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Georgia Southern vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Preview: Thursday Night Showdown in Statesboro

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Sports. Yea, let’s talk about that.

Georgia Southern v Mississippi Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

It’s been a slow news week, so we are all excited that the Georgia Southern Eagles and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns will give us something to talk about Thursday night.

Just go with it.

Start Time: 7:30 p.m. EST, Nov. 10

Location: Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, Georgia

TV/Streaming: ESPNU/WatchESPN

Radio: Georgia Southern here. LA here

Records: GS (4-5, 3-2 Sun Belt), LA (3-5, 2-3)

Weather: 51 degrees at kickoff, clear skies, 0 mph winds

Betting Line: Georgia Southern -8. Over/Under of 46.5

Georgia Southern Outlook

Last week was encouraging, right?

The Eagles looked vintage, if you consider last year vintage, with 267 yards on the ground in a 37-27 loss to Ole Miss.

Matt Breida turned in an incredible 68-yard touchdown run, part of a 100-yard performance, showing he really is still Matt Breida when given the chance. The offensive line showed it really does know how to block.

Georgia Southern turned in 401 yards of offense. Just reading that makes me want to get up and run through a brick wall.

Of course, the performance coincided with a switch in play caller. David Dean took over the duties from his co-offensive coordinator Rance Gillespie. Did that make the difference? Thursday will go a long way toward answering that question.

Another factor is the Ole Miss run stopping unit. I chatted with SB Nation’s Rebels blog last week and heard quite a bit about how awful their run defense is. So you do have to consider the opponent, and no, they don’t get a pass just because they wear an SEC patch.

On the flip side, Southern’s defense did not turn in a good game. Take out the brutal 28-point second quarter and the Eagles win. It happened though, and points allowed will absolutely have to go down if GS is going to win this game. Luckily, ULL does not have anything like a Chad Kelly.

Speaking of quarterbacks, Favian Upshaw is expected to be out again so we will likely see the Kevin Ellison-Seth Shuman rotation again.

This is all but a must-win if 4-5 GS is going to a bowl game. This team really, really needs to go to a bowl game.

Lastly, big ups to Younghoe Koo. He is having the best season of any kicker I have ever watched at Georgia Southern. Put the man in the league.

Louisiana Outlook

Georgia Southern isn’t the Georgia Southern of old. Neither is LA.

The Cajuns conjure images of Terrance Broadway swaggering into the end zone, then celebrating with Mark Hudspeth, the team’s disturbingly muscle-bound head coach.

Those images are not current.

Hudspeth is still around, but is 3-5, with losses to App State (24-0), Idaho (on homecoming), New Mexico State, Boise State and Tulane (gross). App State and Boise State are good. The other three are not and this team appears headed for a second-straight losing season.

LA’s best threat is wide receiver Keenan Bares, who boasts five touchdowns on the season. The other offensive player to watch is senior running back Elijah McGuire. But again, the offense isn’t all that scary on the whole.

Like the Eagles, LA is stronger when playing defense. Watch out for linebacker Otha Peters and defensive end Joe Dillon, who have helped the unit hold opponents to 3.2 yards per carry. The defense has held three teams under 100 yards per carry and allow 126.6 yards per game overall.

This was supposed to be a big-time matchup held late in the season with conference title implications on the line. But you know, the best-laid plans of mice and men...

Prediction

That betting line has ticked down over the week, falling from 10.5 to 8. I wouldn’t touch it if I was a betting man (I’m not) because Georgia Southern has been so inconsistent.

If the team from last week shows up and the 2014/15 running game decides to continue existing Southern could hit the over by itself. If the team plays like it did in the two ASU games, it will lose and be lucky to score 10 points on offense.

Okay, it’s supposed to be a prediction. Southern wins, and take the over.