The Georgia Southern Eagles will be trying to extend their winning streak to three games when they visit the Texas State Bobcats at TSU Bobcat Stadium on Thursday night. Since losing to Clemson, Georgia Southern has defeated Arkansas State and South Alabama. The Bobcats are 1-4 following consecutive setbacks against South Alabama, Texas-San Antonio, and Louisiana Lafayette.
Fly, Eagles, Fly
The Eagles improved to 4-1 with their 48-13 rout of South Alabama last week. Aside from understandably getting thumped by Clemson 38-7, Georgia Southern’s offense has been a consistent force in 2018. GSU has scored at least 28 points in its four victories, including at least 34 on three occasions. Dual-threat quarterback Shai Werts maintained his fine form by rushing for two touchdowns against South Alabama and delivering his second-most prolific passing performance of the season (99 yards and one TD). The Eagles outscored the Jaguars 31-7 in the second half, thanks in part to a pair of Wesley Fields touchdown runs.
“I thought we did a really good job of coming out in the second half and putting the game away,” head coach Chad Lunsford explained. “We got ourselves in a situation where we needed our guys to put the game away, and we did that. I think our coaches did a really good job of adjusting some things and understanding what USA was giving us on defense.”
Georgia Southern is averaging 30.8 points per game this season and 357.2 yards of total offense–including the seventh-most rushing yards in the nation at 276.6 per outing. Werts has thrown for 363 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 454 yards and a team-high eight TDs. Fields (379 rushing yards) and Monteo Garrett (253 yards) each have three scores apiece on the ground.
Vitt’s turn at quarterback
Tyler Vitt and Willie Jones III have been splitting time at quarterback for Texas State this season (Vitt has thrown for 518 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions; Jones finds himself with 517 passing yards, three TDs and two INTs to go along with a team-high 189 rushing yards). With Jones less than 100 percent due to injury going into last week and Vitt having played well (three total touchdowns) in the previous game against Texas-San Antonio, it was the latter who made his first career start in last Saturday’s 42-27 loss to the Ragin’ Cajuns. The freshman did not disappoint, completing 28 of 39 attempts for 296 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 92 yards on 17 keepers.
“He had a great game,” senior receiver Keenan Brown said of Vitt. “He sat in the pocket a little bit more. He stayed focused and he fought the whole game. He took big hits; he got right back up. He made the right reads.”
Lost in the fog last night was the great game by Tyler Vitt. 28-39 for 296 yards, three TD passes, no turnovers and only sacked twice. Added 92 yards rushing on 19 carries (5.4 per) and a 5-yard touchdown catch via Hutch White. 18 years old, first collegiate start. #TXST https://t.co/zyxDKZGoDn
— Keff Ciardello (@Keff_C) October 7, 2018
Based on that performance, one can assume that Vitt will once again be running the show this weekend against Georgia Southern. Of course, it may not matter who is under center if the Bobcats’ defense does not shape up. Texas State has surrendered at least 35 points on three occasions–including more than 40 twice.
The Texas State Bobcats are:
- 1-4-1 ATS in their last six overall
- 1-5 ATS in their last six home games
- 6-0 Over in their last six home games
The Georgia Southern Eagles are:
- 5-0 ATS in their last five overall
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games against the Sun Belt Conference
- 8-1 Over in their last nine games against teams with losing records
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Texas State lost by 10 points to South Alabama and that stands as USA’s lone win of the season. Georgia Southern, on the other hand, had absolutely no trouble with the Jaguars–so the common opponent aspect does not bode well for the Bobcats. Meanwhile, Lunsford and the GSU staff have been doing a great job of making post-halftime adjustments for the offense. The Eagles scored 31 second-half points against South Alabama and went for 21 of their 28 points against Arkansas State over the final 30 minutes.
Prediction: Georgia Southern Eagles
Full-Game Total Pick
Texas State has been unable to keep opposing offenses off of the board, which is especially alarming given that Georgia Southern’s high-powered rushing attack is now coming to town. The Eagles can basically move the ball on the ground at will, and they do a nice job of mixing in the occasional big pass. The over is 8-1 in the Eagles’ last nine against losing opponents and 5-0 in their last five in October. It is also 6-0 in the Bobcats’ last six at home, 5-1 in their last six against the Sun Belt Conference, and 4-1 in their last five against winning opponents. Look for this one to go over the total.
Half-Time Side Pick
The Eagles’ option attack has enjoyed steady improvement this season, most recently finish just short of 300 yards last week. If they can just cut down on some dumb penalties that have negated big plays, even more yards and even more points will be put up at Texas State’s expense. Meanwhile, Georgia State has allowed just nine first-half points over its past two contests.
Prediction: Georgia Southern Eagles -10
Half-Time Total Bet
Brown is an Oklahoma State transfer who ranks fifth in the Sun Belt Conference at 57.7 receiving yards per game. He has made 23 catches for 346 yards and four touchdowns, and success could continue because Georgia Southern’s defensive weakness has been the middle-of-the-field passing game. Brown will need to have a big game, because the Eagles are sure to score in bunches.
Prediction: Over 25