Author’s Note: There were no photos available to be chosen from this season’s game.
For the second year in a row, Georgia Southern gave very little effort in its follow-up after beating Appalachian State, as the Eagles allowed a sub-.500 Troy team to run up and down the field at will, with the Trojans coming away with a 49-28 win.
Before I dive into this game, Southern head coach Chad Lunsford needs to take a hard look in the mirror and assess if his coordinators are qualified for their positions and actually care if they are employed moving forward.
Each time the Eagles offense touched the ball, it looked as if offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse was trying to get his team to punt as quickly as possible with some predictable play calling for the majority of the game.
Combining one of the offense’s worst games of the season with a defensive effort that was absolutely awful, Georgia Southern only within striking distance of its opponent for a few minutes early in the fourth quarter.
Kaleb Barker was able to lead Troy down to the field on the opening series against very little resistance from the GS defense, tossing a 13-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-0. Georgia Southern punted just a few minutes after the first score, and DK Billingsley got loose on a 3rd and 18 for a touchdown run to make it 14-0 Trojans early.
Billingsley had a very successful day on the ground with 163 yards and two touchdowns, including a 70-yard score that put this game away late as the Trojans moved the ball at-will for most of the game.
Barker made the Eagles pay through the air most of the day, compiling 330 yards and 3 touchdown passes with one pick, as Southern’s secondary seemed more comfortable letting receivers run free instead of contesting catches.
The defensive front never got much pressure on Barker, who had all day to throw on most plays. On the flip side, Troy’s pass rushers were able to compile 7 sacks on Shai Werts, who looked lost most plays behind a non-existent offensive line and with DeBesse’s boneheaded plays.
This contest was close for a few minutes into the fourth quarter, as Werts hit Darian Anderson for a 26-yard score on a 4th and 2 to cut the Trojans lead down to 27-21, before Troy scored 21 unanswered points in the final quarter to put it out of reach.
The only bright spot for the Eagles in the entire game was Wesley Kennedy III, who deserved more work than he got, especially when the game was close. Kennedy came away with 75 yards on just 10 carries with a score, but the offensive line once again did nobody wearing white any favors in this one.
The effort simply was not there on either side of the ball, and Bob DeBesse seemed as if he was trying to get this game over with as quickly as possible with his anemic play calling.
The only real takeaway from this game is the dissolution of GS’s conference title hopes.
Georgia Southern will pack it in and hope to make a bowl game with three contests left to play, and has zero chance to contend for a Sun Belt title under this current regime. 8-4 is the best they can hope for, but future opponents Arkansas State and Georgia State are not to be taken lightly.
This win doesn’t really change things for Troy either, as they might not get to bowl eligibility assuming they win next week against lowly Texas State, as the season ends with games at Sun Belt conference contenders Louisiana and Appalachian State.