Location: Bobcat Stadium, San Marcos, TX
Kickoff: Thursday October 11th @ 6:30 pm CST
Series Record: Georgia Southern leads series, 2-1.
Last Meeting: Georgia Southern won 37-13 in 2015
Betting Line: GASO -17.5, O/U: 49
Georgia Southern Outlook
The way that Georgia Southern has started this season is directly inverse of the way that Texas State’s 2018 campaign has gone thus far.
Reinvigorated by dropping its albatross of a former head coach in the middle of last season, the Eagles are firing on all cylinders to the tune of a 4-1 overall record and a 2-0 start in Sun Belt conference play.
GS comes in off of a dominating 48-13 win over South Alabama last week, and will attempt to get one game closer to bowl eligibility when it faces off with the Bobcats tonight.
Southern’s offense should have no problem moving the football against a Texas State defense that has been porous at best through the first five weeks, heavily contributing to its 1-4 start and giving up nearly 400 yards of total offense per game.
Containing the play of Bobcats’ quarterback Tyler Vitt will be the key defensively for the Eagles, as the team from Texas lacks serious offensive weapons outside of its signal-caller and receiver Keenan Brown. On a positive note, GS has done a fantastic job of rushing the passer this year, and the team is averaging a little over 2 sacks per game just five games into this season.
Offensively, Southern will lean on its rushing attack as per the norm, as opposing defenses not named Clemson have not been able to shut down the Hydra of a running game that has been giving teams fits this season.
Each of Shai Werts, Monteo Garrett, Wesley Fields and Wesley Kennedy III should be heavily involved throughout in this one, and I expect to see the backups and alternates early on. Guys like Matt LaRoche need valuable game reps, and this would be an ideal time to get them in against an opposing defense.
Texas State Outlook
To say Texas State football is under duress is an understatement. A 1-4 start is not helping and when the concerns are not talent, especially when you consider the talent level has increased the past couple of years, it simply comes down to play calling and execution.
Georgia Southern and their triple-option attack should have you worried and considering what Trey Ragas, Elijah Mitchell and the Ragin’ Cajuns did to the Bobcat defense on the ground it’s going to be the core of concern. Both Ragas and Mitchell rushed for 100+ yards each and the Bobcats allowed 327 yards on the ground. Yeesh.
Sure safety AJ Krawczyk is out on concussion protocol but you still have linebackers Bryan London II and Frankie Griffin and talented corner JaShon Waddy (who made one hell of an interception against Louisiana). But let me ask you this. Did anyone else notice the lack of pressure in the opposing backfield? It seems like defensively Texas State’s defense has been led to play conservatively so far this year. There was hardly a time I saw Louisiana’s quarterbacks or rushers even remotely come close to being touched behind the line of scrimmage. The Bobcats were getting torched a lot this year by the deep ball so I can see where coordinator Chris Woods could be altering the game plan to prevent getting burned by long passes but a talented run defense that that allowed just 297 yards on a 3.3 yards a carry in the past three games was no where to be found last Saturday.
Georgia Southern has only attempted 36 passes this year so in order to absolutely stop the Eagles at their game plan Texas State needs to bring the rush.
I started my outlook on the defense because the offense actually did decent last week (sans the horrible first half). The second half Bobcats that came out and made a furious run at a comeback were efficient, effective and executed the plays well. Tyler Vitt passed well throwing near 300 yards and tossed three touchdowns (as well as catching one). Most importantly Vitt committed no turnovers. Willie Jones III is also available but I’m sure Withers is going to go with Vitt on Thursday unless Vitt proves to be ineffective on Thursday.
Keenan Brown gave Louisiana the business catching two touchdowns and bullying over defenders like they were children. Along with Brown’s performance solidifying himself as maybe the nation’s top tight end was the performance of Hutch White. White hauled in 11 catches which was one catch short of tying the school record set by all-time great Johnny Parker and James Stewart and White also threw one to quarterback Tyler Vitt. Brown and White are vital to the success of the offense and if the rushing attack will be limited and center mainly around Tyler Vitt’s legs the passing attack must go through the shifty White and the imposing Brown. No doubt about it.
Vidal: Front eight need to swarm and pressure especially on the line, offense needs to come out guns blazing and the play=calling should allow Vitt to showcase his skills but also realize Keenan Brown is that go to guy in crucial situations. Gimme the 35-34 Texas State victory.
Brian: Keenan Brown will be introduced to the human equivalent of handcuffs named Monquavion Brinson, and the Bobcats’ Tyler Vitt will be running for his life all night as a result. I expect this one to get ugly early on as the Eagles break off explosive plays, and I am comfortable betting both the over and laying the points after last week. I’ll have one 49-14 Georgia Southern win, please.