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Georgia Southern at South Alabama: Preview and Prediction

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The Eagles will look to pull out of the hole they keep digging themselves on Thursday against a talented South Alabama team.

Appalachian State v Georgia Southern Photo by Chris Thelen/Getty Images

Start Time: 7:30 p.m. EST, Oct. 14

Location: Hancock Whitney Stadium, Mobile, Al.

Weather: 76 degrees, 4 mph winds

Records: Georgia Southern 2-4 (1-2 Sun Belt), South Alabama 3-2 (0-2 Sun Belt)

Betting Line: South Alabama -3; O/U 50

TV: ESPN+


Georgia Southern Outlook

The Eagles will make their second consecutive trip to the state of Alabama this Thursday, as they take on the South Alabama Jaguars.

Georgia Southern turned in an uneven performance (to put it mildly) against Troy in a 27-24 loss last Saturday, which showed this season is a lost cause. The win against Arkansas State two weeks ago is appearing to be GS simply being able to take advantage of the worst overall defense in the country and nothing more.

Southern had an atrocious first half effort against the Trojans last week, and the team from Statesboro keeps starting Justin Tomlin at quarterback for some unknown reason, even though he has yet to throw a touchdown in his college career. He has thrown 7 total interceptions between games played in 2020 and 2021 though, so maybe offensive coordinator Doug Ruse is dead set on getting Tomlin his first-ever passing touchdown for some reason. I personally don’t understand the decision.

With this season being in the dumpster and having 2 conference losses on the resume through 6 games, this staff, of which no one should be retained from heading into next year, should simply put Cam Ransom out at quarterback and let him get game reps.

What have they got to lose?

More football games in a dud of a season after which they will all be out of a job anyways?

On the defensive side of the ball, the secondary hasn’t been able to stop anyone this year and that falls on the shoulders of coordinator Scot Sloan. Sloan’s defense has the corners and safeties covering grass instead of eligible receivers, and the Eagles are currently allowing 337 passing yards per game to opponents, good for dead last in the country by rankings.

Once this season is said and done, I hope the new regime brings in a defensive coordinator who has his players actually covering pass catchers, instead of waving at them as they run by for touchdowns.

Here is Troy’s first passing touchdown against Georgia Southern last week. Note that no one is covering the Trojans receiver (Number 5).

It’s one thing to say the defense gave up after Lunsford’s firing, but this side of the ball simply never came to play in 2021.

The Jaguars should be able to do whatever they want on offense on Thursday, especially with a talented group of wideouts going against a Southern secondary that hasn’t shown up once this year outside of forcing some turnovers against Arkansas State.

South Alabama Outlook

The Jaguars have had a weird season thus far, starting 3-0, coming within two points of beating defending West champion Louisiana a few weeks ago, and then getting upset by Texas State last week, 33-31.

In this one, South Alabama shouldn’t see nearly as much defensive resistance as it did against the Bobcats and receivers Jalen Tolbert and Jalen Wayne should eat this porous Georgia Southern secondary alive.

The key in this one is getting Jake Bentley to deliver the ball accurately to Tolbert and Wayne and let them work downfield.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 02 Louisiana at South Alabama
Jake Bentley will be the key to getting South Alabama’s offense moving on Thursday night.
Photo by Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I would say something about South Alabama’s running game, but they won’t need it to get the win in this one. The team from Mobile can throw the ball every down of this game if they want to and still win comfortably.

Head coach Kane Wommack has the Jaguars playing much improved defense in his first year at the helm, with South allowing just 310 total yards per game even despite the disappointing loss to the Bobcats last week.

For perspective, Georgia Southern’s defense is allowing more passing yards per game than the Jaguars are allowing in total yards on defense.

I expect this matchup to look a lot like last week’s Troy/Georgia Southern contest.

Prediction

As I said above, South Alabama is probably angry after dropping a heartbreaker to Texas State, while Georgia Southern’s campaign has looked as disjointed as the final season of Game of Thrones.

Final Score: South Alabama 31, Georgia Southern 17