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First Half of Georgia Southern Schedule Breakdown

Much like Georgia Southern asserted itself as the dominant force in the Southern Conference in 1993, the Eagles can do the same in the Sun Belt Conference with a championship this year.

In 21 years in the Southern Conference, Georgia Southern won 10 conference titles. This will be the Eagles third year in the Sun Belt, but they can win their second conference title this year.

Are the Eagles ready to take control of the Sun Belt?

Georgia Southern Schedule Breakdown

They have the history, both recent and old, to suggest that they can. However Georgia Southern is replacing their coaching staff and four defensive backs. Tyson Summers takes over after years of being one of the best defensive coaches outside of the Power Five. Summers always coached defensive backs before becoming a coordinator, his experience there will help the new starters.

The three-headed rushing monster of running backs Matt Brieda and L.A. Ramsby, and quarterback Kevin Ellison are still in Statesboro. But Ellison needs to improve his passing game so what happened against Appalachian State and Georgia State last year doesn’t happen again this year.

An early game against Savannah State will be a glorified scrimmage before being tested by South Alabama.

In the second quarter of the season, the Eagles travel to Western MichiganArkansas State and Georgia Tech. Those three games will test the young defensive backs and Georgia Southern’s passing game.

A win over Arkansas State will put Georgia Southern in the drivers seat in the Sun Belt and wins over all three will have them poised to accomplish more.

Here’s a breakdown of Georgia Southern’s first six games of the year.

Saturday, September 3rd: Savannah State Tigers

The Eagles get their easiest game out of the way early. Since moving up to FCS in 2000, Savannah State are only 22-140 and 0-5 against Georgia Southern. In fact, the Eagles are 11-0 all-time against Savannah State and their average margin of victory is 39.72 points with five games in which they scored at least 45 points.

Anything can happen in college football, but don’t put the Eagles on upset alert. This decade the Tigers have not won more than one game each season, last year they finished 1-9.

Last meeting: 2014, Georgia Southern 83, Savannah State 9

Series record: Georgia Southern leads 11-0

Saturday, September 10th: South Alabama

It’s not the toughest game for Georgia Southern, but the Jaguars won’t just allow the Eagles to plow through Mobile untested. Despite only being around since 2009, South Alabama has been a relatively solid program. They went 5-7 last year, but in 2014 went 6-7 and finished with a 5-3 record in the Sun Belt.

Being in a prime recruiting area in Alabama it’s only a matter of time before the Jaguars move up within the conference.

But Georgia Southern is still one of the conferences best. South Alabama is also going through a transition with defensive coordinators, something that the Eagles option attack will prey on. Their offense also needs major improvements from how abysmal they were last year.

Last meeting: 2015, Georgia Southern 55, South Alabama 17

Series Record: Georgia Southern leads 2-0

Saturday, September 17th: Louisiana Monroe

Just a few short years ago, Todd Berry had Louisiana Monroe playing with some consistency. But Georgia Southern and Appalachian State’s introduction to the Sun Belt shoved the War Hawks down the ladder, and they found themselves at last place in 2015.

Mike Viator is at the helm now after a successful 10 years at McNeese State, but there isn’t enough talent or experience on this year’s squad to make a quick turn-around. Georgia Southern will make quick work of Louisiana Monroe. Breida and Ramsby will run wild on a weak defense while Georgia Southern’s pass rush will overwhelm.

Last meeting: 2015, Georgia Southern 51, Louisiana Monroe 31

Series record: Georgia Southern leads 4-2

Saturday, September 24th: Western Michigan

The Eagles travel to Kalamazoo for the second half of their home-and-home series with the Broncos. Last year, Georgia Southern cruised to a 43-17 victory. Western Michigan is coming off of back-to-back 8-5 season in which they barely missed out on playing in the MAC Championship Game both years.

But non-conference play has not been as kind to them, they are just 3-7 away from Mid-American Conference play. To be fair, three of those losses came against Ohio State, Michigan State and Purdue.

Western Michigan is a quickly improving team that should be one of the best teams outside of a power-five conference. They have a dangerous passing game led by wide receiver Corey Davis who has 3,785 yards and 33 touchdowns in his career. If Zach Terrell stays on his feet, the Broncos will pick a part the Eagle’s secondary. That will allow them to set the pace, something Georgia Southern can’t afford to let happen.

Here is where we will see how well Ellison has improved under new quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Rance Gillespie. If he can keep Georgia Southern’s offense going with his arm they might escape Kalamazoo with a victory.

Last meeting: 2015, Georgia Southern 43, Western Michigan 17

Series record: Georgia Southern leads 1-0

Wednesday, October 5th: Arkansas State

The previous two conference champions square off for the first time since Georgia Southern joined the Sun Belt. In fact, Arkansas State has dominated the Sun Belt since 2011 winning four conference titles with four head coaches. But head coach Blake Anderson has made a home in Jonesboro, and he’ll try to bring them their sixth Sun Belt Championship all-time.

But most of those titles came before Georgia Southern joined. Much like the Red Wolves tore control of the conference away from Troy, who won every conference title from 2006-2010, Georgia Southern can begin to do the same to Arkansas State with a win.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, this game is in Jonesboro where Arkansas State is 10-2 under Anderson, and 26-4 since 2011. Both teams are very evenly matched, Arkansas State runs the ball well but they are more balanced.

This will boil down to whoever can control the pace of the game. If Breida and Ramsby are allowed to control the ball and the clock Georgia Southern will win. If Arkansas State makes the most of their time with the ball and Ellison can’t complete the clutch passes he would need to make, the Red Wolves will have the advantage.

Last meeting: 1986, Georgia Southern 48, Arkansas State 21

Series record: Georgia Southern leads 1-0

Saturday, October 15th: Georgia Tech

It’s hard to believe that in the 32 years since Georgia Southern began playing football in the NCAA again, they have only played Georgia Tech once. That game was in 2014 and the Eagles barely lost that game.

Down 35-10 at halftime, the Eagles scored 28 unanswered points in the second half. But a fumble trying to make it 35 unanswered led to a game winning drive for the Yellow Jackets.

But that Georgia Tech team finished the year 11-3 with wins over Clemson, Georgia and Mississippi State, plus they only lost the ACC title by two points to Florida State. This is not that Georgia Tech, the Jackets are coming off of a 3-9 season and head coach Paul Johnson should be coaching for his job all year.

Georgia Southern’s passing game should be improved with Gillespie’s tutelage, especially after being heavily tested the previous two weeks. That means the Eagles should catch up with a few stops if they fall behind.

However Georgia Tech does not have that luxury. Georgia Southern could run away with this game and help end the job of Johnson, who led the Eagle’s to national championships in 1999 and 2000.

Last meeting: 2014, Georgia Tech 42, Georgia Southern 38

Series record: Georgia Southern trails 0-1


Check out Part Two Here.

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