Start Time: 6 p.m. EST, Sept. 7
Location: Paulson Stadium; Statesboro, GA
Records: Georgia Southern (0-1), Maine (1-0)
Weather: 93 degrees at kickoff, 2 mph winds
Betting Line: GS -7.5, O/U 46.5
Following Saturday’s destruction at the hands of #6 LSU, Georgia Southern will look to get some positive momentum this weekend as the Eagles welcome FCS Maine to Statesboro.
Coming off of one of the worst offensive outings in recent memory, the Eagles will look to get on track following a loss where they posted less than 100 total yards offensively.
News came out just before game time on Saturday that running back Wesley Kennedy III will serve a 4-game suspension due to an academic violation that leaves the Eagles without one of its most explosive playmakers for two more games.
Luckily, quarterback Shai Werts should be a full go against the Black Bears after being pulled against LSU for precautionary measures.
The Eagles should be able to run the ball with more success with the home crowd behind them this Saturday, provided that offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse mixes up the play calling and is not as conservative as he was against the Tigers.
Offensively for Maine, it looks like the team will run through quarterback Chris Ferguson. The junior signal-caller finished last week’s 42-14 drubbing of Sacred Heart throwing for 423 yards and three scores while completing nearly 80 percent of his passes.
Wideouts Jaquan Blair and Devin Young lit up the Pioneers of Sacred Heart, with each finishing north of 100 yards and a touchdown each.
Hopefully if Maine goes to a fast-paced offense against Southern, the Eagles will be more prepared on defense than it was last week at LSU.
As mentioned above, the main point of concern coming off of last week’s loss will be Georgia Southern’s secondary and how it responds this week.
Maine’s quarterback can sling the ball all over the field and has two very capable receivers in Blair and Young, so the defensive backfield will have its hands full containing those two on Saturday.
On the plus side for the Eagles, Maine struggled to run the ball last week in its blowout victory, as leading rusher Emmanuel Reed barely eclipsed the 50-yard mark but was able to score a pair of touchdowns on the ground.
Southern should look to shut down the arm of Ferguson early and force the Black Bears to run the ball more than it is comfortable.
Finally, Maine’s defense as a whole was stellar in its win last week, only allowing Sacred Heart to amass 207 yards.
The Eagles should provide a more talented roster than the Pioneers did, and hopefully will attack the edges of the Maine defense with more frequency (and success) than it did against LSU.
I’m going to predict a fairly easy win for the Eagles this week against a talented yet overmatched FCS opponent. If Maine ends up keeping this game closer than the 7.5 point spread, Georgia Southern will have more issues than me just being wrong in this section of the article for a second week in a row.
Final Score: Georgia Southern 38, Maine 13