GS Eagles Host USA Jaguars
South Alabama (-4) @ Georgia Southern O/U 59.5 (per BetMGM)
City: Mobile, Alabama
Coach: Kane Wommack (11-9, 2nd Season)
Stadium: Hancock Whitney Stadium
One of of the newest programs in college football, South Alabama began playing games in 2010. Now led by second-year head coach Kane Wommack, the Jaguars have begun making use of fertile recruiting grounds and financial resources to create a program that competes week in and week out. South Alabama has started the 2022-2023 campaign with a 6-2 record including a one-point loss to AP #10 UCLA. Defensively, the Jaguars puts up some of the best numbers in the country. This is in contrast to the Eagles of Georgia Southern who have one of the best offenses in the country.
Offensively, the South Alabama Jaguars average 422.8 yards and 31.63 points per game. The unit is extremely balanced as shown by their 300 rushing attempts compared to their 277 passing attempts. QB Bradley Cooper has completed 172 passes for 2,088 yards and 14 touchdowns so far this season. The rushing portion of the offense primarily runs through RB La'Damian Webb who has carried the ball 128 times for 649 yards and 9 touchdowns through eight games. The next leading rusher only has 157 yards, so look for Webb to be the workhorse for the Jaguars against a relatively weak Eagles defense. There are two receivers on the roster with over 500 receiving yards on the season - WR Jalen Wayne and WR Caullin Lacy who have 642 and 582 respectively to go along with a combined 9 touchdowns. These two are without a doubt Cooper's favorite targets and should be the focus for the Eagles defensive backfield.
The Jaguars defense is currently the #4 rushing defense in all of college football. They surrender less than 85 rushing yards per game, so expect the Eagles to be slinging the ball around like they did against JMU. Overall, South Alabama surrenders less than 300 yards per game which is good for the #15 total defense in the country. The defensive unit is full of players that can step up and make plays. There are ten players who have more than 20 tackles on the roster. The Jaguars have accumulated 19 sacks and 9 INTs through 8 games so far this season. The offensive line for the Eagles have been one of the best pass-blocking units in the country, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out. JMU was unable to get much pressure on Vantrease and he threw the ball for nearly 600 yards.
South Alabama's special teams unit is very good. K Diego Guajardo is a perfect 11-11 on the season. P Jack Brooks has punted 41 times while averaging just under 42 yards per punt. In the return game, WR Caullin Lacy is dangerous and has returned one punt for a touchdown so far this season, so coverage by the Eagles will be of paramount importance.
City: Statesboro, Georgia
Coach: Clay Helton (5-3, 1st Year)
Conference: Sun Belt
Stadium: Allen E. Paulson Stadium
Clay Helton's squad moved to 5-3 (2-2 SBC) after a road win at Old Dominion two weeks ago. This past Saturday, the Eagles got their Bye Week and look to come into the South Alabama game ready to roll! Georgia Southern averages just under 500 yards of offense per game which is good for #11 in the country. The matchup between a great defense and the Georgia Southern offense is going to be a fun one! The game will likely hinge on how well the offensive line can protect QB Kyle Vantrease.
The Georgia Southern offense averages nearly 500 yards of total offense (338 passing yards and 157 rushing yards). The scheme runs through QB Kyle Vantrease who has accumulated over 2,700 passing yards and 18 touchdowns. South Alabama has a GREAT rushing defense, so look for the Eagles to throw the ball quite a bit like they did against JMU. The Eagles continue to use the two-headed monster of RB Jalen White and RB Gerald Green who have combined for nearly 1,100 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. Running the ball against South Alabama will prove difficult, but look for Ellis to test the waters early with these two. Unfortunately, the Eagles lost one of their best receivers in Amare Jones who had season ending surgery after sustaining an internal injury during the ODU game. WR Khaleb Hood, WR Derwin Burgess Jr., and WR Jeremy Singleton will get the bulk of the touches through the air. One of them is going to have to come up BIG to cover the loss of Jones.
The Georgia Southern defense has been much improved over the last weeks. In the JMU game, the unit gave up a ton of yards but were able to make key plays to forcer turnovers and stay in the game. Against ODU, the Eagles gave up 446 yards and gave up just 23 points to the Monarchs in a huge win. The defense continues to be led by LB Marques Watson-Trent, DB Anthony Wilson, DB Wylan Free, and DB Derrick Canteen. Look for someone in the defensive back group to make a big play and force a turnover against the Jaguars. Something tells me Canteen is due for one... Once again, the defensive line has to play better and control the line of scrimmage to give the Eagles a chance to outscore the Jaguars!
K Alex Raynor has missed a couple field goals over the last couple games and has fallen to 12-14 on the season with a long of 45 yards. P Anthony Beck II continues to be great for the Eagles as he has punted 26 times for a 44 yard average through 8 games. In the return game, Georgia Southern tends to fair catch punts and take touchbacks on kickoffs. The athletes are in place to make some big plays, but so far there has not been one broken yet!
Georgia Southern, after two big wins and a bye week, beats South Alabama in a slight upset.
Jaguars - 24
Eagles - 34
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@SSN_GASouthern | 11/3/2022