Start Time: 3:30 p.m. EST, Nov. 14
Location: Paulson Stadium; Statesboro, GA
Weather: 74 degrees at kickoff
Records: Georgia Southern (5-2, 3-2 Sun Belt); Troy (1-8, 1-4 Sun Belt)
Betting Line: Georgia Southern -10.5; O/U 50
Georgia Southern Outlook
After picking up a good win over Troy last week, Georgia Southern will look to keep its newfound winning streak alive this Saturday against Texas State at home.
Saturday will be the third consecutive game the Eagles will play in the confines of Paulson Stadium, where they are 4-0 as a team this season.
This Southern team has found an identity recently, and it has nothing to do with the option or even throwing the football. As of late, GS has been winning using a smothering defense and excellent secondary play. To this point in the season, the most points a team has scored against the Eagles is 30, and that was in a win over a (now) 0-8 UL Monroe.
Offensively, GS has been using its running as a compliment to take time off the clock and limit the amount of opportunities the opposing team has. It will need to keep doing just that with talented running back J.D. King sidelined for the remainder of the season with the torn ACL he sustained last week.
There is no better example of this than last week’s game against Troy, in which Georgia Southern held the ball for nearly 43 minutes and ground out a seven-point victory over the Trojans.
On a side-note, it has not been an issue as of late with the performance of Southern’s defense, but the offense has not exactly been lighting the world on fire this year. Only twice this season has GS eclipsed the 30-point threshold, and the two teams they did it against are a combined 0-10.
With games against Army, Georgia State and Appalachian State on the horizon, it would be nice to see the boys in blue on offense take as many steps forward as the defense has recently.
Texas State Outlook
This season’s Texas State squad has seen improvement on its previous years in the Sun Belt, but the Bobcats have not yet done enough to see it translate into wins. The team from San Marcos had chances to defeat teams like UTSA, Boston College and Southern Methodist, but ultimately dropped those games due to an inability to finish.
Head coach Jake Spavital has trotted out both Brady McBride and Tyler Vitt to take snaps from under center this season, with Vitt being more efficient and less mistake-prone than his counterpart.
Vitt seems to have seized the starting role for the Bobcats, throwing for eight touchdowns to just four interceptions while completing 60 percent of his passes. McBride has both a lower completion percentage (57.6) and has a much smaller margin with his touchdown-to-interception ratio (9:7).
Outside of the quarterbacks, Texas State has a compliment of rushers who have shown the ability to make teams pay on the ground. It has been a committee approach, but each of Brock Sturges, Calvin Hill and Jahmyl Jeter have 280 yards or more this season with Sturges leading the pack at 483.
The main sore spot for this Bobcats team has been its defense, as the unit is giving up an average of 475 yards per game. While most of that success for its opponents has come through the air, Texas State is allowing teams to rush for an average of 190 yards per game on the ground.
I think Georgia Southern has found a formula that works and will keep going to that well until it doesn’t work any longer. I think the Eagles limit the number of possessions the Bobcats receive and end up grinding out another victory at home.
Final Score: Georgia Southern 27, Texas State 17