Start Time: 3:30 p.m. EST, Oct. 6
Location: Allen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, Ga.
Records: Georgia Southern (3-1, 1-0 Sun Belt), South Alabama (1-4, 1-1 Sun Belt)
Weather: 90 degrees at kickoff, 4 mph winds
Betting Line: Georgia Southern -12, O/U 55.5
Georgia Southern Outlook
Eagle fans owe South Alabama a great deal of gratitude.
After all, when Georgia Southern started its 2017 campaign at an awful 0-10, it was the Jaguars that came calling the next week, allowing GS to blow USA out of the water at a final score of 52-0, and signaled that this Chad Lunsford guy may just be the real deal as head coach.
Fast forward to nearly a year later, Georgia Southern sits at 3-1, having already topped its win total from last season just four games into the season and after defeating Arkansas State at home last week may be Sun Belt title contenders.
From what I can tell, the Jaguars do not seem to have much of a run defense, which plays right into the Eagles and Shai Werts’ hands as they attempt to pound the rock with the spread option offense.
Currently South Alabama is allowing opponents to score an average of 44 points per game, and over 500 yards of total offense with 234 of those coming on the ground on average.
The key to this one for the Eagles will be not to get cocky and look past a 1-4 Jaguars team, but to handle its business at home, with the latter I see as the most likely outcome.
South Alabama Outlook
The Jaguars one hope rides with receiver Jamarius Way, and with quarterback Evan Orth’s ability to get him the ball in space and let him make plays.
Appalachian State did a fantastic job of bottling up the 6’4 wideout just a week ago in a 52-7 shellacking at the hands of the Mountaineers, something that Georgia Southern should be able to do with one of (if not the best) cornerbacks in the Sun Belt in Monquavion Brinson.
If the Eagles give Brinson safety help over the top with, say, Joshua Moon, I could easily see it being a long night for a South Alabama team that wishes to turn this game into a shootout with a lot of vertical passing to its behemoth of a receiver in Way.
The style and confidence with which the Eagles played last week will make that tough if they translate it to this week, as the Red Wolves were forced to run a bunch of screens because the yardage was just not there down the field.
If you could not tell by my write-up so far, I don’t see a way the Eagles drop this game. South Alabama’s defense just won’t be enough to keep up with the multiple rushers on any given play that Georgia Southern employs, and I could see this one getting ugly much like last season’s matchup.
From a betting perspective, I said on this week’s Sun Belt pod I would take the points with the Jaguars, but as the line has crept down to -12, the Eagles look like a safer bet. I like Georgia Southern to win and win big here.