As the Eagles play in Paulson for the final time of the historic 2017 season, they’ll look to continue their undefeated history against the South Alabama Jaguars.
After losing to both of their formidable rivals in back-to-back games, the Eagles will have a chance on Senior Day to knock off what some see as a vulnerable team in the 4-6 Jaguars.
Moving the pile
It is no secret that Georgia Southern ran the ball deliberately to try and kill the clock last week against a high-powered App State team. This week, the Eagles will have to get a more consistent push from the offensive line if they want to have success in the run game.
The Jaguars rank 44th nationally in rushing defense. In his last game in Paulson, senior L.A. Ramsby will need to continue his steady contribution on the ground. He’s averaging 44 yards on 11 carries per game. Expect Ramsby to lead the charge with Fields and Werts also contributing as usual.
The pass factor
The Eagles could return to the gameplan they approached Georgia State with. In his best game of his career, Werts went 22-for-28 passing for 147 yards and a touchdown. 28 passes is substantial for an option offense that attacked another solid rushing defense in the Panthers.
GS will need to get athletes Malik Henry, Myles Campbell and Wesley Kennedy III involved in the offense often if they want to have success against South Alabama.
And the coaching staff shouldn’t be hesitant to play quarterback Kado Brown.
The junior college transfer has had shining moments when given the opportunity, and if Werts struggles as he did against App State, GS head coach Chad Lunsford will likely give Brown more snaps.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Chris DeLaRosa and senior defensive lineman Darius Sapp will look to continue production in their final outing in Paulson. DeLaRosa has come up big this season with 28 solo tackles and 2 interceptions.
To have a chance to win on Saturday, DeLaRosa and the defense must force the Jaguars into some turnovers. Junior safety Joshua Moon and sophomore cornerback Monquavion Brinson will play key roles in coverage trying to snag interceptions and force fumbles.
Georgia Southern is 27-5 in Senior Day games, and the Eagles have won seven of the past eight.
On offense, Ramsby, Campbell, running back Demarcus Godfrey, tight end Ross Alexander and lineman Chris Washington will all be competing for the last time in Paulson Stadium. Look for Lunsford to find them all minutes, even if some aren’t regular contributors.
On defense, DeLaRosa and Sapp will be out to try steal a win in their final home contest just as last year’s senior class did against Troy.
Punter Matt Flynn has visibly improved his consistency and distance this season, and he will look to pin the Jaguars deep in their own territory as much as possible before he finishes his GS career.
South Alabama’s best two conference wins came over Troy and Arkansas State, two teams that have already gotten the better of GS this season.
The Jaguars will be without starting running back Xavier Johnson for the rest of the season, as he violated team rules and was suspended. He had six touchdowns and 470 rushing yards before the mishap.
Wide receiver Jamarious Way averages almost 18 yards per catch, and GS has been susceptible to deep-threat receivers this year. Look for Jaguar quarterback Cole Garvin to try to hit Way over the top.
On defense, safety Jeremy Reaaves has 84 tackles this season to lead the Jaguars. As mentioned, their rushing defense has been stifling, and it will likely be tough sledding for Eagle runners to find gaps in their front seven.
The game at Paulson Stadium will kick off at 3 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3.