Time and Date: 5 PM ET - November 4
Broadcast Network: ESPN+
Location: Bobcat Stadium - San Marcos, TX
Records: Georgia Southern 6-2 (3-1 Sun Belt), Texas State 5-3 (2-2 Sun Belt)
Line: Georgia Southern -1.5
Point Total: O/U 68.5
All-Time Series: Georgia Southern is 5-1 all-time against Texas State, with the Eagles having won in San Marcos in 2021, 38-30. GS has also won five matchups in a row.
Georgia Southern Outlook
The Georgia Southern football team is coming off its finest performance of the season, when adjusting for strength of opponent after the 44-27 walloping of Georgia State last week, dethroning the Panthers atop the East division standings of teams that can compete in the Sun Belt Championship game. Sorry JMU.
The Eagles are in a familiar spot, having been in similar circumstances in both 2018 and 2019 under former coach Chad Lunsford. In those two years, Southern defeated its hated rival Appalachian State and controlled its own destiny in the East division and found ways to lose subsequent matchups in ‘18 and ‘19 to UL Monroe and Troy, respectively.
Let’s hope the team has shed the mental weakness of coaches’ past, and is taking this matchup against an underrated Bobcats team seriously and does not make the same mistakes it did under Lunsford this time around.
Georgia Southern has discovered that handing the ball to running back Jalen White can yield some amazing results, as White has amassed 280 yards and 3 touchdowns over the previous two weeks alone.
They will need the talented senior tailback to come through for them once again in this one against a Texas State team that is not good statistically on defense but can light up the scoreboard with quarterback T.J. Finley on offense.
The most obvious gameplan here is to cut down the amount of possessions the Bobcats receive by holding the ball with White and winning the time of possession battle while edging out a few stops on the defensive side of the ball.
This gameplan also removes, or mitigates, the chances of quarterback Davis Brin turning the ball over in key spots of the game, as he is wont to do each week.
Most Texas State games have relied upon them scoring 30+ each time, so trying to limit the number of possessions has to be a must for Georgia Southern.
Texas State Outlook
Texas State has been the biggest surprise of the season in the Sun Belt under first-year head coach G.J. Kinne and Finley, an SEC transfer from Auburn.
This team has turned from a directionless mess under previous coach Jake Spavital into one of the most explosive offenses in the country until it ran into a brick wall against Troy’s smothering defense last week.
The Bobcats are currently averaging 483 yards per game under the new regime, good for 10th in the country in total yardage on offense. While Finley has cemented himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the conference this season, he hasn’t done it alone.
Running back Ismail Mahdi has run wild on opposing defenses this season, averaging 107 rushing yards per game and an eye-popping 7.2 yards per carry. The former Houston Christian standout also has a kickoff return for a touchdown either, so keeping the ball away from Mahdi on kickoffs will be imperative to limiting the Bobcats’ chances as well.
On the receiving side of things, Joey Hobert, Ashtyn Hawkins, and Kole Wilson each have notched over 400 yards receiving this season, with Hobert leading the pack at 663 and six scores.
Defensively is where most of the Bobcats liabilities are, however. Texas State currently sports the 109th best total defense in the country, allowing 410 yards per game, with the 119th best pass defense (267 YPG) and 68th best run defense (144 YPG).
The over/under of 68.5 on this game is insane, and leads me to believe the chances of hitting that are not super feasible. I think (hope) Georgia Southern has learned not to take any opponent lightly after looking poor against ULM and comes away with a close win on the road, keeping title game hopes alive.
Final Score Georgia Southern 34, Texas State 30