Georgia Southern’s defense resembled more of a speed bump than a stop unit in the Eagles’ 37-24 loss to Louisiana on Saturday night, in a game that was not close after the halftime break.
Ragin’ Cajuns running back Trey Ragas gashed Southern’s defense to the tune of 131 yards and two scores in the victory, as the Eagles struggled to do much of anything against Louisiana’s high-powered offense and three-headed rushing attack.
The only real success for GS in the first half came by way of a pair of fumbled punt returns by Cajuns returner Eric Garror, eventually leading to 10 points for Southern and a first half deficit of 17-13 at the break in favor of the visiting team.
Louisiana never had much trouble marching down the field time after time against Southern, racking up 439 yards of total offense and helping the Cajuns come away with a key conference win in the Sun Belt opener.
Meanwhile on offense for the Eagles, it looked like Southern had left quarterback Shai Werts out to dry in his first game returning from injury, and Werts did everything a player could do with little support from his running backs and a terrible defensive performance backing him up.
Werts went for 99 yards on the ground in the loss, but got very little help from a set of rushers who seemed more comfortable falling down after two yards on each carry, or running into the backs of their blockers than looking to break long runs.
Only one other Southern rusher in Logan Wright registered over 60 yards on the ground in the loss. Hopefully the running game can show some signs of life next week when the explosive talent of Wesley Kennedy III returns from a four-game suspension.
From here, it looks like Louisiana’s only real competition in the Sun Belt West will come against Arkansas State on October 17th when the teams square off.
The Eagles gave themselves very little chance to compete for a Sun Belt title by losing this game, as it will need to win games at Appalachian State, Troy and Arkansas State while also potentially needing some help (and those previously mentioned teams losing) to make the Sun Belt title game.
Georgia Southern will hopefully be able to come away with its first conference win at home against South Alabama next week, if the Eagles remember that playing defense is allowed, if not encouraged.