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Georgia Southern vs. UMass: Preview and Prediction

The Eagles need to win and win big to assure their fans that this season will not be a waste.

Campbell v Georgia Southern Photo by Chris Thelen/Getty Images

Start Time: 4 p.m. EST, Oct. 17

Location: Paulson Stadium; Statesboro, GA

Weather: 70 degrees at kickoff

Records: Georgia Southern (2-1, 0-1 Sun Belt); UMass (0-0)

Betting Line: Georgia Southern -31; O/U 63

TV: ESPN2


Georgia Southern Outlook

Following a win that almost wasn’t in its third contest of the year, Georgia Southern will turn its attention to a visiting Massachusetts team playing its only game of the season on Saturday.

The Eagles looked good in the 5-point win over UL Monroe...for about two-and-a-half quarters. After that point, it looked like the clock struck midnight and the carriage turned back into a pumpkin as GS allowed the Warhawks to come within 1 yard of making a comeback for ULM’s first win of the year.

To add insult to all of this, UL Monroe was just smoked by Liberty 40-7 last week after nearly beating Southern just one week prior. Go figure.

The thing lacking in Georgia Southern’s offense as a whole is the killer instinct. Through three games, it never really feels like the Eagles are putting anyone away and the entire game is a slow grind. The Campbell game was a comeback victory, the contest against Louisiana saw GS score just 18 points and blow a late fourth quarter lead, and I’ve already written enough about the UL Monroe game to this point.

In year three of the Bob DeBesse era of offense, the team seems to be getting worse, not better:

This team needs a kick in the pants to get them going. I don’t know whether it’s lack of preparation or motivation, but something has to change with this team’s attitude and execution or the Eagles might not win 4-5 games this year.

Defensively, things aren’t much better. That killer instinct I talked about goes double for this unit. Not only do they not go in for the kill, they are fairly lax (especially through the air) even when they are down on the scoreboard.

At this point, it feels like its 100% on the offense to win games, and see the tweet above if you’d like to know how that’s going so far in year three of the DeBesse era.

UMass Outlook

I’m going to be totally honest here, I am not sure what to make of UMass, so this section will be fairly brief.

With COVID having wrecked their schedule, the Minutemen have only this game on the docket for 2020. Last season UMass was horrible, having won only a single contest as a part of a 1-11 campaign.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 26 UConn at UMass
Zak Simon returns as the leading receiver from last season’s UMass team.
Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The team’s quarterback from last season and its leading rusher both departed following the one-win year in 2019, leaving receivers Zak Simon and Cam Roberson as the main focal points returning this year.

Again, not a lot of information is available for a nearly winless team fielding a group for just one contest.

Prediction

If an impartial party looked at this game on paper, they would assume Georgia Southern would win going away. However, as a fan of this team I would not take anything for granted considering how the Eagles have played through three games.

I think this is much closer than the line indicates but Southern ultimately wins.

Georgia Southern 27, UMass 17