FACTS & STATS: Site: Ladd-Peebles Stadium (40,000) — Mobile, Alabama.
Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: GSU 1-0, USA 0-1. Away Record: GSU 0-2,
USA 0-1. Neutral Record: GSU 0-0, USA 0-0. Conference Record: GSU 0-0, USA
0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Georgia Southern Eagles will play their first-ever Sun Belt
Conference matchup on Saturday night when they travel to Ladd-Peebles Stadium
to take on the South Alabama Jaguars.
Georgia Southern is just 1-2 but has played well in each of its games and
could easily be undefeated if a few breaks went its way. The team has a
dominant 83-9 win over Savannah State sandwiched in between a pair of
heartbreakers to ACC team’s NC State (24-23) and Georgia Tech (42-38). In last
week’s game versus Tech, they overcame a 25-point halftime deficit to take a
three-point fourth-quarter lead, but they fell victim to a last-minute
South Alabama opened the season with a solid road victory at Kent State,
23-13, but upon returning home to Mobile it fell on the wrong end a 35-3
decision to Mississippi State to drop back to .500. The Jaguars had won four
of their last five games at Ladd-Peebles Stadium prior to last week’s setback.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two football programs.
Georgia Southern’s triple-option rushing attack has been clicking on all
cylinders this season, with its 364.3 rushing yards per game ranking second in
the nation. The unit racks up 553.7 total yards per contest and scores 48.0
Orchestrating the offense is quarterback Kevin Ellison, who has 257 yards and
a touchdown on the ground. His passing attempts have been limited (18-of-28),
but his completions usually result in big plays with 391 yards and three
scores. Ellison is questionable for this matchup with a shoulder injury.
Favian Upshaw (9-of-16, 142 yards, TD) is waiting in the wings if necessary.
Matt Breida earns the most work out of the backfield and has turned 29 carries
into 267 yards (9.2 ypc) and five touchdowns. A total of six Eagles’ rushers
have at least 100 yards on the ground.
Kentrellis Showers has been explosive out wide. Although he has just seven
receptions, they have gone for 216 yards and three scores.
Defensively, Georgia Southern has played admirably, holding opponents to 25.0
ppg and 431.7 ypg.
Antwione Williams has a team-high 19 tackles as well as two sacks. Jonathan
Battle also has a pair of sacks, and Deion Stanley and Caleb Williams each
have an interception.
South Alabama’s offense has been a disappointment through two games, as it has
scored just 13.0 ppg and amassed only 346.0 ypg.
Brandon Bridge’s first season as the starter has gotten off to a slow start.
He’s completing only 56.2 percent of his passes for 364 yards with a touchdown
and an interception. Matt Floyd saw some action in last week’s loss but
underwhelmed as well (7-of-16, 85 yards, INT).
The rushing attack is averaging only 3.2 yards per carry, with Jay Jones (113
yards, two TDs) acting as the primary ball carrier.
Jereme Jones has a team-best 10 receptions for 93 yards, while Marvin Shinn
has needed just three catches to accumulate 96 yards.
Even after playing a potent Ole Miss offense a week ago, the Jaguars’ defense
has still performed well this season in allowing 24.0 ppg and 395.5 ypg.
Maleki Harris is the unit’s top playmaker with 18 tackles, 2.0 TFL and two
forced fumbles. Davin Hawkins also has 18 tackles and has one of the team’s
three sacks, while Montell Garner has an interception and two pass breakups.
Despite its 0-2 road record, Georgia Southern has been undoubtedly impressive
against high-level competition. Expect the Eagles’ rushing attack to get the
best of the Jaguars in this one as they open up league play with a strong
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia Southern 31, South Alabama 27