Five takeaways from Georgia Southern’s 48-13 win over South Alabama

McClain Baxley

Despite a fear of complacency following a huge win over Arkansas State, the 4-1 Eagles came out with a convincing 48-13 victory against the 1-5 Jaguars.

Here are five takeaways from the homecoming win:

The depth of the flying defense on full display

Junior cornerback Monquavion Brinson and senior safety Josh Moon have held down the Eagles secondary all season. That’s nothing new.

What was new against USA was Brinson, Moon, Freeman and more playing all over the field. With redshirt-sophomore inside linebackers Todd Bradley and Rashad Byrd out with injury, the corners and safeties had to play incredibly smart games.

There were several instances where Moon and Freeman would crash in and load the box. To fill in for Bradley and Byrd, sophomore Chris Harris Jr. earned the start and had seven tackles in the win.

Senior inside linebacker Tomarcio Reese returned to his captain role and had a fantastic game as well with six tackles and a fumble recovery.

It’s unknown how long Bradley and Byrd will be out, but as long as the secondary continues to showcase their versatility, they should be alright.

Werts throws for nearly 100 yards

Back in the second game of the season against Massachusetts, which feels like ages ago, redshirt-sophomore quarterback Shai Werts went 6 for 9 for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

Saturday against USA, Werts backed it up with a 5 for 8, 99 yard game with another passing touchdown, his fourth through five games.

Though 58 of the yards were on one scoring play to redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Darion Anderson, Werts looked comfortable in the perfect pocket created by a stout offensive line.

Since the Clemson game and the bye week, the offensive line has looked unbreakable. They overpower the opposing defensive line and have created wide open holes for their army of running backs.

Without the offensive line, Werts would not be looking as comfortable in the offense. Defenses must now prepare for Werts’ dual threat ability in this spread option offense.

Experienced backfield overruns Jaguars defense

One of the many question marks coming into the 2018 year was how the backfield would look with LA Ramsby leaving and senior Wesley Fields being hurt over the offseason.

Saturday against USA, GS had three rushers go over 80 with redshirt-senior Monteo Garrett leading the pack with 91 yards on 11 carries.

Though he never found the endzone, Garrett was on the receiving end of many options and had several opportunities to break it open for the score.

And then there was Werts, who had his most athletic game against a decent defense who was on a mission to punish him after last year’s game.

Each week the redshirt-sophomore has improved tremendously on his understanding and flow of the option and making the correct read. Werts ended with 85 yards and two rushing touchdowns to make his scoring total 12 on the young year, leading the Sun Belt.

Fields had a steady night as well, rushing for 81 yards and two impressive, aggressive touchdowns. The three-headed beast of a backfield ran a swarm of different formations to offset the defense.

Eagles overcome least disciplined game

The Eagles finished with 83 penalty yards on nine penalties. Many of the yards came in the final quarter by way of roughing the passer and unnecessary roughness.

Just mindless penalties that negated everything that Lunsford and his staff have been preaching all season.

Through five games, the Eagles are averaging just 43.60 penalty yards per game compared to their opponents’ 56.80 yards per game.

The lack of discipline from the defense, especially in the second half, was made less impactful after redshirt-sophomore Alvin Ward Jr. ran back an interception for a touchdown.

GS is one of the hottest teams in Vegas

With the 35 point win Saturday, GS improved to 5-0 against the spread for the season, one of fewer than six teams that can say that.

The final spread against USA was 12 after rising to as high as 13.5 and falling as low as 11.5. They’re also 4-1 on the moneyline.

Coming into Saturday, the Eagles failed to hit the over all four games. It was safe to bet the under at 55 and it looked like they were going to maintain that until Ward Jr.’s pick six to push the O/U to 61.

McClain Baxley, The George-Anne Sports Editor, [email protected]