Time and Date: 6 PM ET, September 24
Broadcast Network: ESPN+
Location: Paulson Stadium - Statesboro, GA
ESPN FPI: Georgia Southern, 84.7%
Line: Georgia Southern -9.5*
Point Total: O/U 67.5*
All-Time Series: This will be the first ever meeting between the two programs.
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Georgia Southern Outlook
After getting beat up against UAB last week in a 14-point defeat, Georgia Southern will look to right the ship at home facing Ball State on Saturday.
The passing game was greatly diminished against the Blazers last week, as quarterback Kyle Vantrease finished with a sub-50% completion rate, and threw as many interceptions (3) than he had to this point in the season. The passing game should get back on track this week, but some of Vantrease’s decision-making in his throws have left a lot to be desired even with a 2-1 record.
Jalen White was pretty much the only positive for Southern last week, and now has rushed for 236 yards and six touchdowns in 2022. Against a Cardinal defense that hasn’t done much against the run or the pass, both Vantrease and White along with running back Gerald Green, there should be ample space to throw or run the football with ease.
Defensively, all of Georgia Southern’s woes through the first two weeks finally cost them against a similarly talented Group of Five school in UAB. The Eagles on defense have been porous both on the ground and through the air, and rank 98th in the country in total defense through three games. To say they’ve been a mess thus far would be an understatement.
Ball State Outlook
Through three weeks, Ball State has had a blowout loss to Tennessee, played to a tough defeat against Western Michigan and blew out FCS Murray State last Saturday. While the overall resume has been mixed, the Cardinals have been powered by the legs of sophomore running back Carson Steele, who averages just over 100 yards per game and has two touchdowns this season.
With Southern struggling to stop any runs by UAB last week, look for Steele to pound the rock early and often against a soft Eagles front-seven.
Elsewhere, the passing game runs through the arm of quarterback John Paddock, who has played fairly well through the first three games, averaging 265 passing yards per game, to go with 6 touchdowns and 3 picks.
Defensively, Ball State is nearly as soft as Southern is, sitting at 85th in total yardage allowed through three contests, with opponents have more success through the air (216 YPG) than on the ground (170 YPG).
I think this game is closer to a track meet than a football game, as both teams should see an abundance of opportunities to score in this one, with a pair of porous defenses with some well-balanced offenses.
However, the passing game has been explosive for the Eagles sans last week, but GS does get back to Paulson and (I believe) gets back into the win column in this one.
Final Score: Georgia Southern 41, Ball State 30