Start Time: 6 p.m. EST, Sept. 29
Location: Allen E. Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, Ga.
Records: Georgia Southern (2-1), Arkansas State (3-1)
Weather: 84 degrees at kickoff, 40 percent chance of scattered thunderstorms
Betting Line: Arkansas State -3, O/U 54
Georgia Southern Outlook
After keeping it closer than expected for much of the game a few weeks ago at No. 2 Clemson, the Georgia Southern football team will look to continue its strong start of games while hosting conference foe Arkansas State this Saturday.
The Eagles strength may be a weak point for the Red Wolves, as ASU surrendered 310 rushing yards to a UNLV team last week that had very little success throwing the football.
Shai Werts (256 yards, five scores) will hope to find as much success on the ground as Runnin’ Rebels quarterback Armani Rogers had last week (181 yards and a score on 26 touches), and hopefully GS can do enough through the air to keep an always talented Arkansas State defense honest and from loading the box up.
As I said on Thursday’s episode of the Sun Belt pod, ideally Werts would throw 10 or fewer passes if everything was going to plan in this one. Just enough to keep the Red Wolves safeties from selling out to stop the run, and hopefully a long bomb or two to someone like the speedy Wesley Kennedy III in order to hit some of those big plays the Eagles have been missing as the team has pounded games away between the tackles early in this season.
Arkansas State Outlook
The last few seasons for the Red Wolves have been roughly on the same trajectory. ASU comes out of the gate with a few unimpressive performances against out of conference competition, and then they cut the burners on come time for Sun Belt play.
Quarterback Justice Hansen (238 yards per game passing, 10 touchdowns) will once again be a force to be reckoned with under center, and will put a Georgia Southern secondary through its first major test this season, Clemson notwithstanding.
The rushing combination of Marcel Murray (219 yards and two scores) and Warren Wand (197 yards) will additionally seek to keep Southern’s secondary from making the Red Wolves one-dimensional.
ASU has had two very similar outings the last two weeks against UNLV and Tulsa, not giving up more than 20 points while scoring 29 and 27 respectively. In order to come away with the win in this one, the visiting team will have to contain the numerous running backs of the Eagles and keep GS from killing the clock.
This is going to sound like a major homer pick, but I like Georgia Southern at home in this one, mostly due to the fact that the Red Wolves are allowing 218 rushing yards per game to opponents this season.
I do think this game is going to top the over at 54 points, but I don’t think I would touch the spread in this one if I didn’t have to.