Time and Date: 2 PM ET - October 21
Broadcast Network: ESPN+
Location: Paulson Stadium - Statesboro, GA
Records: Georgia Southern 4-2 (1-1 Sun Belt), UL Monroe 2-4 (0-3 Sun Belt)
Line: Georgia Southern -17
Point Total: O/U 59.5
All-Time Series: Georgia Southern is 6-3 all-time against UL Monroe, with the Eagles having won in Monroe in 2020, 35-30.
Georgia Southern Outlook
James Madison is the best football team in the Sun Belt, but Georgia Southern flat out embarrassed itself last Saturday, barely managing to score a touchdown until about the final play of regulation en route to a 28-point loss.
The Eagles will look to get right this weekend against a lowly UL Monroe team, but I am out on the possibility of quarterback Davis Brin leading Southern anywhere that isn’t a low-tier bowl game.
It doesn’t matter if Brin throws 10 touchdowns or none in this contest, last week’s matchup showed all of his warts as a quarterback: He is shakier than most quarterbacks when pressure comes and lacks pocket awareness, he overthrows open receivers, and he doesn’t have the arm strength to challenge defenses down the field on deeper routes.
Lucky for him, ULM is being served up to him on a plate this week.
There are two units that will not get to escape blame either, as the offensive line is one that has regressed mightily after a season where they went the first seven or eight games without letting up a sack last season, now having given up 14 in just six games.
Defensively, the Eagles seem to have traded a porous run defense for an unprepared secondary, allowing James Madison receivers to run free and uncontested for many plays last week.
I would say this game will be a test of whether Georgia Southern bounces back or not, but we may need to see them play another good team, such as Georgia State on the 26th, before I can evaluate whether that may be the case.
UL Monroe Outlook
UL Monroe has been their typical selves this season, struggling to generate much production on the offensive side of the ball and fielding an underwhelming defense on the other.
As I said on this week’s Sun Belt podcast, ULM needs to find consistent contributors on each side of the ball if they wish to be even an average football team, something that has been lacking since Caleb Evans left the team in 2019.
The Warhawks do not do anything particularly well, which should answer why their record is what it is.
Jiya Wright has not been the answer at the quarterback position, save for the 41-40 loss against Appalachian State a few weeks back where he had 342 total yards and five touchdowns by himself.
The four touchdowns Wright threw against App have constituted two-thirds of his passing production so far this season, for context.
ULM’s leading rusher, Isaiah Woullard, averages about 52 yards rushing per game, and defensively Monroe ranks 121st in the country in passing yardage allowed, with 273 yards surrendered per game.
The Warhawks are simply a mess right now.
Georgia Southern probably bounces back against a weak opponent at home, where they tend to play better, but that won’t necessarily mean the ship is righted with matchups against Georgia State, Texas State, Marshall and App still on the docket.
That stretch will show what this team is truly made of.
Final Score: Georgia Southern 35, UL Monroe 13