Start Time: 3 p.m. EST, Nov. 3
Location: Malone Stadium, Monroe, La.
Records: Georgia Southern (7-1, 4-0 Sun Belt), UL-Monroe (4-4, 2-2 Sun Belt)
Weather: 73 degrees at kickoff
Betting Line: Georgia Southern -7.5, O/U 60.5
Georgia Southern Outlook
If you didn’t believe Georgia Southern was all the way back before last Thursday, it is pretty difficult to deny it now.
Just like John Wick, I’m thinking they’re back. After knocking off No. 25 ranked Appalachian State for the first time since 2014 by a 34-14 margin, the Eagles control their own conference destiny with a one-game advantage in the Sun Belt East after defeating the Mountaineers.
Hitting the road has not been an easy task this season for the Eagles however, as the last two away contests has seen Southern eek out a 15-13 win over a lowly Texas State team, and needing a huge third quarter boost to defeat New Mexico State by a 48-31 decision.
The good news for GS in this one is that Monroe’s defense has been overly shoddy this season, giving up 483 yards per game to opposing offenses and nearly 200 yards rushing to teams.
Georgia Southern’s offensive line and full complement of rushers on offense should be licking their chops at the prospect of taking on the Warhawks, even with Monroe being on a upward trend over the past two weeks.
This could be a good time to test a few things, like trying to get Matt LaRoche and his shiftiness out into space with the football, or giving Logan Wright some much needed game reps after playing impressively in the last two contests.
Shai Werts looked as sharp last week as he’s been all year, tossing a score through the air and is currently leading GS in rushing with 671 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Georgia Southern will have to be careful not to have a letdown game, with this contest being sandwiched between match-ups with the top of the Sun Belt East in App and Troy.
It has been a strange season for the Warhawks as they currently sit at .500. After falling by eight points to Troy on Sept. 22. the team was throttled in its next two games, by Ole Miss (understandably) and Georgia State (wait, what?).
After allowing a 70-burger to Ole Miss, the team has righted the ship over the last two weeks, winning big over Coastal Carolina and edging out Texas State.
In order to remain in this game, Monroe will need to throw the ball effectively and keep Southern from being opportunistic on the defensive side of the ball. Quarterback Caleb Evans has been solid but a bit mistake prone through eight games, tossing nine scores but six interceptions.
Derek Gore will also be a name to watch out for at the halfback spot, as the runner is leading the team on the ground with 431 yards and five touchdowns this season to try and keep the Eagles honest and out of Evans’ line of sight.
With Southern’s defense only allowing 18.6 points per game, and UL-Monroe’s offense averaging 24, it will presumably have to win a low-scoring close game to defeat the Sun Belt leader at home.
From a betting perspective, it’s hard to gauge what Georgia Southern will do. In their recent trips away from Statesboro, they have scored 15 and 48 in a pair of wins, so I do not like the over/under here. I do like -7.5, so I think the score will finish around 31-13 in favor of the Eagles on Saturday.