Georgia Southern Eagles vs. South Alabama Jaguars Picks and Game Preview -- 10/14/2021

by Big Al Staff

Game time: 7:30 p.m. ET, October 14, 2021
Venue: Hancock Whitney Stadium, Mobile, AL
Where to watch: ESPNU

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: South Alabama -3
BetMGM: South Alabama -3.5
Caesars: South Alabama -3

Season record
Georgia Southern: 2-4 (1-2 Sun Belt)
South Alabama: 3-2 (0-2 Sun Belt)

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Georgia Southern - South Alabama game preview and analysis


Recent form
Georgia Southern: lost 27-24 at Troy on Oct. 9
South Alabama: lost 33-31 (4OT) at Texas State on Oct. 9

Consider me a believer of these rejuvenated Georgia Southern Eagles.

That 26-point win over the Arkansas State Red Wolves two weeks ago in interim coach Kevin Witley’s debut was not a fluke.

Sure, the Eagles lost by a late field goal against the Troy Trojans on Saturday, but would the Georgia Southern team of three weeks ago rally from a 24-3 deficit to tie the game and eventually cover the 5.5 spread last weekend? Me thinks not.

Which is why you should feel good about GSU going on the road for a second straight week to face the South Alabama Jaguars with the Eagles getting three points at most books.

Sometimes when evaluating these games, you look at the previous week with a grain of salt. In the case of the Eagles, you just have questions. How could a team that had only 301 yards of total offense and turned the ball over three times against a strong Troy defense rally and lose by only three?

GSU’s defense came to play. After trailing 24-3 after a four-play, 62-yard drive from Troy, GSU responded with a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to cut it to 13. Troy’s next five drives? A fumble and four three-and-outs.

Troy just couldn’t get anything going offensively despite Eagles quarterback Justin Tomlin throwing three interceptions and the running game combining for only 82 yards on 38 carries. GSU’s defense got to Troy quarterback Gunnar Watson with four sacks, led by leading tackler Anthony Wilson’s 11 tackles.

Georgia Southern takes on a South Alabama team that has dropped two straight after starting 3-0. Both conference losses came by two points, the most recent being a four-overtime defeat to the Texas State Bobcats.

Despite completing almost 65 percent of his passes this season, quarterback Jake Bentley threw his first two touchdown passes of the year on Saturday to go with 189 yards.

The Jaguars just couldn’t hold a two-score lead in the fourth quarter. Texas State scored twice in the final 7:17, and then after not scoring in the second and third overtime, won the game on a two-point rush in the fourth frame to beat USA.

South Alabama had 141 yards on the ground, led by 74 yards and two touchdowns from running back AJ Phillips.

Prediction


South Alabama can’t afford to drop three Sun Belt games in a row, but you have to like what its opponent has done the past two weeks defensively in those matchups. This is going to be a defensive slugfest after the South Alabama defense intercepted Texas State quarterback Brady McBride three times last week. But I like GSU’s defense to keep this close and even win on the moneyline. Georgia Southern by 3

Betting trends


Georgia Southern is 27-19 against the spread in its last 46 as an underdog, and 17-14 as a road dog.

GSU is 23-21 ATS in games following their previous game on the road.

South Alabama is 15-32 ATS in its last 47 after playing two straight conference games.

The under is 6-1 in USA’s last seven Thursday games.

Players to watch


Georgia Southern: Derwin Burgess Jr. had only two receptions last week against Troy, but they went for 76 yards.

South Alabama: Wide receiver Jalen Wayne is coming off a quiet game with two receptions and 37 yards.

Statistical leaders


Georgia Southern:
Passing: Justin Tomlin -- 458 yards, 4 INT
Rushing: Logan Wright -- 475 yards, 5 TD
Receiving: Khaleb Hood -- 175 yards

South Alabama:
Passing: Jake Bentley -- 927 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Kareem Walker -- 208 yards, 4 TD
Receiving: Jalen Tolbert -- 460 yards

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All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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