Start Time: 3 p.m. EST, Oct. 19
Location: Allen E. Paulson Stadium; Statesboro, GA
Records: Georgia Southern (2-3, 1-1 Sun Belt), Coastal Carolina (3-3, 0-2 Sun Belt)
Weather: 68 degrees at kickoff, 100% chance of precipitation
Betting Line: Georgia Southern -6.5, O/U 45
Georgia Southern Outlook
Coming off of one of the toughest wins to stomach in recent memory, Georgia Southern has had 16 days to practice and prepare for a Coastal Carolina team reeling off two consecutive losses to Appalachian State and Georgia State.
Did Bob DeBesse do anything during the long layoff from playing to help this offense that currently ranks 109th in the country in scoring offense at just 21 points per game? It’s hard to say.
We all know DeBesse likes to be as conservative as possible with the first offensive drive of each game, and I expect that to be the case in this one as well. The opening offensive series of games typically go like this: First-and-ten of the first series will be an inside-zone read, the second-and-nine play will be a run around the end with an option to pitch for 1 yard, and third-and-eight will be an incomplete pass. Yawn.
Has the problem with this team the amount of effort/execution or the talent level? Depending on who you ask, you might get a different answer every time. The offensive line has been anemic this season one way or another, whether it is a talent problem or a scheme issue. Either way, these problems do not look like they will be resolved this season.
The quarterback, whether it be Shai Werts or Justin Tomlin has looked as if the team has left its signal-caller to fend for themselves out there. The only real bright spot in this backfield was that explosive playmaker Wesley Kennedy III returned from academic suspension in the Eagles’ previous contest, racking up 76 total yards and a rushing score.
GS will need Kennedy, Werts and Logan Wright to show up for this one. Coastal Carolina gave up 350 yards on the ground last week in a loss to Georgia State, so the running lanes should be there for the Eagle rushers if the offensive line cooperates.
The Eagles defense has been passable so far this year, but with the offense declining to help out most weeks, all it takes is one missed assignment by a Southern defensive back for opposing teams to put up 6.
Coastal Carolina Outlook
The Chanticleers have been a real ebb-and-flow type of team to start this season. Coastal dropped its opener by 7 against Eastern Michigan, and then went on a run, reeling off three consecutive wins against Kansas, Norfolk State and UMass.
However, Sun Belt conference play has not been kind to the team from Conway, as Appalachian State and Georgia State have hung 56 and 31 on Coastal in consecutive weeks.
The offense here runs through running back CJ Marable, and requires the rushing attack to keep heat off of quarterback Fred Payton, who has not been good this year, tossing as many touchdowns as he has interceptions, with 6 apiece.
Payton played fairly well two weeks ago against the Mountaineers (240 yards, 2 TD’s to 1 INT), but was outshined by backup Bryce Carpenter last week. The Eagles defense should be prepared to see either one of these players take snaps under center, although Carpenter is much more of a scrambler than Payton is.
Defensively, Coastal still looks good on paper even if it has surrendered yards in the last two weeks in the losses.
The Chanticleers are giving up just 160 yards rushing per game against its opponents through the first six games, so we will have to wait and see which Coastal defense shows up in this game.
I believe that -6.5 is too much to lay on a Georgia Southern team that has really struggled to do much of anything offensively this season. With the rain that is expected, I am anticipating the under of 45 to hit and Coastal to cover the +6.5.
Final Score: Georgia Southern 21, Coastal Carolina 17