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Georgia Southern vs. South Alabama: Preview and Prediction

Georgia Southern welcomes South Alabama to Statesboro tonight, in a game that looks to be two programs trending in opposite directions.

Massachusetts v Georgia Southern Photo by Chris Thelen/Getty Images

Start Time: 7:30 p.m. EST, Oct. 29

Location: Paulson Stadium; Statesboro, GA

Weather: 76 degrees at kickoff, 75 percent chance of rain

Records: Georgia Southern (3-2, 1-2 Sun Belt); South Alabama (3-2, 2-0 Sun Belt)

Betting Line: Georgia Southern -4.5; O/U 51

TV: ESPN


Georgia Southern Outlook

Last week was an incredible week for the Eagles, in that the offense scored 7 whole points and coordinator Bob DeBesse was able to keep his job somehow.

After playing tight with Coastal Carolina for three quarters, the flood gates eventually opened on Georgia Southern, leading to a 28-14 loss where the team struggled to move the ball at all.

If this team drops this contest to South Alabama on national television, sweeping changes need to be made. In the Eagles two games against conference foes Louisiana and Coastal, the offense is averaging a whopping 10.5 points per outing. The special teams has done the remainder of the heavy lifting, which is wholly unacceptable.

Things have gotten so bad offensive weapon Wesley Kennedy III has taken to subtweeting DeBesse in an attempt to plead for more touches.

Last week, Kennedy scored on a long punt return and was promptly rewarded with 6 touches on offense which again, is wholly unacceptable given that the offense scored 1 whole touchdown.

Current tight ends coach Doug Ruse served as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator under Willie Fritz from 2014-15, with Georgia Southern averaging 39.1 points per game in 2014 and 36.5 points per game in 2015. He should get serious consideration for the role and DeBesse should be shown the door if the offense flounders against the Jaguars.

For reference, Southern is averaging 27.1 points per game in 2020, with some of its opponents to this point being an FCS team in Campbell, a winless UL Monroe team, and a UMass team that will maybe play 4 games total this season.

At this point, every game that passes where the offense looks poor and DeBesse stays employed is an indictment on Chad Lunsford’s decision-making abilities.

South Alabama Outlook

South Alabama has been a good team that seems to suffer from a lack of consistency but has improved leagues from where the Jags were last year.

Quarterback Desmond Trotter has proven to be the real deal at the signal caller spot, as Trotter returned from injury recently and has tossed 4 touchdowns to zero interceptions in his last two contests.

In an out of the lineup this year with a shoulder injury, Trotter is completing 67 percent of his attempts, and has compiled a 6:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 24 ULM at South Alabama
Desmond Trotter has proven to be the longterm answer under center for South Alabama.
Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Jaguars should utilize their plethora of talented receivers to exploit a Southern secondary that seems lost at key moments in each game. With the way Jalen Tolbert, Kawaan Baker and Jalen Wayne have played this year, all three should get their chance to shine should South Alabama decide to bomb the ball downfield.

Defensively, the Jaguars have been a little suspect in their pass defense as well, giving up 274 yards per game on average to opposing passers.

This would be concerning heading into this contest if Georgia Southern was an option team that could throw or run the ball with any level of consistency.

Prediction

I think this game is the tale of two programs trending in exact opposite directions. South Alabama has found its quarterback of the future and provided him with the requisite weapons to do damage.

Georgia Southern seems to have weapons, but is more interested in grinding out drives that eventually end in punts or field goal attempts. Give me the team on the uptick rather than the one that has fewer answers for its opponents every week.

South Alabama 24, Georgia Southern 17