Game Preview: Eagles set for tough test in Alabama

DJ Cadden, Sports Editor

History: The Eagles and Blazers have never met on the gridiron, but Georgia Southern offensive coordinator Bryan Ellis is a former UAB quarterback.

Last Week: Georgia Southern traveled to Lincoln last week and upset the Nebraska Cornhuskers in a 45-42 victory. Quarterback Kyle Vantrease threw for more than 400 yards and a touchdown, while also scoring the eventual game-winning touchdown on an eight-yard rush.

Gerald Green and Jalen White both rushed for two scores on the ground, while Derwin Burgess Jr. hauled in 12 of 22 targets for 119 yards. Jeremy Singleton and Khaleb Hood both also cleared the 80-yard receiving mark, while five other receivers also hauled in at least one catch.

The defense struggled to stop the Cornhuskers and allowed nearly 600 yards, but also compounded the problem by not forcing a single turnover.

Scouting Report: Offensively, the Blazers run a very traditional ground-and-pound attack. Jermaine Brown Jr. and DeWayne McBride both average more than seven yards per carry, leading one of the most efficient rushing attacks in the country. Quarterback Dylan Hopkins has been effective through two games, but has been limited to just 33 attempts and has only recorded two total touchdowns.

The rushing attack should scare the Eagles, who rank 121st out of 130 FBS teams in rushing yards allowed per game. However, Hopkins should be a candidate to turn the ball over, which Clay Helton has emphasized as a goal of his defense every week.

On the defensive side of things, the Blazers have been stout. David Reeves’ unit ranks within the top-20 in passing yards allowed per game, but has struggled to consistently stop the run. The struggles in the trenches should allow for Green and White to build on a strong performance last week in Lincoln and eventually open things up for the passing game.

Bottom Line: The Eagles are hot, there is just no other way to put it. Helton needs to reel the team in a bit from all the national attention and get their focus back on the goal at hand.

If the Eagles continue to effectively run the offense they have installed, then another big offensive performance may be in the team’s future. However, the defense needs to find their footing against a hungry Blazer backfield.

Prediction: Eagles stay hot, win 24-20