Ellison and the Eagles travel to Texas

Georgia Southern’s offense is leading the nation in rushing with 404.2 yards per game and seventh in the nation in scoring with 44.4 points per game.

Hayden Boudreaux

This week the Georgia Southern football team is going after a dangerous Texas State team searching for bowl eligibility. The Eagles would be the fifth out of six wins needed for the Bobcats to gain bowl consideration.

The season started strong for the Bobcats after they took down Arkansas Pine-Bluff 65-0. They have losses this year against Navy, Illinois, and co-conference leader UL Lafayette. Texas State has more talent than the last few opponents for the Eagles, and is comparable to New Mexico State. They have averaged over 32 points per game with a balanced attack led by their quarterback.

Bobcat sophomore quarterback Tyler Jones has been the keystone for the offense on the ground and through the air. Jones leads the team in carries with 102 and has picked up 300 total yards on the ground and four touchdowns. He has thrown the ball very accurately with a 67.7 completion percentage for 1466 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Jones isn’t the only one rounding up yards in the run game. Texas State relies on their two-pronged running back system to open up plays for the passing game. Junior running back Robert Lowe has been the work horse with 93 attempts for 529 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Terrence Franks has been more efficient, averaging seven yards a carry and has six scores of his own. The Eagle defense has displayed excellent execution against the run so the Bobcat running backs will have their work cut out for them and may have to rely on their passing game.

Texas State has spread the ball out to their receivers with the exception of standout senior tight end Bradley Miller who has 29 catches this season. The go-to tight end has been the safety valve on most plays that has an uncanny ability to slip behind the linebackers and secure first downs. Junior receiver Jafus Gaines will see plenty of action as he comes into the game with four touchdown catches and 234 yards.

Despite being a strong running team the Bobcats have given plenty of room to running teams to move the ball down field. They have allowed an average of 27.6 points and 435 total yards per game. Senior linebacker David Mayo leads the team with 105 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. The Bobcats seem to have built the defense around him and use a technique known as “spinning” the linebacker which allows Mayo to move freely without an assignment and use his instincts to make tackles on most run plays.

The Eagles have continued their dominance of the Sun Belt with six straight wins and the top spot in the conference. They still lead the FBS in rushing yards and are averaging 404.4 rushing yards per game and have scored 46 touchdowns on the ground. With 44.4 points a game, the Bobcats will certainly have their work cut out for them in holding down the best rushing offense in college football.

Sophomore Eagle quarterback Kevin Ellison will have his chance to surpass the 1,000 yard rushing mark on the season if he is able to gain 117 yards, which he has done twice this season. Sophomore running back Matt Brieda will also look to improve on his 1104 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. Both will have ample opportunity against a relatively weak run defense on the outside.

Defensively, the Eagles will have to look for both the run and the pass from Jones. Senior linebacker Edwin Jackson was all over the field last week, seemingly in on every tackle. The entire Bobcat offense will have to look out for junior linebacker Antwione Williams who has three sacks and two forced fumbles on the year. If they can hold down the pass and force Jones and the offense into the running game, the Eagle offense will have a chance to rack up the points.

The Eagles are facing the possibility of both breaking into the top 25 nationally (after being placed at number 47 by USA Today) as well as fighting for the chance to play in a bowl game. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday in San Marcos, Texas.