Start Time: 6 p.m. EST, Nov. 6
Location: Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, Ga.
Weather: 55 degrees and cloudy, 6 mph winds
Records: Georgia Southern 2-6 (1-4 Sun Belt), Coastal Carolina 7-1 (3-1 Sun Belt)
Betting Line: Coastal Carolina -20; O/U 60.5
Georgia Southern Outlook
Georgia Southern was in peak 2021 form last Saturday, squandering an early lead to Georgia State and letting the Panthers walk down the field unimpeded to secure the 21-14 win.
I’ve said this every week, but I have to fill space on these previews I guess: This team desperately needs a full roster shakeup from top to bottom, as former coach Chad Lunsford left the team talent barren, and the offense in the hands of an incompetent play caller in Doug Ruse — one of the many prevailing reasons Lunsford was terminated.
The Eagles are averaging just 22 points per game on offense this season, largely buoyed by a rare offensive explosion against Arkansas State in the team’s lone Sun Belt win this season.
Clay Helton was named the new Southern coach heading into 2022 this past Tuesday, with the hopes that the early hire in the coaching carousel could help GS try to make headway on the recruiting trail and try and tailor the offense to what Helton would like to run. Presumably, this shift in philosophy will mark the end of the spread/ski-gun/Frankenstein option Southern has been trying (and largely failing) to run since the departure of Willie Fritz many years back.
Georgia Southern fans are hoping Helton’s presence and name recognition as a coach will help lure more athletes and better quality recruits to Statesboro, because in the wake of their former coach’s firing earlier this year, the Eagles could desperately use some bright spots on both sides of the ball even if just for entertainment value.
Coastal Carolina Outlook
It has been a strange season for the Chanticleers thus far, starting out 6-0 and looking solid, but having gone 1-1 over the past two weeks after dominating the Sun Belt last season. Grayson McCall remains the best signal caller in the conference for my money, but something seems to be lacking on the offensive side of the ball despite McCall and star tight end Isaiah Likely tearing it up early in the season.
Both Troy and Appalachian State seemed to have figured out the defensive recipe for giving Coastal Carolina trouble, which is to shut down Likely and force the Chants to either run the ball or throw to other receivers more often.
Over the past two weeks combined, Likely has managed to accrue just 7 catches for 96 yards following a 232-yard, 4 touchdown explosion against Arkansas State a few games ago that put him on the map nationally.
Both McCall and Likely shouldn’t have any trouble throwing the ball against the worst passing defense in the country in Georgia Southern, as the Eagles are currently surrendering 322 passing yards per contest through 8 games.
The Chanticleers should be able to do whatever they want on both sides of the ball against a floundering Southern squad that has yet to answer the bell either offensively or defensively this year.
I think this one gets ugly and in a hurry. Coastal has the advantage from every front imaginable, and Southern has failed to impress in any game outside of their one conference win earlier in the year.
Final Score: Coastal Carolina 45, Georgia Southern 7
P.S. - If you are a Georgia Southern fan looking to vent after this inevitable loss to the Chants, join me on Twitter Spaces where we will be chatting with other fans about the Clay Helton hiring and what it means for the state of the program moving forward.
Going live Saturday after the inevitable Coastal Carolina loss https://t.co/rpwAKNOEMh— Brian Stone (@WatchTheStone) November 4, 2021