Start Time: 4 p.m. EST, Sept. 9
Location: Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama
Records: Georgia Southern (0-1, 0-0 Sun Belt), New Hampshire (1-0, 1-0 CAA)
Weather: 80 degrees at kickoff, 11 mph winds
Betting Line: No line
Georgia Southern outlook
In what was supposed to be the home opener for Georgia Southern, the Eagles will play its second consecutive game in the state of Alabama in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
The Eagles should find more room to run this week against its FCS opponent than it did against No. 12 Auburn, when GS mustered just 78 yards of total offense. Personally, I thought we played okay. That’s just what happens when you go up against a team that has the one of the best chances to defeat Alabama for the SEC West title.
The defense looked a little porous but opportunistic last week, forcing three turnovers from the Tigers. While New Hampshire is not quite as talented as the crop of Sun Belt teams GS will face this year, we should be able to get a better gauge of what state this incredibly young team is in both sides of the ball.
Hopefully the offensive line does a better job of opening up running lanes than it did last Saturday, and offensive coordinator Bryan Cook’s play calling is a bit more creative this time around.
While the disparity between the two teams experience levels were evident, this will be the time when we can finally see what Cook’s offense is supposed to look like.
Shai Werts was alright at quarterback last week, although you wouldn’t know it by looking at his stat sheet. The redshirt freshman seems to pass the eye test as a runner, but just needs time to get his feet under him against non-SEC competition.
New Hampshire outlook
Last week, the Wildcats opened their season with a 24-23 nailbiting win over conference opponent Maine to open the 2017 campaign.
A large part of New Hampshire’s offense came from its passing game, as quarterback Trevor Knight (not that Trevor Knight) tossed a pair of scores along with just 158 yards passing, and added 92 yards on 21 carries.
Other than Knight and receiver Malik Love (5 catches for 96 yards and a TD), the Wildcats were pretty meh on offense overall, turning the ball over twice while averaging 5.1 yards per play.
Last season the Wildcats were no slouch of a team though, moving on to the second round of the FCS playoffs before being defeated by eventual champion James Madison.
NH finished last season at 7-4, and while they are a talented group of players, the Eagles should not have trouble picking up its first win of the year at home (technically).