrees at kickoff
Betting Line: GAST -4, O/U 51.5
Georgia Southern Outlook
An extremely poor secondary is a tough thing to overcome when you are a run-heavy, possession oriented team.
Georgia Southern is learning that lesson each and every week of this season in the most brutal of ways, most recently in last week’s 38-16 loss to Troy.
While the Eagles’ offense may have looked a smidge better and even took some snaps from under center thanks to interim coach Chad Lunsford, the secondary’s play has been the albatross hanging from the neck of this team.
How many wins would the Eagles have if the defensive backfield was plain average? Maybe 3?
Regardless, this team has not been able to settle on a quarterback this season, with neither of Shai Werts, Kado Brown or LaBaron Anthony being able to get comfortable under center when the position is a game of musical chairs.
The inability to find a consistent signal-caller has also hindered what could have been a pretty good offense when combined with shoddy offensive line play.
This is one of the three games Southern has a chance in hell of winning this season. If the Eagles don’t want to go completely winless, its time to start playing like it actually wants to win a game.
After the season finale, defensive coordinator Zo Constantini should have a flight booked out of Statesboro for an hour later. This is easily the worst defense I’ve seen Southern consistently play in a long time.
Maybe Georgia Southern needs to start putting defenders at a Jabrill Peppers-level depth to keep plays in front of it.
Georgia State Outlook
While Georgia Southern has allowed anyone and everyone to catch deep touchdown passes against them this season, Georgia State quarterback Conner Manning must be licking his chops at this matchup.
In addition to not defending the pass, the Eagles don’t really get any pressure defensively, and Manning will be more than happy to hang another 300-yard game on Southern, much as he did in last season’s 30-24 defeat of the Eagles.
Manning has already tossed 9 touchdowns and is averaging 244 yards per game through the air. The last two meetings have proved that State’s air raid scheme does wonders against Southern’s ‘lost in the wilderness’ defensive scheme.
Wide receiver Penny Hart should be first with a bullet when it comes to players you cannot let run free in the open field.
Hart has already hauled in seven touchdowns in seven games this season, and will seriously hurt Southern if the Eagles don’t show up for this one either.
There’s not much to say in this one. If Georgia State wants to throw the ball down the field, it will throw the ball when and wherever it wants.
Georgia State is a 4-point favorite in this one, and that is more than fair. If I’m betting this game, I’d take the Panthers and the points until the Eagles can prove they can keep pass-catchers in front of themselves and not lose by eight or more points in every single game.
Georgia State 34, Georgia Southern 21