Game Preview: Arkansas State at Georgia Southern
September 29th, 2018 – Arkansas State at Georgia Southern
Game Time: 6:00 pm ET
Location: Paulson Stadium (Statesboro, Ga)
Line: Arkansas State -3.0
ESPN FPI: Georgia Southern 56.6%
TV: ESPN +
Live Stream: ESPN +
Radio: ESPN Radio Coastal Georgia 103.7/790 and ESPN Radio Okefenokee 98.5/1350
Arkansas State: (3-1, 0-0)
Georgia Southern: (2-1, 0-0)
Series History: Arkansas State leads the all-time series (2-1). The teams first met in 1986 with Georgia Southern, lead by legendary coach Erk Russell, coming out with the 48-21 win.
It would be 20 more years before the teams met again in 2016. Arkansas State pulled that meeting out 27-26 in Jonesboro. Last year the Red Wolves laid it on the Eagles with a 43-25 win in Statesboro.
This will be a key matchup as it’s the first Sun Belt game for two teams with conference title aspirations.
Passing: 276.3 ypg, 11 touchdowns
Rushing: 190 ypg, 3 touchdowns
6.1 yards per play
Passing: 81.0 ypg, 2 touchdowns
Rushing: 244.3 ypg, 8 touchdowns
5.4 yards per play
Pass yards against: 169.8 ypg, 8 touchdowns
Rush yards against: 218.5 ypg, 7 touchdowns
5.7 yards per play
Pass yards against: 177.67 ypg, 1 touchdown
Rush yards against: 178.7 ypg, 6 touchdowns
5.6 yards per play
Passing: Justice Hansen – 80-132, 953 yards, 10 touchdowns, 2 int
Rushing: Marcel Murray – 219 yards, 2 touchdowns, 6.4 ypa
Receiving: Justin McInnis – 15 receptions, 173 yards, 11.5 ypc, 2 touchdowns
Tackles: Darreon Jackson – 38 TOT, 1 sack, 1 ff
Passing: Shai Werts – 13-24, 203 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 int
Rushing: Shai Werts – 256 yards, 5 touchdowns, 4.8 ypa
Receiving: Wesley Kennedy III – 5 receptions, 140 yards, 28.00 ypc, 0 touchdowns
Tackles: Monquavion Brinson – 18 TOT
Players to watch:
Offense – Justice Hansen – The senior signal caller for the Red Wolves is in his third season as the starter. For a team that likes to sling it around, it all starts with Hansen. With 10 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, he’s on pace to improve upon his 37 TD – 16 INT performance from last year. Hansen has been very efficient in his last two games (@ Tulsa, UNLV), posting a 39-60, 390 yards, 65.5 cmp%, and 3 touchdowns combined. He’ll need to be equally efficient against a GSU defense that’s only allowing 177.67 passing yards per game, and has only given up 1 touchdown through the air.
Defense – Darreon Jackson – A JUCO transfer, Jackson lit it up for the Red Wolves in 2017 with double-figures tackles in 10 games. Playing a hybrid DB/LB role, Jackson will be crucial in Arkansas State’s attempt to slow down Southern’s triple-option attack.
Offense – Shai Werts – Georgia Southern’s offense begins and ends with the man under center. Werts leads the Eagles in passing and rushing. The only opponent who has slowed Werts down was Clemson. If Georgia Southern is going to start their Sun Belt schedule with a win, Werts will have to show up big time.
Defense – Sean Freeman – The Senior out of Peach County has grown into a huge leader for the Eagles’ Secondary. With the talent at receiver for Arkansas State, Freeman will play a huge role in making sure his guys are in the correct spots.
Arkansas State wins if: They can win the turnover battle. This is a fairly even matchup as far as talent goes, but if you give up the ball to Southern they’ll smother you. In their 2 wins, Georgia Southern’s time of possession was 34:22 & 34:35. Arkansas State must hold on to the ball to win this game.
Georgia Southern wins if: They stop the run. It may seem counterintuitive to say “stop the run’ against a pass heavy team, but Arkansas State is more balanced than you’d think. Plus, Georgia Southern has long thrived on getting other teams off the field quickly and eating clock. If the Eagles can force Arkansas State to become one dimensional, they can rely on their experienced secondary to get the ball back to Werts and the offense.
This is a huge early season game. The loser could be behind the 8-ball in the Sun Belt race right off the bat. Paulson Stadium should be rocking for this late afternoon game.