Time and Date: 2 PM ET - September 23
Broadcast Network: ESPN+
Location: Scheumann Stadium - Muncie, IN
Records: Ball State 1-2, Georgia Southern 2-1
Line: Georgia Southern -6.5
Point Total: O/U 61
All-Time Series: Georgia Southern is 1-0 all-time against Ball State, having last won last year in Statesboro by a 34-23 margin.
Georgia Southern Outlook
Georgia Southern will take to the road for its second consecutive week, looking to move past an all-time stinker of a performance by quarterback Davis Brin against Wisconsin.
There is no easy way to say it: Brin absolutely has to take better care of the football than he did last week if he wants to make it to week 6 as the Eagles’ starter. As I said on my Sun Belt podcast, (subscribe and rate below!) right now he looks like Brett Favre without all of the MVP caliber play to weigh him down.
Offensively, the Eagles have to be more balanced, especially if Brin continues to hand out turnovers like he’s running a mass production bakery or Southern decides to go with another QB at some point.
Both Jalen White and OJ Arnold have been incredibly efficient with the few attempts they have been given, with each averaging over 5 yards per carry. GS is not good enough at the QB position to throw the ball 50 times per game and hope to win each week, so both Arnold and White should see more work unless offensive coordinator Bryan Ellis is looking to prove a point to nobody in particular.
Defensively, Georgia Southern has looked solid both in pass and run defense, even though the stats do not quite bear it out. I have been very impressed with a lot of the steps forward the front-seven has made thus far, and we will see if the progression continues this Saturday in Indiana.
Ball State Outlook
Best known for being David Letterman’s alma mater, Ball State has had a strange opening to their 2023 campaign.
The Cardinals opened the season getting shellacked by SEC East squads Kentucky and #1 Georgia before blowing out FCS Indiana State last weekend. Thus far in the season, Ball State has not played a team of their caliber, so this will be a good measuring stick.
Running back Marquez Cooper went wild in last week’s victory over ISU, tallying up 177 yards and a score, so they may want to look to ride Cooper once again to shorten the game and reduce the amount of potential possessions the Eagles’ offense may see in this game.
Quarterback Kadin Semonza has been fine through three games thus far, and tossed a pair of touchdowns in last week’s win over the Sycamores. It is tough to get a handle on this team’s offense with two beatdowns against SEC schools and a blowout win against a severely overmatched opponent.
Defensively, the Cards’ secondary will need to be prepared for a track meet, as Georgia Southern loves to air the ball out, even to the detriment of their own chances of winning at times.
The defensive backfield for Ball State should ready their hands as well; who knows if Davis Brin ever took out those red-tinted contacts he was sporting last week against the Badgers.
Despite making everyone suffer through 60 minutes of incompetent quarterback play last week, I still think Southern has enough weapons to hurt a team like Ball State, who may not be able to make the Eagles pay for their mistakes like Wisconsin did.
I like GS to take the win in this one fairly comfortably.
Final Score: Georgia Southern 31, Ball State 17