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Georgia Southern at Army: Preview and Prediction

The Eagles will look to pick up a win over their ex-head coach this Saturday.

Massachusetts v Georgia Southern Photo by Chris Thelen/Getty Images

Start Time: 12 p.m. EST, Nov. 21

Location: Michie Stadium; West Point, NY

Weather: 56 degrees at kickoff, 8 MPH winds

Records: Georgia Southern (6-2); Army (6-2)

Betting Line: Army -4; O/U 41.5

TV: CBS Sports Network


Georgia Southern Outlook

As soon as I give Georgia Southern credit for something, they turn around and do the opposite of the thing I gave them credit for.

In last week’s preview of the Texas State game, I praised how good the defense had looked in the past two weeks. How did the Eagles respond against a (now) 1-9 Bobcats team? They proceeded to give up 38 points and barely eked out a two-point win at home.

Anyways, GS is going to have to be firing on all cylinders against a solid Army team on the road. With each of these teams running similar styles of offense, both will be looking to run the ball, control the clock, and keep the opposing option unit off of the field.

The key to this game will be Eagles’ quarterback Shai Werts, who will line up as one of the most explosive players on the field for either team.

Werts will seriously need to limit his mistakes in this one though. After throwing for just one interception between both the 2018 and 2019 campaigns, the signal caller has tossed six picks this season alone.

I’m not sure whether its the increased volume throwing the football or just some poor decision making, but Werts’ chops throwing the football seem to be regressing each week. If Southern wants a chance to defeat its former coach in Jeff Monken, it will need to be disciplined but not too conservative as to let the Black Knights control the game with their ground-and-pound offense.

Massachusetts v Georgia Southern
After surrendering just 30 points in the previous two games combined, Georgia Southern was gashed for 38 by a 1-9 Texas State team last Saturday.
Photo by Chris Thelen/Getty Images

Defensively, I have no idea what to expect.

Georgia Southern has been very good against the run this year, allowing just 92.6 yards per game to opposing teams but weirdly struggles against teams that run the option. It’s almost as if they don’t see the exact same plays in practice every week.

This was under previous coaching regimes, but the sentiment still holds: In the previous three contests against FBS schools running the triple option (2016 Georgia Tech, 2014 Navy, 2014 Georgia Tech), the Eagles surrendered an average of 479 total yards to its opponents in those games.

If the Eagles’ run defense ends up no-showing this game too, it will be a long day on the field as Army soaks up the clock.

Army Outlook

Jeff Monken has fielded one of his finest Army squads in years this season since becoming the team’s head coach in 2014.

As is tradition under Monken, the team is second in the country in rushing yardage per game, rumbling for 303 yards per contest as a unit (for reference, Georgia Southern is fifth with 275 per game).

It truly is a group effort with the attack, as the Black Knights boast four different players with over 250 yards this season, anchored by lead back Tyrell Robinson (347 yards). Teams that face Army very quickly learn about things like gap discipline when facing off against this team, and there should be no exception in this game.

Abilene Christian v Army
Tyrell Robinson leads a talented group of Army rushers with 347 yards this season.
Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Although Army’s schedule as an independent was wrecked by COVID, the only two losses on the Black Knights’ resume are a currently #7 ranked Cincinnati team, and Tulane which is one of the most inconsistent but talented teams in the country.

Defensively, Army is a stingy group both in its front-seven and secondary, allowing just 286 yards per game to opposing offenses, and 112 rushing yards per game.

Something has to give in this one between these two talented rushing attacks.

Prediction

I think overall I agree with the betting line here. Georgia Southern is simply too inconsistent on both sides of the ball to get a handle on this year. One game they will totally shut down a good offense and then allow a bad team to score 35+.

I’m picking Army here, although if the Eagles play their absolute best I wouldn’t be shocked to see them win.

Final Score: Army 24, Georgia Southern 21