Start Time: 6 p.m. EST, Oct. 30
Location: Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, Ga.
Weather: 57 degrees and cloudy, 6 mph winds
Records: Georgia Southern 2-5 (1-3 Sun Belt), Georgia State 3-4 (2-1 Sun Belt)
Betting Line: Georgia State -6.5; O/U 56
Georgia Southern Outlook
Following a 16-day layoff after a walloping at the hands of South Alabama, Georgia Southern limps into its 8th game of the season against Georgia State at home.
The Eagles have been much better within the confines of Paulson Stadium than they have been on the road this year, but the team has been thoroughly trounced in losses to South Alabama and Troy over the previous two weeks.
As bad as they have played early in the season, they seem to be regressing even more and look to be packing it in for 2022. Look no further than interim coach Kevin Whitley’s comments after the pounding GS took against the Jaguars:
“We’re going to find 22 guys that want to play football.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of effort or talent. While many wanted Chad Lunsford to survive as head coach through the 2021 season, its no doubt at this point that his poor planning for the post Shai Werts area has put Southern in the talent-deficient hole it is currently facing.
It was never a matter of if he would be fired, but when.
I’ve been beating this dead horse every week, but I’ll say it once again: Cam Ransom should take all first-team reps at the quarterback position moving forward barring injury or trick plays as the Eagles aren’t competing for much outside of a lower-tier bowl appearance.
The receiving corps hasn’t helped Ransom or Justin Tomlin cobble out any semblance of a passing game to keep defenses honest, and the running backs are finding nothing but the backs of their offensive linemen. The guys in the trenches regularly look lost as to who they are supposed to be blocking.
The defense remains one of the worst units in all of FBS football, and the dead-last ranked secondary in terms of yardage allowed per game.
I have no doubt that Shawn Elliott and crew will be taking to the air early and often against a Southern defense that looks like they couldn’t cover their backsides with both hands.
Georgia State Outlook
It has been a rocky campaign for the Panthers so far this year, as a brutal opening season schedule and a heartbreaking loss at the hands of Auburn had Georgia State sitting at 1-4 after five contests.
But after making the permanent switch at quarterback to Darren Grainger, GSU has won its last two contests over a surging UL Monroe squad (55-21) and a frisky Texas State team last week (28-16).
Grainger should see a multitude of open passing lanes against a porous Southern secondary surrendering 348 yards per game through the air.
The changes did not just stop at the signal caller spot though, as Tucker Gregg has usurped the lead running back position from transfer portal enrollee Destin Coates. Gregg most recently ran for 115 yards in the win last week over the Bobcats, and is averaging 5.8 yards per carry this season with 2 scores.
On defense, the Panthers have been respectable and only really been burned by opposing teams that can throw the football, which Southern cannot. Georgia State has allowed 250 yards per game through the air with 150 per contest given up on the ground.
In good conscience I cannot pick Georgia Southern to win another game this year. The slate only gets harder from hereon out, and State has really rebounded following a blowout at the hands of Appalachian State three games ago.
Maybe this one ends up closer than I think, but mentally I’m just looking up potential head coaches for the Eagles at this point and am focused on what this team could be in 2022.
Final Score: Georgia State 31, Georgia Southern 13