This Georgia Southern Eagles football season is close to being a complete loss following a 33-26 defeat by Louisiana (the official designation per the school) on homecoming night.
The game was not as close as that score looks, and this is what the stadium looked like with a whole quarter to play. On homecoming night.
Current look at the student section as the fourth quarter begins pic.twitter.com/JJohPjJoqG— George-Anne Sports (@GeorgeAnneSport) November 11, 2016
The fact that so many left the stadium with the outcome not yet decided speaks volumes.
There was hope after a strong performance last week that David Dean taking over play-calling duties from his co-offensive coordinator Rance Gillespie would make a difference. It did not.
With both starting quarterbacks Kevin Ellison and Favian Upshaw injured, freshman Seth Shuman ran the show. He had struggled (coming into the game with three interceptions and zero touchdowns) but moved the offense downfield on the opening drive, which culminated in a Younghoe Koo field goal.
LA (the official designation per the school) took the lead back on a seven play, 56-yard drive capped off by a one-yard Elijah McGuire run.
But the Eagle offense didn’t see success for long and punts were piling up by the advent of the second quarter. The running game in particular was nonexistent.
At one point GS had 11 rushes for 15 yards. That’s roughly the equivalent of falling on your face 11 times.
Penalties also began flying when Georgia Southern played defense. Two defensive penalties in a row led to what looked like a sure LA touchdown early in the game, but instead Joshua Moon recovered a fumble deep in Eagle territory to temporarily bail his team out.
The passing game was effective, at least at times, such as on this 54-yard BJ Johnson strike.
That drive ended in a field goal, which has happened far too often this season.
LA went up 14-6 on a Dion Ray 16-yard run. Ray had been largely an afterthought all year and had one carry through his team’s first eight games. He was anything but Thursday night.
Georgia Southern cut the deficit to 14-13 on a touchdown pass to Myles Campbell as Shuman began to get in a rhythm.
The hope was short-lived as LA went 92 yards in six plays to go up 21-13. Which is, you know, one point per offensive snap.
Not long after halftime it was 31-13 in favor of the visiting team. Even when things went right for Southern (an LA Ramsby touchdown run) they still went wrong (a horrible 2-point conversion attempt that was returned for two points by the Cajuns).
The Eagles made it close at the end, but the outcome was never really in doubt.
Shuman finished a respectable 21 of 36 for 228 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. The fact of the matter is it’s hard to win passing the ball. Georgia Southern, the school that calls itself Option U, finished with 1.9 yards per carry on the ground.
Here’s a quote from Erk Russell: “Not too many pure passing teams win a lot of games.”
At 4-6, technically Georgia Southern can still go to a bowl game. Realistically, a loss to Troy is all but certain, and Eagle fans aren’t liking the thought of facing 2-7 Georgia State next week.
Southern fans will not stand for this, and there are changes coming in the coaching staff. At this point I’d be very surprised if both co-OC’s return next season. It’s just hard to believe this is the same team that took the field a year ago.