Start Time: 3 p.m. EST, Oct. 26
Location: Allen E. Paulson Stadium; Statesboro, GA
Records: Georgia Southern (3-3), New Mexico State (0-7)
Weather: 79 degrees at kickoff, 40% chance of precipitation
Betting Line: Georgia Southern -14.5, O/U 55.5
Georgia Southern Outlook
Following last week’s defeat of Coastal Carolina in triple-overtime, Georgia Southern will look to get above .500 for the first time this season when it takes on a winless New Mexico State team at home tomorrow.
For the second week in a row, the Eagles limped through four quarters of football offensively before coming to life once the game went to an extra period.
The offense is still somewhat stagnant even after scoring 30 points in a win last week, considering GS had just 10 points on the board when the fourth quarter ended.
Eventually offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse is going to have to put together four quarters of good offensive play calling if this team wants to go anywhere in the conference race this season, and especially with a showdown at Appalachian State on the docket for Halloween.
I thought he called the first half against Coastal fairly well, but then fell back into the same predictable plays in the third and fourth quarters. Circumstances forced his hand in overtime, as Shai Werts was left no choice but to throw 2 touchdown passes and giving the Eagles a chance to win.
No Southern rusher has eclipsed the 400-yard mark this season, with only J.D. King running for more than 300 yards through six games.
Defensively, the Eagles need to quit letting opposing receivers get behind their safeties and corners for easy scores. In the last three games, there have at least been one instance in each game that GS allowed an easy passing score that made the game more challenging than it should have been.
The positive thing coming into this one is that there should be running lanes for Southern, considering New Mexico State’s difficulties in defending the run this season.
New Mexico State Outlook
Three years after being ousted from the Sun Belt Conference, New Mexico State has hit bottom. Eating seven consecutive losses to open a season will to that to you.
Offensively, quarterback Josh Adkins has found defenders from the other team more often than he has his own receivers, tossing 12 interceptions to just 9 touchdowns.
Receiver Tony Nicholson has clocked in as Adkins number-one target, hauling in 42 catches for 466 yards and three scores, and NMSU has had to throw a lot considering how bad the defense has been this year.
Leading rusher Jason Huntley has done what he could despite several negative game scripts, running for 442 yards (63 yards per game) and four touchdowns.
Did I mention the Aggies’ defense was bad? Sorry, what I meant to say is that it has been brutal through seven losses.
In total yardage, NMSU ranks 125th out of 130 FBS teams in yards allowed, giving up an average of 488.9 yards per game, with 243 per game coming from opposing rushing attacks.
With all that said, Georgia Southern’s offense has not been lights out by any stretch of the imagination this year, and I’m sure at least one or two of New Mexico State’s receivers will get behind the Eagles’ secondary for a score. I’d take the +14.5 from a betting perspective considering the biggest win GS has had this year was 8 points against FCS Maine.
Final Score: Georgia Southern 24, New Mexico State 17