For the unfamiliar, this post is your weekly Cliff Notes for the Georgia Southern game, where we provide a scouting report on the opponent, where to watch the game, where to find the radio broadcast so you can mute the awful ESPN3 announcers and, for you fans of the Devil's Sport, what to tell the bookie you totally don't meet in a smoky back room bar on Friday afternoons.
Start Time: 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. Pacific, Saturday, Sept. 26.
Location: Kibbie Dome (A.K.A. "The Hangar"), Moscow, Idaho
Records: GSU (2-1, 0-0 Sun Belt), Idaho (1-2, 0-0)
Betting Line: Georgia Southern -16, Over/Under of 67
These are the flyers everyone is talking about. They are littered across campus. pic.twitter.com/ci0sozYmgc— Korbin McDonald (@KorbinMcD_VN) September 22, 2015
Interesting choice of words there. If they're littered across campus, might one call that Vandalism? For further bad jokes on this I'll refer you to my colleague Will Butler's excellent sentence-by-sentence analysis of said flyer.
Okay, so there is more to Idaho football than Paul Petrino antics, but none of it is anywhere near as fun to talk about.
Idaho is a doormat of a program which loses not only at football, but at conference musical chairs. The Vandals first joined the Sun Belt in 2001 after the Big West Conference dropped football. In 2004 they moved over to the WAC, which later also dropped football. They were officially independent in 2013 before limping back to the Sun Belt in 2014. All of which makes me a little nervous for the Belt.
The thing is, Idaho was good at one time, back when it played in a conference that made sense. The Vandals won the Big Sky nine times in the '80s and '90s. When I think of Big Sky programs like Eastern Washington and Montana, I think of good football. When I think of Idaho, I think of... something else.
Anyway, Idaho is off to a predictably rough start to 2015, losing 45-28 to Ohio and 59-9 to USC before a nail-biting 41-38 win over Wofford. Not only are the Terriers an old SoCon foe of Georgia Southern, you may have noticed from the flyer they went "f*cking 6-5 last year."
Of Idaho's 1,240 offensive yards, just over 70 percent have come through the air. If you've read Erk Russell's autobiography, you know he chose the option because that system gave him fits as a defensive coordinator and because "not too many pure passing teams win a lot of games."
Sure enough, starting quarterback Matt Linehan is completing 71.1 percent of his passes with 825 yards, all of which is good for three touchdowns and four interceptions. Perhaps no one is more excited for Saturday's game than Matt Dobson.
Elijhaa Perry and Aaron Duckworth lead the rushing attack and the team averages 3.6 yards per carry. Junior tight end Buck Cowan has caught two of the Vandals' three touchdown passes. Defense has been a challenge as well, giving up 47.3 points per game so far.
Georgia Southern Outlook: What looked to be a shaky season has turned around with Matt Breida-like quickness.
West Virginia seems like a long time ago after the Eagles completely dismantled Western Michigan and The Citadel. Willie Fritz and crew are picking up right where they left off in 2014, but as they say, you've got to take it one game at a time and for this week Idaho is the biggest game of the season.
Can we talk about Breida for a second? He is one crazy, crazy good running back. Again, I'll defer to a colleague, this time the venerable Walt Austin:
If the defense continues taking the ball away at this rate, it will be very hard for opponents to beat Georgia Southern. More possessions means more chances for Matt Breida to do Matt Breida things, and let's face it: with Breida it's always only a matter of time. He's always just one slipped tackle or one bad angle by a defensive back away from torching the opponent.
Breida's already up to 410 yards rushing, which is more than Idaho and 24 other FBS programs. The team boasts 991 yards on the ground, good for third in the country in spite of the poor performance against WVU.
Elsewhere, Kevin Ellison threw 17 passes in his first game back from academic suspension, connecting on 10 of them for 80 yards. If this team establishes even a modest passing threat the ground game will become that much more deadly. Ellison also scored twice with his feet last week.
Georgia Southern's defense, already with five interceptions on the season, will be eager to show the secondary's continued improvement. Look for a big night from Dobson, along with Antonio Glover and Darrius White. Meanwhile Antwione Williams and Deshawntee "Ironhead" Gallon will look to add to their sack totals.
Prediction: While you never want to be overconfident, -16 is a very low spread for this game (you can get it at -15.5 in a few places). Just like the last two weeks, Georgia Southern wins and covers. Regarding the over/under of 67, none of Idaho's games so far have finished below that number, and none of GSU's have finished above it. Stay away from this one (but take the under if you must).