Time and Date: 4:00 PM ET - October 15
Broadcast Network: ESPN+
Location: Paulson Stadium - Statesboro, GA
Records: Georgia Southern 3-3 (0-2), James Madison 5-0 (3-0)
Line: James Madison -12.5*
Point Total: O/U 67*
All-Time Series: Georgia Southern leads the series 7-1. The Eagles last won in Statesboro 24-17 in 1992.
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Georgia Southern Outlook
Georgia Southern’s 2022 football campaign will continue limping along while it faces off with Sun Belt powerhouse and newly ranked James Madison in Paulson Stadium this weekend.
The Eagles now sport the 12th worst defense in all of FBS football following last week’s sputtering effort against Georgia State, and is now giving up an average of 454 total yards per game this season.
It is truly remarkable how through 2021 and 2022, the Eagles have run two different defensive schemes (3-4 and 4-2-5) under two different coordinators (Scot Sloan, Will Harris) and have yet to show an ounce of improvement on that side of the ball. As I outlined in my preview of Southern/State from last week, they essentially do nothing well statistically.
When you compound that with the rate at which quarterback Kyle Vantrease has given the ball away this season, averaging nearly 2 interceptions per game, you have the perfect recipe for a mediocre football team that got lucky with its early draw and will continue falling to Earth as the season rolls along.
Despite Vantrease’s miscues, the Eagles don’t seem keen on either switching to another quarterback or running the football at an increased rate to take some of the heat off of their signal-caller.
It seems that both sides of the ball will die at the hands of throwing the football this season.
#25 James Madison
To say JMU has been a surprise the season has been an understatement.
Behind dual-threat quarterback Todd Centeio, the Dukes have started the season undefeated, powered by 17 total touchdowns to just 1 interception from its signal-caller with a stifling defense to boot.
Having already come back down 28-3 against perennial contender Appalachian State earlier this season, no one outside of diehard fans of the team could have expected JMU would perform like this in its transition to the FBS.
James Madison en route to its top-25 ranking currently boasts the third-best total defense in all of college football, surrendering just 228.4 yards per game. In the Sun Belt preview podcast, I forecasted that the Dukes may sneakily be the third-best team in the Eastern division, but they have blown past my wildest expectations and may prove to be the best with a meeting against Coastal Carolina on the docket for the season finale.
In short, these teams couldn’t be more opposite at this point in the year, which means this probably will get ugly in a hurry.
Vegas has this game handicapped at -12.5 for James Madison having moved from -10 earlier in the week. I’m still a bit flummoxed as to how JMU is not a 17-point favorite, but either way I am comfortable putting a second mortgage on James Madison.
Georgia Southern has just been bad since the Ball State win.
Final Score: James Madison 42, Georgia Southern 21