Start Time: 7:30 p.m. EST, Oct. 3
Location: Ladd-Peebles Stadium; Mobile, AL
Records: Georgia Southern (1-3, 0-1 Sun Belt), South Alabama (1-4, 0-1 Sun Belt)
Weather: 86 degrees at kickoff, 6 mph winds
Betting Line: Georgia Southern -10, O/U 45.5
Georgia Southern Outlook
It has been an extremely disappointing start to the Eagles season thus far, as GS was handed a 13-point loss in its Sun Belt conference opener last Saturday by a very good team in Louisiana.
Coming into the year, the expectation was not to win double-digit games like Southern did in 2018, but there was reason to suggest this team would continue its high level of play like it did last season and not fall off a cliff.
What has transpired in the first four games of this season has been the complete antithesis of that. The Minnesota and Louisiana losses were only remotely close due to mistakes by both of those teams, and not because Georgia Southern has set the world on fire on either side of the ball.
Last year, the Eagles posted the 7th best rushing offense in the country, but departures at the offensive line spots have been filled with new players that simply are not doing their jobs very well. The losses of running backs Wesley Fields and Monteo Garrett have been replaced with a loud thud.
That thud is the sound of Georgia Southern’s running backs running into their blockers.
This team has to do something and show some signs of life. Offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse has to mix up the play calling or start packing his bags. Defensive coordinator Scot Sloan has to get the defense back to at least being competitive or else he can start looking for new employment as well.
The quarterback, whether that be Shai Werts or Justin Tomlin, has had to do absolutely everything this season and not a single person on the offensive side of the ball has helped them out.
Something has to change.
Luckily, the Eagles get a plus matchup (albeit on the road) against maybe the worst team in the conference in South Alabama. If GS cannot get itself together in this one, it is going to be a long season for the team.
South Alabama Outlook
As bad as Georgia Southern has been this season, South Alabama has been even worse. The lack of contribution from its quarterback position has been a death knell for the Jaguars, as Cephus Johnson has contributed just 3 touchdowns to 5 interceptions so far.
Running back Tra Minter has been the lone bright spot with USA struggling to get anything going through the air, with Minter averaging 8 yards per carry and having run for an average of 100 yards per game this year.
Receiver Kawaan Baker has been decent considering his quarterback struggles to get him the ball, hauling in 12 catches for 227 yards and two scores. South Alabama really only poses a threat to the Eagles on the ground, when previewing this matchup on paper.
Defensively, the Jaguars have not shown many signs of life, save for their lone win against Jackson State. In its four losses, USA has given up at least 30 points to each team its played, and I have no reason to believe things will turn around for the Jags on Thursday night.
I’m forecasting this as a get-right game for Georgia Southern, because South Alabama has not been great and because the Eagles’ players and staff have to be feeling some heat after four consecutive lackluster performances to start the year. If I am betting this game, I take the Eagles -10 and the over.
Final Score: Georgia Southern 35, South Alabama 14